Welcome Sohaib Baig, Middle East and Islamic Studies Librarian

Please join us in welcoming Sohaib Baig to the UCLA Library as Middle East and Islamic Studies Librarian! He is with the International and Area Studies department, based in the Charles E. Young Research Library. We asked Sohaib a few questions about himself and his professional aspirations.Man standing in front of bookcase with Arabic-text books

What are your goals for this year as our new Middle East and Islamic Studies Librarian?
UCLA is fortunate to have one of the largest Middle East and Islamic Studies collections in the country. My goals this year include assessing the current state of the collections, identifying areas of growth and change, and working with faculty and researchers to see how their needs can be met. I am also excited to reach out beyond campus to communities and institutions here in SoCal to help increase public engagement with the Library.

How has your prior experience prepared you for this role at the UCLA Library?
As a loyal Bruin, I completed both my BA and PhD in History here at UCLA. For my doctoral research, I worked extensively on Islamic manuscripts and printed texts across dozens of libraries and archives in Pakistan, Turkey, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UK, among other places. Whilst abroad, I also developed connections with many local librarians, booksellers, and publishers. Last year, I served as a Research Fellow at the Program in Islamic Law at Harvard Law School and participated in some of their pioneering projects in Islamic Digital Humanities.

What projects will you be tackling first?
My priority is to develop a complete picture of the current library operations in the Middle East field that have been impacted by multiple factors, including the COVID-19 pandemic. I will also be reaching out to colleagues across the library as well as students and faculty to build relationships and develop plans for the years ahead.

What are you currently reading/watching/listening to? and/or What do you like to do outside of work?
I’m currently reading Land without Laughter by Ahmad Kamal. My wife and I also just finished reading Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottlieb.

Outside of work, I enjoy spending time with family, staying active through boxing, and traveling.

We are delighted to have Sohaib at the UCLA Library.  You can contact him at sohaib.baig@library.ucla.edu