The Department manages the collections relating to the cultures and languages of the countries of the Middle East. This includes the Arabian Peninsula, Iraq, Iran, Turkey, Israel, and the Islamic regions of North Africa and Central Asia. The collections aim to cover the needs of students and researchers in these areas of study.
The languages covered include major collections in Arabic, Hebrew and Persian. There are more limited collections relating to Aramaic, Armenian, Coptic, Ethiopic, Georgian, Ladino and Yiddish, Turkish, Turkic languages, Urdu and Iranian languages such as Kurdish.
The collections contain printed books (including many early printed books), manuscripts, archives and digital resources. Publications in these languages have been present in the Library's collections from its early years and the historical collections, many collected by the Cambridge scholars themselves, reflect academic interests in this region active over many centuries. New publications from the Middle East written in the original languages are still acquired on a regular basis.
The Near and Middle Eastern Department staff are responsible for enquiries relating to any items in the Middle Eastern collections. They also represent the Library in this subject area within the University and in professional groups in the UK and the wider world.