Penn Libraries has a world class collection of books, manuscripts and other materials related to the study of the Islamic world. The Middle East Collection holds over 250,000 printed monographs, which includes over 90,000 catalogued volumes in western languages, over 111,000 in Arabic, over 16,000 in Persian, 13,000 in Turkish, 1,700 in Armenian, and approximately 1,700 volumes in miscellaneous languages (Kazakh, Azeri, Pashto, Kurdish, Ottoman Turkish, Berber, among others). The South Asia Collection holds over 25,000 books in Urdu and more in other languages. In addition, the library possesses substantial collections concerning Islamic South Asia, Eastern Europe and Africa.
Van Pelt Library holds over 6,000 newspapers, magazines and journals related to the Islamic world in both print and electronic format. In the major languages of research about the Islamic world, it possesses roughly 6000 physical journals and newspapers, and approximately 2000 other serials.
The Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts holds 1,600 works related to the Islamic world. This number includes substantial holdings in manuscripts, lithographs, and other formats like albums, photographs, and lacquer works.
Penn Libraries is engaged in a major project of digitization Islamic manuscripts (together with Columbia and the Free Library). Penn is the host institution for much of the high-tech digitization.