We have manuscripts dating back to the 17th century, early printed books, newspapers and periodicals, and modern research-level publications in the humanities and social sciences.

Collection guides

Asian and African Studies Reading Room

Asian and African Studies Reading Room

  • Find information on the shelves
  • Access online databases and electronic journals
  • Order collection items to the Reading Room via our catalogues
If you need help, just ask our Information Specialists at the Reference Enquiry desk.

We offer workshops to help you make the best use of the Library's collections.

You’ll need a Reader Pass

Mon: 10.00 – 17.00
Tue – Sat: 09.30 – 17.00
Sun & English Public Holidays: closed

Opening hours for all Reading Rooms

For enquiries, please contact the Reference Service

Blog posts

The East India Company’s Black Book of Misdemeanours

Friday, March 24, 2017

The East India Company knew that it was dangerous to employ overseas servants who were xenophobic, lazy, or dishonest. Indeed the Company was so concerned that it created a ‘Black Book’ to record errors and misdemeanours. IOR/H/29 The book which...

British ‘Islamic’ style seals from the Malay world

Monday, March 13, 2017

The presence of an inscription in Arabic script is such a defining characteristic of seals used by Muslims that it tends to mask the fact that similar ‘Islamic’-style seals were also used by myriad other groups, including Christians in Ethiopia...

Vietnam and Dragons

Friday, March 3, 2017

In Vietnamese culture, as in many other East and South East Asian societies, the dragon plays a very prominent role. It is arguably the most sacred of the four mythical creatures - the dragon, the phoenix, the unicorn and the...

The personal possessions of Thomas and Dorothy Shore

Thursday, March 2, 2017

India Office Private Papers recently acquired two fascinating documents concerning the personal possessions of Thomas and Dorothy Shore. Both Thomas and Dorothy came from families closely connected to the East India Company. Their son John Shore (1751-1834) became Governor-General of...

More blog posts

External links

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South East Asia Library Group

Scholars and librarians concerned with library provision for South-East Asian studies

Southeast Asia Digital Library

Provides researchers with a wide variety of materials

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Raffle's Ark Redrawn book

Raffle's Ark Redrawn: Natural History Drawings from the Collection of Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles

An exquisite illustrated catalogue of the 123 colourful natural history drawings of the Raffles Family Collection.

£20

The Book of the British Library

The Book of the British Library

As well as holding some of the world's most prized cultural treasures, the British Library is the repository of the nation's collective memory.

£25.00