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

33 Burmese manuscripts now digitised

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

The Burmese manuscript collection in the British Library consists of approximately 1800 manuscripts. The majority are written on palm leaf, but there are also many paper folding books (parabaik), and texts written on diverse materials such as gold, silver, copper...

Elephants, kingship and warfare in Southeast Asia

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Elephants have played an important part in many Asian civilisations since ancient times, for once they could be brought under control, their gigantic physical appearance and wild temperament were regarded as great assets. In China, war elephants appeared from at...

Henry Nicholetts’ voyage to Calcutta

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

India Office Private Papers recently acquired the journal of Henry Nicholetts written during a voyage to Calcutta in 1855. Henry was aged 15 and on his way to start a career in Borneo. We are delighted that the journal is...

Workshop on Understanding Asian Papers and their Applications in Paper Conservation

Monday, May 8, 2017

Instructor: Minah Song, independent paper conservator www.minahsong.com Date: July 11th - 13th (Tue - Thu), 2017 - 3 days Place: The British Library, 96 Euston Road, London NW1 2DB Enrollment limit : 12 Registration fee: 470 GBP or 560 EUR...

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

Shop

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