American University of Beirut

About Us



    The University Libraries' Archives and Special Collections Department promotes the preservation of our institutional and regional heritage by collecting salient primary sources and significant research materials that document the history, development, and functioning of the University and its community, as well the history of the country and the region at large. It embraces the mission of the University in supporting excellence in education and research and in serving the peoples of the Middle East and beyond. The Department collects significant research materials, teaches the effective use and the critical evaluation of information resources, supports researchers’ needs, and capitalizes on innovative technologies to foster intellectual growth. The Department collaborates with all schools, faculties and research institutes at the University and beyond, through continual evaluation of user expectations and scholarly needs, the acquisition of new collections, as well as through active promotion of the Department’s collections and services. The Archives and Special Collections Department serves primarily the University community, as well as the broader scholarly community.


    The AUB University Archives have been in the making since the earliest days of the founding of the Syrian Protestant College, SPC in 1866, as AUB was known then, until the present. Conscious of its unique place and role in the region, thousands of documents recording the University's historical academic, extra-curricular and social activities have been preserved, collected and saved, starting with a copy of the University Charter, then proliferating into thousands of sheets of correspondences, reports, minutes and other items. During the 1960s, and in preparation for the forthcoming Centennial of AUB in 1966, all available and relevant records, including those held in the President's Office, were systematically collected by the Administration. They were then sent to the Library, which employed a temporary archivist to organize these materials with the help of the staff and some faculty members.

     The celebration of the University's 125th Anniversary coincided with the official establishment of the Archives and Special Collections Department in Jafet Library, in 1991. In the early 1990s, a major renovation and rehabilitation work took place in Jafet Library in the aftermath of the College Hall explosion, in November 1991. The enlargement of the Library, which accompanied the renovation, thus made it possible to build a specifically designated area to house the fledgling Archives Department and to meet the required international standards for security and environmental control necessary for the safeguard and preservation of the collected archival documents. Soon afterward, the Department's staff grew according to the demands, needs, and responsibilities that accompanied the growth of the Collections. A professional conservator was hired to carry out a restoration project on many archival objects,

    In recent years, a sustained and systematic effort to collect primary source and historical documents that record the history of the country and the region, and not only AUB, focusing on some of the major intellectual, artistic, academic, and scholarly local and regional heritage, was put in place. Our Collections now include several such special archival and primary source collections, encompassing a variety of mediums (photos, posters, papers, audio-visuals, rare books, etc.), disciplines (politics, history, cinema, art, etc.), provenance (major intellectuals, institutions, private collections, etc.). Our staff has grown to include some ten members who work on a variety of archival practices (indexing, cataloging, organizing, and processing, etc.). 


    The University's telephone numbers are: (01) 340460 - 350000 - 374444 - 374374. For outside callers, dial one of the University's numbers, then dial the desired 4-digit extension number, or wait for Operator assistance. 

    Callers from outside Lebanon, call 961-3-791-313 and then dial the desired 4-digit extension directly from your telephone or wait for Operato​r assistance.

    Archives and Special Collections Department email:​


    The AUB Libraries aim to provide a pleasant and stimulating environment for intellectual and academic pursuits. All patrons of the AUB Libraries are entitled to conduct study, research, reading and other intellectual activities without undue disturbance and distraction from other users. 

    Policies for appropriate library conduct aim to safeguard and foster an environment of mutual respect and of productive scholarly research. Librarians in public services areas are in charge of overseeing that library users are abiding by the Library rules of conduct. When any violation occurs, the librarians have the prerogative to stop or report violator(s) of the rules listed below.


    • University Archives Program
    • ​Archives and Special Collections Collection Development Policy (Under Development)
    • Cataloging Policy for Special and Archival Collections (Under Development)
    • Conservation Policy and Procedures (Under Development)
    • Copyright Library Policy (Under Development)
    • Handling Instructions​ for Archival Material
    • Digitizing Handling Instructions for staff (Under Development)
    • Preservation Policy and Procedures (Under Development)​​
    Full policies and procedures can be found on the following link.​ 

    ​Library Rules

    • ​​Follow all library rules posted in the form of signs in the different areas of the Library.
    • Keep noise to a minimal level, so that other students are not disturbed. Silent as well as group study areas are available. Please use the area that suits your needs. 
    • Don’t leave your belongings unattended at any time. The Library is not responsible for any lost or stolen items.
    • The reservation of seats in public reading areas is not permitted; items on reserved seats will be removed by library staff. 
    • Bottled water is allowed in the Library; other drinks and food are not allowed.
    • Help keep the Library clean and tidy by using the appropriate bins and recycling facilities.
    • Show your AUB ID card in order to be able to borrow library materials. 

    House Rules

    • To access our Archival and Special Collections, a valid AUB ID-card is required from the AUB Community, while a library membership card is necessary for external researchers (for details of obtaining a membership card check the External Borrower Categories).
    • Please review and abide by selecting the copyright tab.
    • Whereas no appointment is obligatory, researchers planning to make extensive use of the collections are encouraged to email the Department with their inquiry to ensure the availability of resources, and to facilitate and plan access:​.
    • Users are allowed to place a hold on specific items for up to two days. The items will be kept on hold within the Archives and Special Collections Reading Room. 
    • Only a limited amount of materials may be used at any given time. Researchers may be required to return materials before additional items are released to them.
    • Archival material must be returned to the staff in charge before you leave the Reading Room for any reason, and items may not be transferred from one researcher to another.

    Due to the risk of inadvertent damage to valuable materials, we require patrons to abide by the following additional regulations (we appreciate your cooperation and understanding): 

    • ​ASC materials must remain on the table during use and be treated with extreme care: please do not lean on or place anything on top of items; items may not be traced or marked, defaced, altered, or folded anew. (Researchers who mishandle material may be denied access to our holdings). 
    • When consulting documents, ink pens must be put away. Patrons must use pencils (or laptops) if they wish to take notes. 
    • Copying archival material is subject to permission.
    • Smoking, eating and drinking are prohibited. 


    All digitized texts and images in the AUB Libraries’ collections are for the personal, not-for-profit use of students, scholars, and the public. Any such use must name "The American University of Beirut Libraries” as the original source for the material. All texts and images are subject to copyright laws and, except where noted otherwise, are the property of the University Libraries. Commercial use, print or electronic re-publication of text or images (including reposting on the web an integral text or image) is strictly prohibited without prior written permission from the University Libraries. Reproduction Service Fee information is available on our website.

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