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

Asia and Africa

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 free Discovery and 1-2-1 Sessions 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

Blog posts

Cholera on board ship at Singapore

Thursday, April 4, 2019

We are pleased to mark the 200th anniversary of the founding of Singapore with a story from its very early days. Singapore from the Government Hill by W C Smith c.1830 (P1681) Images Online Anyone interested in researching the medical...

Javanese manuscripts from Yogyakarta digitisation project completed

Monday, April 1, 2019

Over 30,000 digital images of Javanese manuscripts from Yogyakarta are now fully accessible online through the British Library's Digitised Manuscripts website. The project, generously supported by Mr S P Lohia, has digitised 75 Javanese manuscripts held in the British Library...

Vietnamese collection milestone: retroconversion of card catalogue completed

Monday, March 18, 2019

In 2015 Roly Keating, Chief Executive of the British Library, launched Living Knowledge, a vision for the future of the British Library, aiming to make our intellectual heritage accessible to everyone for research, inspiration and enjoyment. Living Knowledge also sets...

The largest Javanese manuscript in the world? Menak Amir Hamza

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

The final manuscript to go online from the Javanese manuscripts from Yogyakarta digitisation project is probably the largest Javanese manuscript in the world, in terms of the number of folios in a single volume. This manuscript, Add. 12309, is a...

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