Services and Facilities

Book Lending

The library’s book lending services are available to staff and students of the Institute of Ismaili Studies (IIS) and the Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations -Aga Khaninfo-icon University (AKU-ISMC) as well as to members of the Aga Khan Foundation and the Ismaili Tariqainfo-icon and Religious Education Board who live in London. Alumni and visiting faculty are also entitled to borrow materials from the collections.External visitors who would like to use the library for their own research purposes have reference access to the library’s collections and are advised to contact the Head of Library prior to their visit.

For any queries regarding our lending services, please contact:

Khadija Lalani

Alex Leach

If you are an external visitor and would like to use the library, please contact:

Dr Walid Ghali

Inter-library Loans

The library subscribes to the British Library document supply service and inter-lending scheme. Registered members of the library are entitled to request an inter-library loan or document supply service if the title they require for their research cannot be purchased, since it is not part of the library’s collection emphasis, and cannot reasonably be obtained through other means. To request an inter-library loan, please contact one of our Librarians, providing details of the title you are looking for, or use our online form.

To request an inter-library loan, please contact:

Khadija Lalani

Access to Collections

Access to the library’s physical collections is via the ground floor level. The library currently maintains several shelf locations on the ground floor and the lower ground floor. A lift service is in place to assist users accessing the collections on the lower ground floor.

Online Catalogue

Our online catalogue is currently being provided by SirsiDynix and has been jointly maintained by both Institutes since September 2011. Prior to that, each Institute maintained its own catalogue. It includes over 27,000 bibliographic records for more than 34,000 items which are part of the library’s collections. The catalogue is available to the public at

If you are a registered member of the IIS-ISMC Joint Library you have the additional benefits of using the catalogue’s account administration and bibliographic tools.

If you have queries or comments regarding our library catalogue, please send them to:

Shah Hussain

Electronic Resources

All registered members of the library have free access to the electronic resources we subscribe to. Access to our online subscriptions and databases is provided through IP authentication if you are on-site. This means that external visitors also have access to our electronic resources as long as they are in the library and use a computer connected to the IIS or AKU-ISMC network.

Off-site access to our online subscriptions and databases is password protected and will only be granted to registered members of the library, in order to comply with licensing and copyright regulations. The library currently uses Open Athens for off-site user authentication and registered library members will be given login credentials. To access our online subscriptions and databases off-site, please log in to My Athens.

For queries related to our electronic resources, please contact:

Shah Hussain


Reading Areas

Several reading areas are provided in the library and visitors have the option to choose between a small common area near the library’s entrance, study desks on the ground floor, a quiet reading area at the back of the library and an even quieter study desk on the lower ground floor. Please note that library materials left on any study desks will be reshelved regularly. If you would like to keep any materials on a desk for a long-term research project, such as a PhD thesis, please advise our circulation staff and leave a short notice on the desk stating your name and the date on which you last used the materials on your study desk of choice.

Out-of-Hours Book Drop

The Library offers staff and students the means to return their borrowed items out -of-hours, if they need to. A book dropbox can be found just outside the library entrance. The dropbox is emptied by a member of staff every day at 9:30. Materials returned this way are treated as having been returned at 18:30 the previous day.

Issue and Service Desk

Our staff at the issue and service desk are available during opening hours and gladly offer assistance if you have any queries related to the circulation of library materials, locating materials in the library or if you would like help with administering your library account or using any IT equipment provided by the Library.

At the issue desk, you can also renew any library materials you have, pay any outstanding fines or place a hold on an item that is currently checked out to another user.

Information Literacy

The Library offers information literacy courses to all students as they join either Institute and commence their studies. These classes are usually held in September and will be announced on the website and via email closer to the date. Our librarians will give you an introduction to the Library and its collections, explain the use of the catalogue and online resources and answer your questions regarding the use of the library.

If you feel that you require additional support using the Library’s collections and resources or need research paper assistance, please use our Ask-a-Librarian service or contact one of our librarians to book an appointment.

Reproduction Services

The Library provides photocopying, scanning and printing facilities. Staff and students of the Institute of Ismaili Studies (IIS) and the Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations -Aga Khan University (AKU-ISMC) will be given logins to access their photocopying accounts.
External visitors can use these facilities upon request and will be given a guest login. There is a small charge of £0.05 per page for external visitors using the photocopying facilities.

Please note that the Library complies with the UK copyright legislation and is a CLA licence holder. For further details, please visit the
Copyright Licensing Agency.


Microform Readers

Library visitors can use the provided microform readers to view, scan or print from microfiches. Microfiches of the IIS special collections are held by the Ismaili Special Collections Unit (ISCU).

Please contact the Head of the ISCU for queries regarding the Ismaili Special Collections:

Wafi Momin


Currently, we provide five desktop computers in the Library which can be used by visitors to search the library catalogue, access our online resources and use the Internet. Four computers are located on the ground floor level and one computer is on the lower ground floor.


Free wi-fi is available and visitors can connect their laptops or mobile devices to access the internet and the Library’s electronic resources on-site. Please ask issue and service desk staff for our wi-fi password if you would like to use this facility.