Book shelves with colourful books in Mathaf's library


The Mathaf Library, or Maktaba in Arabic, is a research library specialising in modern and contemporary Arab art from the region.

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The library has one of the largest and most comprehensive collection of books and publications on general art history, modern art world wide and art history, with a special focus on the Arab world. Publications are in English, Arabic and a number of other languages.

The library is the perfect place for quiet study and research. You will be surrounded by over 7,000 books as well as works of art dotted around the space, and you will have access to free WiFi and free use of a photocopier/scanner. If you are researching one of our temporary exhibitions, our curators, if available, may also be able to assist you. 

Arabic and English speaking staff are available during opening hours to help locate relevant collections and reference materials for research.

Library Hours

Saturday to Thursday: 9am – 7pm
Friday: 1.30 – 7pm

Library Policies

Please leave handbags, briefcases and other bags in the lockers provided.

  • Books are only for library use only and cannot be borrowed.
  • Visitors under 18 must be accompanied by an adult.
  • We ask that Library computers are only used for research not general browsing.
  • We cannot be held responsible for your belongings, so please look after your possessions.
  • Please show respect to other library users by remaining quiet.
  • We permit copying of books, limited to a maximum of 10% of each book.
  • After using the books, please leave them on the table and do not return them to the shelf.
  • School groups must be accompanied by teachers.
  • If you wish to use the library outside standard opening hours, please contact us to make an appointment.
  • You can use pencils (no pens/ink), notepad, small wallet, laptop without case, digital camera and mobile with ringer off.
  • We do not allow food or drink in the library.