The Scholar’s Library was established to support IAMM as a centre of education for the study of Islamic art, culture and civilisation. In conjunction of the celebration of 20th Anniversary of Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia, the Scholar’s Library will be officially launched on 14th December 2018 by The Prime Minister of Malaysia, YAB Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad. Its mission is to collect and preserve resources related to the literary heritage of the Islamic world, as well as to educate and enlighten researchers and scholars working in the field by making it available to them. The library houses over 20,000 titles categorised under the Open Collection, Reference, and Special Collection which consist books, collectors’ items, scholarly journals, art magazines, auction catalogues, photographs and audio-visual materials. The Scholar’s Library aims to be Malaysia’s foremost facility for the study of Islamic art and culture and documentation centre for Malay manuscript research by providing access and materials relating to manuscript studies. Moreover, it also focuses on the collection of books and manuscripts that reflect the museum’s activities, primarily on research collections, exhibitions, seminars, conservation work and publications. Users may search the collections through the online catalogue or by browsing the shelves.
Among the attractions that researchers may find are the 19th and early 20th century publications, which reflect the interest of the European travellers to discover and record the Muslim world.
Examples of these travellers’ accounts are the ‘Malay Sketches’, by Sir Frank Althelstane Swettenham (1913) and ‘Lewis’s Sketches and Drawings of the Alhambra’, made by John Frederick Lewis (1835) during his residence at Granada in 1833–34. Translated and edited versions of important historical and scientific works are also among the most valuable parts of the collection, in addition to the late 17th century printed Qur’ans with Latin translations. Furthermore, the special collection houses some exceptional oversized books, for example, ‘L’Art Arabe d’apres les Monuments du Kaire’ by Prisse d’Avennes (1877), which measures up to 63 centimetres in height.