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

Batak manuscripts in the British Library

Monday, November 28, 2016

The Batak peoples of north Sumatra are associated with a distinctive writing culture, with manuscripts written on a range of organic materials, primarily tree bark, bamboo and bone. Most characteristic are the bark books known as pustaha, written on strips...

Archives seeking refuge

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

After the Japanese invasion of Thailand in 1941, just before the Thai Government declared war on Britain and the United States on 25 January 1942, 22 cases containing the archives of the British Legation in Bangkok were removed. A similar...

1500 titles of Thai printed books added to the British Library’s electronic catalogue

Monday, October 17, 2016

The Library’s Thai collection contains more than 6000 titles of printed books, pamphlets and grey literature in Thai language, dating from the mid-19th century onwards. Due to a generous gift by Christian missionaries of about 100 books and pamphlets, the...

The Archive of Yogyakarta digitised

Monday, October 10, 2016

The ‘Archive of Yogyakarta’ refers to a collection of some four hundred manuscript documents in Javanese dating from 1772 to 1813, originating from the court of Yogyakarta. A highly important source for the political, economic, social, administrative and legal history...

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