About the Collections

About the Collection

The Africana collections in the University of Illinois Library are among the finest in the world. The University Library has made a serious commitment to acquire Africa-related materials since 1969. The collection covers all African countries and includes materials in more than 150 African languages. Priority countries for collecting include Burkina Faso, Cote d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, Gambia, Kenya, Morocco, Mozambique, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Priority languages are Amharic, Arabic, Bambara, Hausa, Lingala, Swahlii, Wolof and Zulu. The collections are interdisciplinary, in all formats, and concentrated mainly in the humanities, social sciences and agriculture. The Library has an extraordinary collection of primary source materials for Africana in print and microform, including 120,000 pages of Arabic manuscripts and thousands of government documents.

Africana materials in European and African languages at the University of Illinois Libraries include more than 220,000 volumes (including 15,000 in Arabic and 3,000 in Bamana, Hausa, Lingala, Swahili and Zulu), 2,800 journals, 46,000 maps, 12,000 microforms, and 800 videos. Due to the decentralized nature of the library system, the collection is distributed by subject and format throughout the system; however, the greatest part is in the Library's general book stacks.  

The Map and Geography Library, housed on the 4th floor of the Main Library, holds an extensive collection of maps on Africa. See the Maps of Africa to 1900 project for access to our digitized map collection.  The Media Collection in the Undergraduate Library contains a collection of 800 films on Africa. Please see our African Films Database.

Please browse our recent acquisitions or search the library's online catalog to explore our collection.

For a list of Africa's 100 Best Books of the 20th Century, please click here.

For a list of our current serials, please click here.