The Anthropology Library and Research Centre, located within the British Museum, incorporates the original Library of the Royal Anthropological Institute (RAI) and the British Museum’s Ethnography Library, and is effectively Britain’s national anthropology library. The RAI contributes substantially to Library acquisitions and staffing. International exchange arrangements are also in place with scholarly institutions, under which the Library receives publications in exchange for RAI journals.

The Library is open to the public for reference and research. RAI Fellows have the special privilege of being able to borrow books from the library. Fellows are encouraged to make use of the Library’s wide ranging resources.

The Online Catalogue can be searched here.

Both the RAI and the Museum’s Department of Africa, Oceania and the Americas host seminars and other events in the Library. The Department’s Collections Enquiries service is also located within the Library.

Library opening hours are 10.00-17.00 Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and 13.00-17.00 on Thursday.

Electronic Resources

The Library is increasingly purchasing material in electronic format as well as hard copy. At present the electronic resources collection is still in its developmental stage, but already comprises a substantial number of reference works and some journal titles. This development will allow Fellows both on-site and remote access to a selection of the Library’s resources and, by rationalising purchases, will enable the Library both to effect budgetary savings and to offer a much wider range of material.

EZproxy is an access management system that provides remote access to the online databases and journals subscribed to by the RAI and the British Museum. This service is available for RAI Fellows. To have an EZproxy account set up, please email the Membership Manager for details.

The Library’s holdings comprise more than 120,000 books and pamphlets and 4,000 journal titles, of which around 1,500 are current. The journal collection, which is indexed by the Anthropological Index Online, is particularly strong for Latin America, Eastern Europe, Africa and Asia. The Library also contains maps, newsletters, reports and a significant pictorial collection.