Scholar's Library

The Scholar’s Library underpins the IAMM’s role as a centre for the study of Islamic art, culture and civilisation.

The Scholar’s Library holds more than 20,000 titles in its collection.

These are categorised under Open Collection, References and Special Collection, and consist of books, collectors’ items, scholarly journals, art magazines, auction catalogues, photographs and audio-visual materials.

The Scholar’s Library aims to be the foremost facility for the study of Islamic art in Malaysia. It also aims to be documentation centre for Malay manuscript research, and access and materials relating to manuscript studies are widely available.

The Library aims to collect and preserve resources related to the literary heritage of the Islamic world. Meant to enlighten and educate, these resources are made widely accessible to researchers and scholars working in the field.

The Library also focuses on collecting books and manuscript that reflect the museum’s activities. These include research collections, exhibitions, seminars, conservation work, publications and much more. Users and researches may search the collections by making an appointment or browsing our Online Catalogue.

The Scholar’s Library was officially launched on 14 December 2018 by the eighth Prime Minister of Malaysia, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, as part of the IAMM’s 20th anniversary celebrations.

Note: The OPAC service is currently under maintenance and users may not be able to access the database externally until further notice. We apologise for the inconvenience caused.


Open Collections

The Open Collection is the largest collection with a broad coverage on Islamic art and architecture, history and religion. Bibliography, library science, language and literature, philosophy, science, medicine, sociology, anthropology, military sciences and technology are given emphasis too. The section holds over 15,000 books, including theses and museum publications.

Only registered staff are allowed to borrow from this collection.

Special Collections

Items in the Special Collections are set apart due to their age, uniqueness of content or their physical beauty. This section holds over 5,000 titles, including rare books, Qur’an copies, oversized books, limited editions and audio-visual items. They are kept in a specially controlled environment, separate from other parts of the Scholar’s Library collection.

Items from this collection are accessible to researchers in a designated reading room only, and subject to professional handling regulations set by the library personnel.

Reference Collection

The Scholar’s Library holds over 4,000 titles in its Reference Collection. It consists of selection of dictionaries, encyclopaedias, almanacs, directories, atlases, bibliographies, thesaurus, art magazines, printed journals and more.

This collection is limited to in‐library reference only.

Featured Collection

Among the attractions that researchers may find are the 19th and early 20th century publications, which reflect the interest of the European travellers to discover and record the Muslim world.

Examples of these travellers’ accounts are the ‘Malay Sketches’, by Sir Frank Althelstane Swettenham (1913) and ‘Lewis’s Sketches and Drawings of the Alhambra’, made by John Frederick Lewis (1835) during his residence at Granada in 1833–34. Translated and edited versions of important historical and scientific works are also among the most valuable parts of the collection, in addition to the late 17th century printed Qur’ans with Latin translations.

The Special Collection also houses some exceptional oversized books, for example, ‘L’Art Arabe d’apres les Monuments du Kaire’ by Prisse d’Avennes (1877), which measures up to 63 centimetres in height.

Conducting Research

  • Policy and Procedures
    The Scholar’s Library is a research facility and the lending of books is permissible only to our members of staff.

    Non-staff researchers can only consult our collection in the Library and borrowing is not allowed.

    Admissions of non-staff researchers are solely by appointment, and a referral letter from the respective institution or organisation is required.

    Applicants are advised to mention their expected duration of research at the Scholar’s Library in the letter.

    Please email your letter of application one week before the date of the appointment.
  • Opening Hours
    Mondays to Fridays from 9:30 am – 5:00 pm
    Closed on Saturdays & Sundays and on Public Holidays.

    The Library welcomes the academic community and scholars upon request and prior engagement.

    For further information, reach us at

    Scholar’s Library
    Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia
    Jalan Lembah Perdana
    50480 Kuala Lumpur
    Telephone: +603 2092 7070 ext. 7176
    Fax: +603 2274 0529
    Email: scholarslibrary@iamm.org.my

Facilities and Services

Find out more about the facilities and services at the Library to optimise your research.

  • Online Public Access Catalogue (OPAC)
    Browse the Scholar’s Library collection to ease your search.

    Note: The OPAC service is currently under maintenance and users may not be able to access the database externally until further notice. We apologise for the inconvenience caused.
  • Researcher and Conference Rooms
    Hold smaller discussions and conduct your research on items under Special Collection. Computers are available at the research rooms.
  • Study space
    The Scholar’s Library accommodates the study needs of both individuals and groups. Wi-Fi access is available throughout the area.
  • Research assistance
    Our librarians will assist your research by guiding and providing you with the required research materials.
  • Printing and scanning
    Printing and scanning services for the selected materials are available for researchers.

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