Nine colourful books arranged in an order (side view)

On Thursday 19 November the Aga Khan Library will take part in History Day, which connects students and researchers with information professionals from libraries, archives and research organisations across the UK. This year’s event also coincides with the Being Human festival, the UK’s national festival of humanities.

The event is a unique opportunity to raise awareness of the Library among scholars of Islamic and Shia studies, as well as researchers of contemporary Muslim societies and communities. To this end, Dr Walid Ghali, the Head of the Aga Khan Library, and other librarians feature in a short film that highlights the Library’s various collections, which contain over 50,000 volumes.

Librarian Shah Hussain outlines the flagship Ismaili collection, one of the largest and finest of its kind anywhere in the world, and its broad coverage of modern and medieval Ismaili history, theology, philosophy, art and architecture, and devotional literature (ginans).

He also emphasises the Library’s significant collections related to Islamic mysticism and Shia Islam, as well as the history, art and architecture of Iran, Central Asia and South Asia.

Librarian Waseem Farooq describes the Library’s unique Ottoman collection, which features 500 titles ranging in subject from language and literature to history and religion.

Pedro Sanchez Rodriguez, the Digital Resources Librarian, describes the importance of the project to digitise the Library’s rare and special collections, and highlights significant texts that will be digitised next year, including a complete Canon of Medicine from 1527, the holograph manuscripts of Mohammed Abdu and further Ottoman materials.