Khalidi Library (KHD)

Identity area



Authorized form of name

Khalidi Library (KHD)

Parallel form(s) of name

Other form(s) of name


  • Private

Contact area



Street address

129 Bab El-Silsilah Street




Country name

Postal code


00 972 (0)2 534 3537




Description area


The Khalidi Library (Al Khalidiyya), founded in Jerusalem in 1900 by HajRaghib al Khalidi, is the first Arab public library resulting from a private initiative in Palestine. Its origins lie in the personal collections of books and manuscripts accumulated by the Khalidi family over several centuries.

After 1967, the library was threatened to be confiscated by the Israeli authorities. The continuing threats to the library led to the creation in 1988 of the educational foundation The Friends of the Khalidi Library (FKL) in the state of Massachusetts. Its creation made it possible to obtain support and funding from the Ford Foundation, UNESCO, the Dutch government and other organisations.

Thanks to these funds, the FKL has been able to completely renovate, refurbish and re-equip the library and put in place conservation policies to preserve its collections.

In the 2000s, the library's new administrators, still from the Khalidi family (Asem, Raja and Khalil Khalidi), continued to develop the library's facilities, services and collections, with the support of a number of international donors.

Geographical and cultural context

The Khalidiyya is located in the Old City of Jerusalem, at Tariq Bab al Silsilah, about 150 metres from Bab al Silsilah, one of the main gates to the Esplanade of the Moques (Haram al Sharif). The buildings forming the Khalidiyya are part of the Khalidi family endowment (waqf dhurri) in the Old City.

Mandates/Sources of authority

Administrative structure

Records management and collecting policies


The Khalidiyya is a complex of three buildings located on either side of rue Tariq Bal al Silsilah.
The main building dates from the 13th century and is one of the oldest Mamluk buildings in Jerusalem. It contains a prayer niche (mihrab) and the remains of the Amir Khawarizmian's warriors who took part in the recapture of Jerusalem in the 12th century.
To this building has been added a 15th-century Mamluk annex and Ottoman quarters dating from the 18th and 19th centuries, which are intended for visiting researchers.


The Khalidi Library holds around 1,200 manuscripts, most of them microfilmed and stored in boxes in a temperature-controlled room in the attic of the old madrassa.
The library annex contains a printed collection of 5,500 volumes in Latin script. It includes numerous dictionaries, almanacs and guidebooks, mainly dating from the 19th century. It is one of the largest collections of Palestinian literary and historical documents in the Middle East, built up by Palestinians. One of its main collections comes from the personal library of Ruhi Bey Al-Khalidi (1864-1913).
There is also an important archival legacy of family documents dating back to the early 18th century. The library served as a repository for Khalidi family documents, housing court documents, official letters appointing family members and personal correspondence, including correspondence of Musa, Taha, Yusuf Diya and Ruhi Khalidi, all scholars and civil servants.
These documents have been partially digitised and catalogued, some of them being available for consultation on the library's website and others only on site.

Finding aids, guides and publications

Al-Ju’aba Nazmi, Walid Khalidi, Catalog of Manuscripts in Al-Khalidi Library – Jerusalem, Vol. 1 & 2, London: Al-Furqan Islamic Heritage Foundation, 2006. The website of the Khalidi Library:

Access area

Opening times

Access conditions and requirements

By appointment on Tuesday and Saturday mornings.


Services area

Research services

Three spaces are available: a meeting room, an enclosed square and an open-air terrace overlooking the Dome of the Rock. They can be booked by local partners on payment of a fee for scientific seminars and cultural events.

Reproduction services

Users can request digital copies of specific manuscripts by completing and returning the request form on the website:

Public areas

Control area

Description identifier


Institution identifier

Rules and/or conventions used


Level of detail

Dates of creation, revision and deletion

Entry prepared on 2022-09-05, revised on 2023-08-29.
Translation in English entered on 2023-11-21.




Description based on the Khalidi library website:

Vincent Lemire, Leyla Dakhli, Anouk Cohen, “Family libraries and printing
presses in jerusalem (1840-1940): production, circulation and reception of
multilingual documents”, Open Jerusalem, 2015. Consulté en ligne le 29/05/23

Maintenance notes

Entry created by Cassandre Maubert and Fanny Brière.
Translation in English entered by Cassandre Maubert.

Access points

Access Points

  • Clipboard

Primary contact

129 Bab El-Silsilah Street