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SOAS Library

About SOAS Library

The SOAS Library is one of the world's most important academic libraries for the study of Asia, Africa and the Middle East.  The Library attracts scholars from all over the world to consult its holdings and further their research. The Library houses over 1.2 million volumes at the SOAS campus at Russell Square in central London, together with a major collection of archives, manuscripts, rare books and special collections, an expanding Digital Library and a growing network of electronic resources. 

The SOAS Library is part of Library & Information Services, placing it at the heart of a comprehensive service which also supports Learning Resources, IT Support, ICT Infrastructure and the SOAS Information Systems suite (which includes an emerging cluster of innovative library- and research data management systems).

Library & Information Services Mission and Objectives

The mission of LIS is to provide high quality information resources, services and systems to reflect and support SOAS' standing as a leading national and international centre of excellence for research, learning and teaching, for and about Asia, Africa and the Middle East.

The objective of LIS is to ensure and assure the quality, accessibility and sustainability of a portfolio of systems and services that are fit-for-purpose for all SOAS’ requirements.

In pursuit of its mission and objectives, LIS will

  • ensure that the SOAS Library and the School's information systems and services are aligned with SOAS' mission and strategic thinking;
  • maintain the SOAS Library at the heart of SOAS and as the UK National Research Library for Asia, Africa and the Middle East;
  • play a significant role in the development and sharing of resources, information systems and best practice through regional, national and international collaboration;
  • provide the infrastructure and corporate systems which are necessary for SOAS' research, learning and teaching, and administrative requirements;
  • provide comprehensive resources and support for SOAS' learning and teaching activities in its classrooms, lecture halls and on-line environments;
  • ensure that SOAS' on-line services are reliable, available and secure;
  • ensure that all LIS services are customer-focused and that staff seek to anticipate and respond to user needs;
  • teach information skills and develop an Information Literacy strategy to support support different modes of learning;
  • cultivate positive attitudes amongst its staff through its focus on staff development;
  • empower staff to take ownership of their contribution to the workplace;
  • provide a working environment in which staff can be receptive to change and able to take risks;
  • encourage and support a proactive attitude amongst its staff to the challenges of service-delivery in an expanding, research-intensive organisation.