About the Library

AMI’s Al-Zahra Library supports the vision and mission of Al-Mahdi Institute in being a leading centre of excellence, contributing to Muslim religious scholarship and learning. It houses one of the largest collections of its kind in Europe, in excess of 20,000 titles in Arabic, English, Persian and Urdu. Its holdings showcase specialist collections pertaining to the Islamic Studies disciplines with a focus on texts that are unique to the Shia heritage of learning and knowledge. Books are housed over two floors of the Institute, with English titles located on the first floor and non-English titles on the ground floor. The library also provides space for silent study, which is available to library members.

The AMI library already provides access to rare primary texts and is continuously expanding its holdings. New titles acquired from international book fairs are showcased at AMI book exhibitions that are open to the public.

We welcome any feedback or suggestions for new titles to add to the library collection. Please contact [email protected]


Access to the Library

All users are admitted to our libraries on the understanding that they will abide by the Library Policy. The Head Librarian reserves the right to withdraw membership if an individual breaches these policies.


Borrowing Books

You can browse Koha to search for books we have at our library without being a member of the library. To borrow books users must fill in an online registration form. Books can only be borrowed by physically coming to the library. We do not offer a postage service for those who cannot come to the library.

Membership does not give you access to printing or photocopying facilities.


Membership Fees

We offer either borrowing or reference-only membership. Al-Mahdi Institute (AMI) faculty and members of staff have free access to the library. AMI Library membership fees are as follows:

AMI Students and Alumni:

  • Borrowing: £25.00 per year
  • Reference: £15.00 per year


External Members

  • Borrowing: £30.00 per year
  • Reference: £20.00 per year

You can become a member online using our application form.


Fob and Library Card

Members will need to bring their library card and fob with them whenever they visit AMI. The fob allows members to enter the building through the main entrance by the reception and allows access to the library on the ground floor and the first floor. Both of our libraries have a fob operated access control system. The fob will only work with a valid and existing library membership. If you lose your fob you should contact [email protected] or see someone at reception to request a new one. We charge a replacement charge of £10 for lost fobs.

Members will be able to check out books with the library card through our self-checkout machines in both the English library on the first floor and the Arabic, Persian, Urdu library on the ground floor. You should contact the librarian at [email protected] to notify us if you lose your card. We charge a replacement charge of £10 for lost cards.


Borrowing items

Most books are available to be borrowed for up to 14 days and will renew automatically up to five times on the library system, if not requested by another library member. You can check your library account at AMI by scanning your card on the self-checkout machines and online via Koha.

The Head Librarian will set members up with a generic password after completing the online registration form and create a library account. AMI members library account will be linked to their library card, members can only borrow books with an existing valid library membership.

Books that are requested by other library members will stop renewing and you will receive an email requesting you return it within a week. It is important that you return a recalled item by the due date given in the messages requesting its return.

Fines of 20p per day will be charged on books which have not been returned or renewed by the date they are due.


AMI Book Club

AMI staff and members can request to start a monthly or bi-weekly book club on a book of their choice. AMI Library offers facilities for both closed private book club sessions and open public book club sessions. If members would like to start or join a book club, please email [email protected]. Previous book clubs featured titles such as: The Forty Rules of Love by Elif Shafak, Crisis and Consolidation by Hossein Modaressi, al-Ḥikma al-mutaʿāliyya fī asfār al-ʿaqliyya al-ʿarba by Mullā Ṣadrā, Freedom from the Known by Jiddu Krishnamurti and others.


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Video Book Reviews

Video Book Reviews