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Research at the African Studies Library

The Africana collection at Boston University comprises some 200,000 volumes. The bulk of the collection is located on the 6th floor of Mugar Memorial Library and is accessible by the north elevator. The 6th floor is also home to the African Studies Library (ASL) reading room.  The ASL houses reference books, current journals, government documents, and various special collections. The 6th floor circulating stacks consist mainly of Africa history, languages and literature, religion and Christianity in Africa, African economic conditions, etc.

For more information regarding the Africana collection, see the African Studies Collection Development Policy.

Africana volumes are located throughout the BU Libraries. Be sure to note the location of the item when searching the library catalog. The Law Annex contains many books on human rights in Africa, while missionary accounts and records may be found in the Theology Library.  The Krasker Film Library contains many African films and documentaries available for faculty use and the Teaching Africa Library located on 232 Bay State Road provides film, teaching resources, curriculum kits and children’s literature.

The African Studies Library subscribes to both print and electronic journals and the BU Libraries subscribe to a number of databases with an emphasis on Africa. These and many of the physical items in the collection can be found searching the library catalog.

There are several specialized collections that do not currently exist in the catalog. These are all collections housed within the ASL and include:  government document collection spanning the colonial era (known as the “J Docs”), an extensive gray literature/pamphlet collection, and an African maps collection. The ASL also houses several special collections of field notes and donated papers which are in the process of being organized and added to the collection.

The African Studies Library has also created online research guides to assist users. These include:

  • Research Tutorials
  • Subject Guides
  • Course Guides
  • Guides to physical collections

For reference help, visit the African Studies Library or contact us at 617-353-3726 or asl@bu.edu