The Library’s collections comprise some 30,000 items. These include printed materials, from rare imprints to recent monographs, as well as manuscripts. The Library’s manuscript collections of both Ismaili and non-Ismaili literature, in such languages as Arabic, Persian and Gujarati, constitute a unique resource. Manuscripts are described in several published catalogues which are being combined to form a single on-line catalogue accessible through the Institute’s website. Both to preserve these precious holdings for future generations and make them readily available to qualified scholars, the Library engages in ongoing microfilming of manuscripts, and plans for digitizing particularly significant texts are now underway.
The Library has grown over the years through a steady programme of new acquisitions, but donations by individuals have been crucial as well. Most recently, Professor Abbas Hamdani donated his valuable family collection of over 200 rare manuscripts to the Library. This follows upon the gift of Dr. Zahid Ali’s collection of 220 Arabic manuscripts, and that of Mr Sherali Alidina’s library with its wide range of both printed and manuscript materials. The gift of films, slides and photographs from Mr Amirali Mamdani enriches the Audio-Visuals collection greatly, while the gift of Professor Ali S. Asani from the library of Professor Schimmel of South Asian literature enhances the Reference collection. In addition, the Library seeks and acquires microfilms and photocopies of important texts from libraries and individuals around the world. In its relatively short history, the Library has thus grown into a leading centre and repository for rare and significant resources illustrative of all facets of Ismaili thought and tradition.
Selections of materials from the Library’s collection are showcased in the Gallery.