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

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

Blog posts

Three Qur’an manuscripts from Aceh in the British Library

Monday, June 14, 2021

Aceh is renowned as one of the most fervently Islamic regions of Southeast Asia. Situated on the northern tip of the island of Sumatra, it was the site of the first Muslim kingdoms in the archipelago in the 13th century,...

An inspiring Indonesian woman writer: S. Rukiah

Thursday, May 20, 2021

The current British Library exhibition, Unfinished Business: The Fight for Women's Rights (until 1 August 2021), documenting feminist activism in the UK in historical context, is accompanied by a wide-ranging programme of talks and articles exploring the complex history of...

Wiley Digital Archive on history of science now available at the British Library

Friday, May 7, 2021

We are happy to announce that this week we have acquired the Wiley Digital Archives of several major learned societies. The collections currently available are those from the New York Academy of Sciences, the British Association for the Advancement of...

Bollinger Singapore digitisation project completed

Monday, May 3, 2021

In 2013, through the generous support of William and Judith Bollinger, the British Library embarked upon a five-year project, in collaboration with the National Library Board of Singapore, to digitise materials in the British Library of interest to Singapore. The...

More blog posts

Projects

Bollinger Singapore Digitisation Project

Making Singapore related material at the British Library available online.

Raffles Family Collection

Introducing the Raffles Family Collection at the British Library.

Javanese Manuscripts from Yogyakarta Digitisation Project

Digitising Javanese manuscripts from Yogyakarta

All projects

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

Stunning publication on illustrated Buddhist manuscripts from Southeast Asia.

£50

Exhibition catalogue for the Buddhism exhibition at the British Library, 2019.

£25