libraries in Tunisia        0  1132 reads

1. Archives Nationales (AN)

Conveniently situated next to the national library, the AN offers a wealth of material on Tunisian history. Though its archives span a wide period, the most extensive collection concerns the Protectorate. Archives relating to independence will most likely be unavailable. All materials before the Protectorate are in Arabic or Ottoman except for those relating to international relations. Additionally, much of the catalogue is in Arabic. The AN features a computer-based catalogue which is not yet available online. The staff is quite helpful.

Hours: Closes at 13:00 in August

Director: Mr. Moncef Fakhfakh

Chief Librarian: Mr. Jamel Ben Tahar / Ms. Hasna Trii / Mr. Jelleb

Other Contacts: Mr. Abdelaziz Azzam

Address: Boulevard du 9 Avril, 1002 Tunis

Telephone: (00 216) 71 560 556

Photocopies: 100 ml/page

Access: ID, form

Website:  (in French, English and Arabic)

Monday-Thursday: 8:30-5:30

Friday and Saturday: 8:30-12:45

2. Bibliotheque Nationale (BN)

Relocated to its new home in 2005 (formerly in the medina), the BN offers an impressive collection and nice reading rooms. Its collection includes a large number of manuscripts (40,000), periodicals (16,000), and an extensive collection of ancient manuscripts. Most of the catalogue is searchable via the computer though some of their collection is still being catalogued. Currently the catalogue is not available online. Materials may be consulted only onsite.

Director: Mr. Khelifa Chater

Chief Librarian: Mr. Ben Hamada (Manuscripts)

Address: Access: Researcher's attestation + photo

Telephone :( 00 216) 71 325 338 / 71 329 903

Address: Boulevard du 9 Avril, 1002 Tunis

Easy visible, it’s the large pink building on 9th avril, adjacent to the national archives

Access: ID, proof of residence, 2 photos, letter d’attestation, 5 TND


Monday-Saturday: 8:30 – 20:00

3. Centre de Documentation National (CDN)

The collection of the CDN consists primarily of newspapers, notably: Tunisie Francaise (since 1900), Petit Matin (1920, Tunis Soir (1930), and Journal Officiel (1881). Particularly helpful are “dossiers de presse” treating a wide variety of subjects. Most materials are on microfilm.

Director: Mejib Obba

Other contact: ask for the salle de consultation

Publications: Le Changement, Le C.M.R.

Address: Boulevard 7 Novembre, Menzah 1004 (near the city of science, which has a distinct ‘boule bleu,’ and the Saudi Arabian Embassy.)

Access: Identity card

Telephone :( 00 216) 71 894.266

Fax: (00 216) 71 780 357

Photocopies: 200ml/page

Monday-Thursday: 8:00-18:00

Friday and Saturday: 8:00-13:30

Summer and Ramadan: Administrative hours 8:00-14:00

4. Centre de Recherce, de Documentation et d’Information sur la Femme (CREDIF)

The CREDIF operates under the Ministry of Women and Family Affairs and has a small but growing collection of materials relating to women in Tunisia. Especially helpful are its bibliographic services: the center has pre-made bibliographies or will make one for you. It also has a library on Tahar Haddad, a Tunisian women’s-rights campaigner in the 1930’s.

Director: Ms Rahmouni Saida

Head Librarian: Ms Raja Youmsi

Other Staff: Ms Walhor Benelaziz

Address: Avenue du Roi Abdelaziz-al-Saoud, Rue 7131 El Manar II (across from the Foyer des jeunes filles travailleurs)

Access: ID

Photocopy: 50 ml/page

Phone: (00 216) 71 885 322

Fax: (00 216) 71 887.436

Monday-Thursday: 8:30-18:00

Friday: 8:30 – 16:30

Saturday: 8:30 – 13:00


5. Centre d’Etudes et de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (CERES)

Founded in 1962, CERES has a wide-ranging collection of materials in anthropology, demography, economics, education, geography, history, law, linguistics, philosophy, political science, psychology, and sociology. CERES also publishes Revue Tunisienne de Sciences Socials and Cahiers du CERES as well as occasional monographs and edited volumes. It features a computerized database which is still being updated.

Access: Lettre d’attestation, ID (Usually one can access the library without going to the offices first)

Address:  The administrative office and offices of many of the scholars associated with CERES is on the rue d’Espagne, at the intersection with the rue Al-Jazira.  The CERES Library is at 18, rue d’Athenes, at the intersection with the rue des Salines, where there is also an upstairs conference room at which CERES events sometimes take place.

Director: Dr. Hassan Annabi

Head Librarian: Hedia Chenkaoui

Telephone: (00 216) 71 333 075

Access: ID card

Monday – Thursday: 9:00 – 17:30

Friday & Saturday: 9:00 – 12:30


6. Faculté des Sciences Humaines et Sociales de Tunis

The library offers a wide range of materials relating to history, literature, sociology and philosophy. It has around 120,000 books, 1300 journals, and 6000 theses and memoires. The catalogue is print-based.

Director: Mr. Habib Dlala

Head Librarian: Ms  Hosna Yahyaoui

Address: 94, Boulevard du 9 Avril 1934, 1007 Tunis

Telephone: (00 216 ) 71 560 950

Access: ID, letter d’attestation

Monday – Friday: 8:30 – 18:00

Saturday: 8:00 – 13:00

7. Institut des Belles Lettres Arabes (IBLA)

Founded in the 1930’s by the White Fathers, the IBLA has a large and somewhat eclectic collection of materials relating to North Africa, especially in the social sciences and literature. The library encompasses some 34,000 monographs in Arabic and Latin languages and some 150 journals. Of particular interest is their collection of newspapers (La Depeche and Al-Amal), scholarly reviews (Revue Tunisienne), and maps. IBLA also has an on-line database of its collection searchable in French and, to a lesser extent, Arabic by keyword, author, and title. (Not all of the periodicals are on the online database yet.) IBLA publishes its own journal, the Revue I

Location: 12, rue Jemaa Al Haoua (Impasse Kradechji),1008, Tunis

Located off of Rue Abdel Waheb near the Casbah, the Medina, and the Faculté des Lettres

Director: André  Ferré
Head Librarian: same
Other Contacts: Mr. David Bond
Address: 12, rue Jemaa Al Haoua (Impasse Kradechji), 1008 Tunis
Telephone: (00 216) 71 560 133
Fax: (00 216) 71 572 683
Access: Only researchers, access card: annual 10 TD, monthly 3 TD (+ 2 photos)
Photocopies: 50ml/page                  


Hours: Monday – Friday  14:30 – 18:30; Saturday 8:00 – 12:00

Ramadan hours: 8:30-12:30 July 9:00-12:00 closed in August.

Closed in August         

8. Institut National du Patrimoine  (INP)

The INP operates under the Ministry of Culture and contains a large collection of materials relating to archaeology, art history, ancient history, ethnology, and epigraphy Latin languages and Arabic . The library also contains Tunisian and French theses on archaeology, ancient and medieval history, numismatics  and epigraphy. It has a small collection of maps and some scholarly offprints. The archives service is separate from the library and in a different facility nearby. Researchers must speak to the archives’ director before obtaining access to the catalogue or materials.

Director: Mohamed Beji Ben Alami

Head Librarian: Ms Leila Dridi

Archives: Ms Ibtissem

Address: (library) 4, Place du Chateau, 1008 Tunis   in the medina near the Kasbah

(archives) 33 rue Tourbet El Bey, Beb Menara Tunis 1008 also in the medina

Access: ID, Attestation from CEMAT

Telephone: (00 216) 71 57 41 27

Fax: ( 00 216 ) 71 262 452

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Monday-Thursday: 8:30-16:00

Friday and Saturday: 8:00 - 13:00

Summer and Ramadan: 8:30 - 13:00


Monday – Saturday: 8:30 – 13:00

Summer and Ramadan: 8:00 – 14:00

9. Institut Superieur d’Histoire du Mouvement National (ISHMN)

An important source for any research on Tunisia’s independence movement, the ISHMN houses a large number of microfilm reels from various French archives. (Some of the microfilms are housed at the Archives Nationales.) Additionally, it has a collection of interviews with participants in the independence movement. The center will also provide technical assistance for interviews relating to the independence movement. It also has a collection of photographs and a small library.

Director: Mr. Latfi Shabi Chaibi

Address: Campus Universitaire, 1007 La Manouba

Access: ID

Telephone: (00 216) 71 600 950

Fax: ( 00 216 ) 71 600 277


Monday – Friday: 8:30 – 17:30

Saturdays: 8:30-13:00

Ramadan and Summer: 8:30 – 13:30

10. Institut de Recherché sur le Maghreb Contemporain (IRMC)

Formerly named the CTDM, the IRMC is the French government’s equivalent of CEMAT.  IRMC has a large collection of materials relating to Maghrebian social sciences and history, primarily in French with a few in Arabic, as well as useful reference works. Its monthly online publication, Correspondances, has updates about current research, as well as reviews of publications about the Maghreb.  If you speak French, it is a good idea to make an appointment to meet the Director of IRMC and to ask his advice on scholars and works to consult relating to your research topic.  IRMC has multiple teams of researchers who study a common theme, and they hold periodic public lectures and conferences that are useful to attend to network about your topic.  More information and the IRMC catalogue can be found on the website (see below).

Director: Pierre-Robert Baduel (a geographer)

Address: 20, Rue Mohamed Ali Tahar, Mutelleville, 1002 Tunis; it is best to go by taxi.  Go out the Avenue de La Liberté to the Place Pasteur, then take Jugurtha Street.  Rue Mohamed Ali Tahar is to your right just past the football stadium.  The building looks like a normal villa and is easy to miss

Required Documents: Lettre d’attestation, passport or national ID

Photocopies: 70 ml/page

Summer: 8:30 – 14:30


11. Observatoire Nationale de Documentation Agricole (OBDA)

Formerly the Centre National de Documentation Agricole, the ONA has a large collection of technical documents relating to agriculture in Tunisia. The largest part of its collection concerns 1956 to the 1980’s. The ONA also has begun to focus on agricultural markets. The collection is searchable onsite via their database. Most of the collection consists of microfiches, and they also receive Tunisian dissertations concerning agricultural sciences.

Director: Belgassam Mnassri

Telephone: (00 216) 71 801 478

Fax: (00 216) 71 801 055


Open: 8:30 – 17:00

Summer: 8:30 – 15:30

Friday: 8:30 – 13:00

12. Centre d’Etudes Maghrébines à Tunis (CEMAT)

CEMAT is the American Research Center in Tunis, one of three centers under the American Institute for Maghribi Studies (AIMS) (the other two are TALM in Tangier and CEMA in Oran).   CEMAT has a two-room library specializing in works in English about North Africa.  The library includes about 2000 books and about 1000 theses, plus journals and collections of press clippings and miscellaneous articles by topic area.  The Library is non-circulating; the materials must be consulted in the Library and cannot be checked out.  Use of the Library and entrance to CEMAT lectures and conferences is free to all.  Use of CEMAT’s wireless internet facility and consultation with CEMAT staff for research permits and affiliation documents are by membership.

Director: Laurence Michalak

Assistant Director: Riadh Saadaoui

Location: Impasse Menabrea, 19 bis, rue d’Angleterre, Tunis

Mailing Address: B.P. 404, 1049 Tunis-Hached, Tunisia

Email: Director

Telephone: (00 216) 71.326.219

Fax: (00 216) 71.328.378

Membership: students: $40 for up to 4 months or $60/year; non-students $60 for up to 4 months or $80/year (can be paid in dollars or in Tunisian dinar equivalent)

Photocopies: TD 0.050 (50 millimes)/page

Open: 8:30 – 4:30, Monday through Friday, closed week-ends


Summer and Ramadan hours: 8:30 – 14:30

13. Beit el-Bennani

Beit el-Bennani is an unusual library, created and maintained by Mr. Mohamed Bennani.  It is located in an old courtyard house on the West edge of the Tunis medina. The East room contains a collection of 923 catalogued books and the West room is a book bindery. About two thirds of the books are in French and some other Western languages and the rest are in Arabic, and some are still uncatalogued.  The books are works from the 19thand 20th centuries, and a few even older.  The library also has a collection of about about 9,000 old photographs and negatives of Tunisia which are currently being catalogued.  The library does not yet have a website but is working on one. Books available for use on the premises, although even more valuable is the advice of Mr. Bennani.  If you discuss your topic with him he can tell you the books and scholars in Tunisia that deal with it. For the initiated, the Beit el-Bannani has a vegetable cous-cous every Wednesday; people come between noon and 1:30 and the cous-cous is at 1:30. 

Director: Mohamed Bennani

Location: 11bis Boulevard Bab Menara, Tunis

Mailing address: 11bis Boulevard Bab Menara, 1008 Tunis


Telephone: (00 216)

Fax:  none

Membership: no fees

Photocopies: available at a nearby shop for TD 0.030/page 

Open: 8:30 am – 7 pm

Summer and Ramadan hours: 8 am – 2 pm

Website: none as yet, but one is envisaged

14. Bibliothèque des sciences des religions (Bibliothèque diocésaine)

The library holds about 25,000 books, mainly in French and Arabic.  Most of the  material concerns three areas of interest: (1) religious sciences (history of religions, comparative studies, psychology of religion, sociology of religion, etc.), (2) intercultural and interreligious dialogue; and (3) history of Tunisia (particularly the history of Christianity in the region).  The library receives around twenty specialized journals.  A large part of the library’s holdings have already been catalogued (Universal Decimal Classification) and computerized (CDS/ISIS database software). The database contains more than 60,000 entries (books, articles, documents) and is keyword searchable. Readers consult books on the library premises, thus ensuring that all documents are continually available.  It is possible to photocopy books and other documents not readily available

Director: Diego SARRIO

Assistant Director: Marc LEONARD

Location: 9, rue Sidi Saber (in the Medina of Tunis, the 4th street to the right when you take the Rue Djamaâ Ezzitouna from Bab Bhar/Porte de France)

Mailing Address: 9, rue Sidi Saber, 1008 Tunis Bab Menara, Tunisie


Telephone: (00 216) 71.327.174

Fax: (00 216) 71.335.832

Membership: Readers’ cards are valid for a year (15 dinars), three months (5 dinars) or one month (3 dinars). Two passport photos and photocopy of identity card are needed

Photocopies: Maximum 50 copies a day. A4: 0.06 dinars. A3: 0.1 dinars 

Hours of Operation: Monday to Friday 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Saturday by appointment

Summer and Ramadan Hours: Ramadan: No change in the hours of operation; July: Monday to Friday 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.; August: Closed


15. Other Libraries

If you find other libraries or documentation sources that might be useful to scholars studying Tunisia, we invite you to share them. Below is a template for the information you should gather about the resource.  Send us the annotation (to and we will add it to this list.

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