The Centre’s library, created in 1992, comprises ca. 85,000 volumes and ca. 60 current periodicals. It is conceived of as a special academic library for the research focuses of the Centre and is concentrated on the acquisition of new publications on historical, ethnological, and political science topics on the countries of the Middle East, Africa, Eurasia, and South and Southeast Asia. Particular emphasis is placed on timeliness and speed of acquisition as well as on works published in the countries concerned themselves. All books and journals are listed in the Gemeinsamer Bibliotheksverbund (GBV) and WorldCat. The new collection of journals acquired since the founding of the library comprises 292 titles that are listed in the online catalogue and in the Zeitschriftendatenbank (ZDB). In addition to the current print journal subscriptions, the library has access to a variety of online journals and houses over 7672 microfiches, 556 microfilms, and some video cassettes and DVDs.
In addition to the new collection of ca. 40,000 book titles, the catalogue also comprises an old collection of bequests, donations, and permanent loans, including for example portions of the Library of the Academy of Sciences of the GDR, the donation of the Islamic Studies scholar Fritz Steppat, and the bequest of Africa historian Jürgen Herzog. Two book collections have had a particular impact on the development of the collection. First, approximately 10,000 volumes of monographs and 297 periodical titles were taken on as a permanent loan via the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy from the Library for German and General History of the former Academy of Sciences of the GDR for Oriental Studies. The second significant addition was the Fritz and Gertraud Steppat donation, also amounting to approximately 10,000 volumes of predominantly Arabic-language monographs and periodicals. With the portion of the Library of the Academy of Sciences of the GDR, manuscripts (some in Arabic) also come to the ZMO library, including one from the area of Islamic law: ﻣﹸﺤﹶﻤﱠﺪﹲ ﻋﹶﻼﹶﺀﹸ ﺁﻟﹾﺪﱢﻳﻦﹺ ﺑﹾﻦﹺ ﻋﹶﻠﹺﻲﱢ ﺁﻟﹾﺤﹶﺴﹾﻜﹶﻔﹺﻲﱢ ﺁﻟﹾﺤﹶﻨﹶﻔﹺﻲﱢ ﺁﻟﹾﻌﹶﺒﱠﺎﺴﹺﻲﱢ : ﺧﹸﻼﹶﺻﹶﺔﹸ ﺁﻟﹾﻔﹸﺮﹸﻭﻉﹺ Muḥammad ʿAlāʾ-ad-Dīn Ibn-ʿAlī al-Ḥaskafī al-Ḥanafī al-ʿAbbāsī : Ḫulāṣat al-furūʿ. The work was written in the year 1071 AH (1660 C.E.) and bears the shelfmark 83/731. Supplementary to the aforementioned identification, see the colophon.
Further valuable private book collections that have been added to the catalogue collection come from: Petra and Joachim Heidrich (social history of modern India), Jakob Rösel (Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and India), Peter Sebald and Trutz von Trotha (Togo), Wolfgang Zielke (Tanzania), Dina Wilkowsky (Central Asia), Reinhard Eisener (Russian, Tajik, and Uzbek writings on Central Asia), Werne Ende (Wahabism, Twelver Shi’ism), Harold Vocke (Lebanon, Gulf States), Rudolf Schmidt (Turkey, Afghanistan), Klaus Kreiser (history of Edirne), Rainer Glagow (Islamic Studies), Heinz Albach (Islamic Revolution in Iran), Friedhelm Hoffmann (Arabic research literature, Maghreb), Bettina Gräf (legal scholar Yūsuf ʿAbdallāh al-Qaraḍāwī), ʿĀdil Fraiǧāt (complete series of Arabic periodicals), Jane Dulfaqar (Hassan Dulfaqar, Iraq), Volker Perthes (complete series of Arabic periodicals), Götz Nordbruch (Arabic research literature, contemporary history), the Sultan Qaboos Higher Centre (current publications from Oman), Gerdien Jonker (Muslims and Germans), Semaan Harik (film studies, Lebanon), Karl Fischer (South Asia) and Chanfi Ahmad (Islam in Africa). All publications (apart from the planned donation by Karl Fischer on South Asia) are listed in the online catalogue.
The library also holds a number of historically significant, primarily Arabic-language newspapers (see below).