The Library

Please make an appointment when visiting the library so we can welcome and assist you. Email to book an appointment.

The Arab British Centre library is a public borrowing library. Formerly a private collection put together over the past 40 years, it now comprises over 2000 English-language titles relating to the Arab world. This is made up of fiction titles, as well as non-fiction in the fields of art and culture, politics, history, religion including rare and classic titles.

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All members of the public are welcome to join the library, an online application form is available to download; please bring the completed form and fee on your first visit. You can find the online form here: Library Membership Form.

Lifelong library membership is £10.  Each member is allowed to borrow up to three books, for three weeks at a time. Late fees will be charged at 10p per day, per book.

Visiting the library

You are welcome to visit the library before joining. Please book an appointment by contacting us on 020 7832 1310 or

About Banipal-Arab British Centre Library of Modern Arab Literature (BALMAL)

Since 2009, The Arab British Centre has housed a growing collection of Arabic fiction, poetry, memoirs, plays and literary criticism in English translation. This unique collection of currently more than 600 titles was started by Banipal in association with the London Book Fair, and includes titles by authors such as Mahmoud Darwish, Alaa al-Aswany, Elias Khoury, Adonis and Ahdaf Soueif. In 2008 the focus of the London Book Fair was the Arab World, and following the fair, the books from their collaborative display were donated to establish the fiction library. It was formally opened to the public in January 2010.

As well as the ever-growing fiction section, The Arab British Centre has also developed an eclectic collection of non-fiction titles – from rare reference books on the Arab world to contemporary works by authors such as John McHugo, Brian Whitaker and Samir Kassir, among many others. The Arab world is represented across a variety of categories including Culture & Society, Politics, Cuisine and the Arts.