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321 Main Library

South Asian Collection & Resources

  • Afghanistan images
  • Bangladesh images
  • Bhutan images
  • Indian Images
  • Maldives images
  • Nepal Images
  • Pakistan images
  • Sri Lanka Images


The University Library was one of the first subscribers to the Library of Congress foreign acquisitions program for South Asia and has been actively collecting South Asian materials since 1963. The collection comprises of excellent printed and electronic resources that support teaching and research in South Asian Studies, which includes countries such as India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, the Maldives, and Bhutan.

Today the South Asian Collection is comprised of over 210,000 volumes. In addition to its many books and journals, the library has a growing collection of Indian popular media, especially films. The library also has the most comprehensive collection of Indian comics and graphic novels in North America. The South Asian library collection has grown steadily with gifts from the government of India and individuals, and substantial library acquisitions. Cooperative and exchange agreements exist with the following institutions:

Center for Research Libraries (CRL): CRL has large numbers of South Asian newspapers and journals, and acquires local and state government publications, both monographs and serials, from all South Asian countries.

Digital South Asia Library (DSAL): The DSAL is a global collaborative effort to make important and rare resources available to the international community. 

South Asia Microfilm Project (SAMP): SAMP is a cooperative project to which the UIUC library subscribes. It places an emphasis on the preservation of retrospective files and in making available in the United States special South Asian collections from other countries. (*Microforms acquired or filmed are owned by CRL, but are available for loan to SAMP subscribers.)

The primary focus of the South Asian Collection is on the humanities and social sciences. And, as a result the South Asian collection is strong in the areas of Linguistics, Literature, Geography, History, Indology, Philosophy, Religious Studies, Cultures, Societies and Women Studies.

The South Asian Collection contains materials in both English and vernacular languages of South Asia, including the 23 languages of India. By providing reference materials in vernacular languages, the South Asian division of the International and Area Studies Library directly serves departments such as Linguistics, Religious Studies, Comparative Literature and other areas under the Center for South Asian & Middle Eastern Studies (CSAMES).

Some of the language materials included in the collection are:  Assamese, Bengali, Burmese, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Konkani, Malayalam, Manipuri, Marathi, Nepali, Oriya, Pali, Prakrit, Punjabi, Rajasthani, Sanskrit, Sindhi, Sinhalese, Tamil, Telugu and Urdu.

Location of Materials

Reference works and a selection of current serials in English and South Asian languages are housed in the International and Area Studies Library located on the third floor of the Main Library. All other materials can be found in the Main Stacks and in various departmental libraries.


Suggestions for new books, serials, films, and all other information resources are welcome and may be forwarded to:

Mara L. Thacker, the South Asian Studies Librarian
337A Main Library

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