SOAS (University of London)




10 Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London WC1H 0XG


020 7898 4163

Alternative Names

School of Oriental and African Studies

Contact & Job Title

Contact relevant regional Subject Librarian or Subject Librarian for Arts & Humanities:

Purpose & main user community of the library

A library of one of the constituent colleges of the University of London. For staff and students, and members of the public with different categories and status.

Terms of access

Photo ID required to apply for membership. Membership also available to academic community via SCONUL access scheme. Fees are charged for some categories of membership. Full details on the library’s web pages:

Opening hours

Please check our web page:

Disabled access

Ground floor has level access to all areas. There are lifts serving all other floors of the Library. Please note that wheelchair users should contact before visiting and other disabled users can also request assistance via this email address- you can also find the statement for the access to the library building:

Lending to other libraries & visitors

Visit this page and see more options on the left hand side:

Number of volumes

whole library – 1.2 million (some material stored off-site)

Periodicals – Back Issues


Current Periodicals


Other materials

DVDs & videos: 7,300, CDs: 2,900, Microforms : 120,000

Volumes added per year



The religions and philosophies of Asia, the Middle East and Africa. Books and manuscripts, including translations, of a range of sacred texts. Also general and comparative religious studies, theologies and philosophies

Special Collections

SOAS library holds archives and papers documenting the activities of major British missionary societies, and of individual missionaries, active in Asia, Africa and the Pacific. See Archives & Special Collections:


SOAS library holds a range of manuscripts relating to the religions of Asia and the Middle East

Research resource

Major national collections on Hinduism; Sikhism; Buddhism; Jainism; Zoroastrianism; Islam; Judaism; Eastern Christianity; Confucianism; Shinto; Taoism; Shamanism; the traditional faiths of Africa, Australia and the Pacific; and the new religious movements of our own time. Comparative religion and philosophy. Missionary archives.

Catalogue Type

Online. Some Library material is still represented only on the digital version of the old card catalogue (

URL of catalogue
Other facilities

Photocopying, networked printers; WiFi; walk-in users have access to most of the Library’s e-resources onsite (e-journals, databases, some e-books)

Full Time Staff

35 (liable to change)

Changes in next five years affecting the above

The last restructure of Library staff roles, in 2020, saw significant changes, with plans and strategies focusing on financial sustainability