Asian Studies

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Prestigious IMLS Grant Project

Asian Library is leading a China-US collaboration project, "Think
Globally, Act Globally", funded by the Institute of Museum and Library

Services (IMLS).Visit the Project website.

Asian Library

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) Library began collecting limited Asian language books in the 1920s. In the 1960s, UIUC joined many higher education institutions in the nation to take advantage of heightened interest in Asia to establish the Center for Asian Studies in 1964. In 1965, a Far Eastern Library and a South and West Asian Library were created within the Special Languages Department in the Library. In 1979, as part of the Library reorganization, the Far Eastern Library and the South and West Asian Library were merged to form the Asian Library. This newly consolidated Asian Library was allocated the third floor office space and reading room, which is also adjunct to the 7 th and 8 th stacks East housing the Asian language collections brought together by the merge.

The Asian Library’s mission is to support the instructional and research needs of the faculty and students in the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures, the Center for East Asian and Pacific Studies, the Center for South Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, other departments and programs offering courses on or related to Asia, and the general public on campus and the community.

The Library acquires and maintains Asian language materials in Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Arabic, Indic, Persian, Indonesian, Vietnamese, and Thai. The Library's reading room also contains a collection of reference works and a selection of current periodicals on Asia in western languages. Non-Asian language materials on Asia are generally collected and housed in the Central Book stacks and departmental libraries throughout the University Library system.

The Asian collection is interdisciplinary in nature, with a primary focus on information services in the humanities and social sciences, and to a lesser extent in other fields such as agriculture and sciences. The collection is strong in the areas of linguistics, literature, history, philosophy, religion, cultures, and societies of Asia . The collection currently contains more than half million volumes. The major collections including materials in Chinese, Japanese, Korean, South Asian, Arabic and Persian languages. The Library also hosts other Asian language materials, including Indonesian, Thai, and Vietnamese. In recent years, the Asian Library has expanded its collections to include electronic resources and other non-print materials in all areas.

The Asian Library is located on the third floor of the Main Library building. It is accessible either from the unit's entrance in Room 325 Main Library during its opening hours ( 8:30-5:00 ; Mon-Friday) or from the Central Circulation entrance on the second floor in the evenings and on weekends. The Library’s reading room has a seating capacity of 20 and two public workstations, providing access to the University Library Gateways that can direct users to a wealth of resources contained in the Asian Library and throughout the departmental libraries of the University Library system and beyond. The reading room is adjacent to the portion of the Central Bookstacks containing the Asian collections.

All are welcome to use the Asian collections.  Please consult area pages for specific information by linking to Chinese collection, Japanese collection, Korean collection , Middle East Collection and South Asian collection.  Please direct any questions or suggestions to Karen Wei (kwei@illinois.edu), head of the Asian Library or directly to area librarians as follows:

Karen Wei (kwei@illinois.edu), Head, Asian Library, China/Korea

Rajwant Chilana (rchilana@illinois.edu), South Asian Studies Librarian

ShuYong Jiang (shyjiang@illinois.edu), Chinese Studies Librarian/Cataloging Coordinator

Setsuko Noguchi (enoguchi@illinois.edu), Japanese Studies Librarian