The history of the library of Saint John of Damascus goes back to the era of Patriarch Methodius in the 19th century.
When Archemandrite Athansios Kassir established the first clerical school at Balamand Monastery in 1832, the library was located inside the monastery and it held few hundred books. The library continued to develop accordingly with the school until the establishing of the Saint John of Damascus Institute of Theology in 1970.
The institute formed a turning point in the history of our library. Thousands of books and journals were added and the new location provided the library with a huge panoramic reading room, a storage room, two offices, a circulation desk and two spacious levels for stacks.
Nowadays the library of Saint John of Damascus provides the students with a wealth of different resources. It holds more than thirty thousand volumes of books in Arabic, English, French, Russian, Romanian and Greek, local and international periodicals, general and specialized encyclopedias, in addition to rare and diverse dictionaries. The Library is particularly rich in Orthodox Theology, Holy Scriptures, Church Fathers, Church and Human History, Civilizations, Philosophy, and various religions, particularly in Islam. The Library also holds the dissertations of undergraduate and Master program students.
The Library of Saint John of Damascus shares a unity with the University of Balamand Libraries. Students at the Institute of Theology enjoy the use of books and other services provided by the University of Balamand in all specializations, either through the central library or different faculty libraries, as well as the Online Data Base and the Electronic Journal Service, which provide a wide subscription in various specialized electronic resources and world magazines.
Due to automation, the whole collection of the Saint John of Damascus Library is now available on the University of Balamand web page. The system used by the libraries in the University of Balamand makes it easy for students to look for any book by its title, author, publisher, or subject. Furthermore, the Library provides special electronic services of the Holy Scriptures: Old and New Testaments in its original languages (Hebrew, Greek and Syriac) and its translations in European languages.
In addition, Saint John of Damascus Library contains digital images – more than one hundred thousand – of the collection of manuscripts of Our Lady of Balamand Monastery, and other manuscript collections: private or Orthodox monasteries/parishes, in Lebanon and Syria totaling around six hundred manuscripts.