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

Traditional games in Burma

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Manuscripts from Burma (Myanmar) in the form of folding books (parabaik) often contain depictions of traditional games and sports such boxing, martial arts, cock-fighting and chinlone, reflecting popular activities in daily life. One of the national games of Burma is...

Bugis manuscript art

Friday, July 6, 2018

In my recent post on a court diary from Bone in south Sulawesi, I noted the tradition in Bugis diaries of leaving blank pages between each year, which could then be filled with notes and copies of important documents. Such...

Unravelling an archaeological silk bundle

Monday, July 2, 2018

MPhil student Clara Low is studying Textile Conservation at the University of Glasgow. As part of her course she is completing a placement for six weeks between her first and second year, here at the British Library. The following images...

Using wildlife sound recordings in the field

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Coleridge research fellow Dr Alice Rudge writes: What are the uses of the recordings we make beyond preserving them? How might archiving wildlife recordings open up possibilities for interdisciplinary research, beyond the original purpose of the recording? During my anthropological...

More blog posts

External links

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

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