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

New online - June 2022

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

We have another 4 new projects online to bring to your attention. This time from Indonesia, Iran, India, and West Africa: Bima Manuscripts [EAP988] Zoroastrian historical documents and Avestan manuscripts [EAP1014] Private records of leading business families of Early Colonial...

The provenance histories of Batak manuscripts in the British Library (2): The India Office collection

Monday, June 20, 2022

This is the second part of a series of blog posts about the provenances of all the Batak manuscripts now held in the British Library, which have just been digitised. The first part looked at early acquisitions in the British...

The Nomadic Chemist: Alfred Sercombe Griffin (1878-1943) and Burma

Monday, May 30, 2022

Griffin in the doorway of his Weston-super-Mare pharmacy after his return from Burma. Griffin family archives. The Burmese collection at the British Library has recently received two donations of fascinating memorabilia that belonged to Alfred Sercombe Griffin. He is known...

Bollinger Javanese Manuscripts Digitisation Project: 120 more Javanese manuscripts to be digitised

Monday, May 16, 2022

With the generous support of William and Judith Bollinger, 120 Javanese manuscripts in the British Library are being digitised. The manuscripts date from the 18th to the late 19th centuries, and cover a wide range of subjects, from Javanese literature,...

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