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National Libraries Week: Anthropology Libraries

As part of our celebrations of National Libraries week we will be highlighting a specialist library in London everyday this week.

The Anthropology Library is part of the British Museum’s Anthropology Library and Research Centre and is one of the world’s major specialist anthropological collections.


The library contains around 120,000 books and pamphlets, 4,000 journal titles (of which about 1,500 are current), as well as  microfiches, microfilms, maps, newsletters, sound recordings and congress reports. There is also an important pictorial collection of more than 150,000 photographs and other material.

All aspects of anthropology are covered, including: cultural and social anthropology (with a strong emphasis on material culture and art), archaeology, some biological and medical anthropology and linguistics, together with such related fields as history, sociology, description and travel. The collection covers the whole world, but is particularly strong on the British Commonwealth, Eastern Europe and the Americas, notably Mesoamerica.

You can search their catalogue online.


The library is open to the public for reference and research only, you can not borrow any of the books.  However, there is a self-service photocopier available and photocopies may also be requested by email or letter.

To find out information before you go, you can email them

Opening Hours

10.00–17.00, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday
12.00–17.00, Thursday
Closed: weekends, Bank Holidays and 24 December – 1 January

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