We have printed books, journals and newspapers published all over the world, in European and African languages. Our collections also include manuscripts and archives, sound recordings, maps and stamps, as well as some film, visual material and sheet music.

Collection guides

Readers at desks in the Asian and African Reading Room

Asian & African Studies Reading Room

  • Find information on the shelves
  • Access online databases and electronic books and 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 or contact the Asian & African Studies Reference Team.

We offer a range of free Reader sessions and 1-2-1 consultations 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

Case studies

More Case studies
…Data visualisation tools allowed me to present a new perspective on the EAP projects in Africa…

Data visualisation tools allowed me to present a new perspective on the EAP projects in Africa.

…The British Library is rich in resources and digital ingenuities that libraries and information professionals have a lot to learn from. …

Oluwaseun is a Chevening Fellow working at the British Library on a project tagged ‘Big Data and Libraries’. The project focuses on learning from digital and data initiatives at the BL, as well as improving global visibility of obscure research datasets.

…For a PhD student, this is an unparalleled privilege…

Working with our Arabic manuscripts from West Africa: Paul Naylor, AHRC collaborative PhD student.

Blog posts

Recording of the week: Laughing hyaenas

Monday, October 17, 2022

This week’s post comes from Cheryl Tipp, Wildlife and Environmental Sounds Curator. Above: Photo of a Spotted Hyaena by DJM Photos. From Flickr. Although it may sound like it, the Spotted Hyaenas in this recording are not suffering from a...

EAP video

Friday, September 30, 2022

EAP recently commissioned a short film, in the hope that it would raise the profile of the Programme and highlight the importance of making digitised content freely available to everyone. The video is now available on the Library’s YouTube channel...

New online - July 2022

Thursday, August 4, 2022

This month we are highlighting four pilot projects that have recently been made available online, from Indonesia, Kenya, Russia, and Tunisia. Early Cyrillic books and manuscripts of old believers communities in Kostroma, Russia [EAP990] Family Manuscript Libraries on the island...

Hadge Biram: A Restoration Renegade

Monday, July 25, 2022

In the early modern period, the Ottoman Empire was a Mediterranean powerhouse, and a source of both fear and envy throughout Europe. Daring Maghrebi corsairs filled printed books, plays, and romanticised ballads. Many Britons, attracted by promises of opportunity and...

More blog posts

External links

The British Library is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

African Studies Association (UK)

A scholarly organization for African Studies researchers

Afrique francophone

Links to resources on French-speaking Africa

A-Z of African Studies on the Internet

Websites and e-resources

Connecting Africa

A gateway to African research information and materials produced worldwide

ilissAfrica

Offers access to research resources on the sub-Saharan Africa region

SCOLMA

A forum on African studies materials in libraries and archives in the United Kingdom