Located on the second floor of the Aga Khan Library, the Lending Collection includes the majority of the items in the library collection, totalling around 36,000 items. The collection has developed around the research and teaching needs of both the Institute of Ismaili Studies and the Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations.
The primary subjects covered by the Library’s general collections include religion and philosophy, history, auxiliary sciences, social sciences, art and architecture, literature, education, sciences and medicine. The main focus of the collection, however, is Islamic studies in general, Ismaili, Shi‘i and Qur’anic studies in particular together with materials covering all the Muslim civilisations, past and presents, and especially the Muslim diasporas around the globe.
A remarkable point of the Aga Khan Library collection is the variety of languages it includes. The library takes the effort to collect materials in several European (e.g. English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese), Asian (i.e. Urdu, Gujarati, Sindhi, Tajik) and Middle Eastern (i.e. Arabic, Persian, Turkish, Ottoman Turkish) languages.
The library indexes its materials using the Library of Congress Subject Headings and arranges the content of the shelves according to the Library of Congress Classification.