Like human beings all libraries evolve, for us one important catalyst for such evolution has been the surge in provision Middle/Near East Studies in the UK in the past 20 years.
The Arab World Documentation Unit [AWDU], started out as an unassuming documentation unit in 1981 by the Centre for Arab Gulf Studies at the University of Exeter. The Political and Social situation in the Middle East eventually led to a greater and renewed interest in the subjects we offer. Then there was a merger of the Department of Arabic and Middle East Studies and the Centre for Arab Gulf Studies and these made their home in the new IAIS building in 1999. A further milestone came when in 2000, the expanding and reputable AWDU collection was incorporated into the University Library management structure with the appointment of staff with expertise in Arabic and technical issues, in line with the recommendations made by Lesley Forbes.
To the Present
Now, with the realisation of Forum Project, the paradigm shift and rationale of Student focus, the implications for student experience in terms of quality given the £9K fees – the AWDU more than ever must be a fully-fledged, evolving and living library that keeps apace with the changes and needs of today’s student.
AWDU is now moving to the Research Commons in the Old Library Building and this incorporation means greater accessibility, longer opening times with staff support, greater facilities and an expanding collection in an integrated Library environment.
Meanwhile the current space vacated by AWDU will become dedicated study areas.
If you have any questions about the move then please contact the Arab and Islamic Studies Librarian – Afzal Hasan.