Our Kannada collections include manuscripts, early and modern printed books, periodicals, newspapers, and audiovisual materials.
About the collection
We have particularly important holdings of 19th to mid-20th century publications. Our holdings overall are an important resource for the study of South Asia.
The collections include manuscripts on palm leaf, copper, stone and paper.
The manuscripts collection includes items which came from the India Office Library, the Oriental Collections of the British Museum, and those acquired subsequently by the British Library.
Early and modern printed books and periodicals
The Library continues to acquire books and journals in the humanities and social sciences in Kannada and other languages of Karnataka. Our holdings of 19th and early to mid-20th century Kannada materials form a unique and important collection. This strength is complimented by archival material on Karnataka within the India Office Records. Also significant is the collection of early printed Christian literature by various missionaries in Kannada, Konkani in Kannada script, and Tulu in Kannada script.
What is available online?
Kannada books acquired since 1980 are included in Explore the British Library
What is available in our Reading Rooms?
Older books are listed in the following published catalogues, which are available in the Library's Asian and African Studies Reading Room:
- A Catalogue of the Kannada, Badaga, and Coorg books in the Library of the British Museum, compiled by L. D. Barnett, 1910, available online.
- India Office Library and Records Catalogue of Kannada Books to 1970 (also available in microfilm)
- India Office Library and Records Kannada catalogue 1972-1983 edited by Nalini Persad (also available in microfilm)
- Supplementary Catalogue of Kannada Books in the British Library Department of Printed Books, India Office Library and Records, by Albertine Gaur, 1985
Proscribed publicationsThese are publications banned by the pre-1947 Indian government, 10 Kannada publications are listed in:
- Publications proscribed by the Government of India: A catalogue of the collections in the India Office Library and Records and the Department of Oriental Manuscripts and Printed Books by Graham Shaw and Mary Lloyd (London: British Library Reference Division, 1985)
PeriodicalsThe Library’s holdings of periodicals in South Indian languages are included in the following catalogue:
- Bibliography of South Asian periodicals: a union list of periodicals in South Asian languages, by Graham Shaw and Salim Quraishi. Sussex: The Harvester Press, 1982.
Manuscripts are listed in the (unpublished) Catalogue of Oriental Manuscripts in the Asian and African Studies Reading Room.
Manuscripts and older books may be consulted in the Asian and African Studies Reading Room. More recent books may be viewed in any St Pancras reading room, and books in Kannada published since 1945 are available for loan to libraries and other institutions through the Library's Document Supply Centre.