Our Central Asian collections range from the 4th century AD to the present day and cover the languages and cultures of Asia from the Caucasus as far as China in the east, and from Afghanistan to Russia in the north.

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

External links

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


A union catalogue for manuscripts in Arabic script in UK collections


Access to Mideast and Islamic Resources