Maulana Azad Library

About The Library

The Central Library of Aligarh Muslim University popularly known as Maulana Azad Library is one of the largest university libraries of the world which possesses more than 13 lakhs volumes of printed books.

The foundations of the library was laid in 1877 at the time of establishment of the Mohammadan Anglo Oriental College by Lord Lytton, the then Viceroy of India and it was named after him as Lytton Library. The present grand seven-storied building was inaugurated by Late Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of independent India in 1960 and library was renamed as Maulana Azad Library, after great scholar, educationist, statesman, freedom fighter and the first Education Minister of the independent India.

M.A. Library is the central library of the university with more than 110 sister libraries (college/departmental libraries). It is a world famous repository of rare manuscripts and books in Urdu, Persian and Arabic languages. One of the most priced part of the library is its Manuscript Division which possess about 16,117 rare and invaluable manuscripts on Islam, Hinduism etc.

M.A. Library has introduced state of the art information technology and it is fully automated with Libsys 7.0 (Release 2.0) software which connects almost all computers of the university as well as the AMU centres in distant states. The 3M security system and four dozen CCTV camaras ensure safety of the library material. Over 8000 students, teachers and other members visit the library almost every day.


Oriental Division

M.A. Library possess about 3.27 lakh books in Persian, Urdu, Arabic, Hindi and Sanskrit languages on almost all the subjects taught in the University. Research scholars of Persian, Arabic, Urdu, History, Islamic Studies, West Asian studies, Unani Medicine, Theology, Mass Communication are its regular users. This Division has a very large collection of rare books published during the 18th and 19th centuries.  One of them is the Latin translation of the celebrated Arabic works on optics, OpticamPrafatis by Ibn-al-Haitham (965-1039 AD) which was published in 1572 & other on Avicennas (Ibn-e-Sinas 980-1037 AD) Al-Qanun (1593 AD). Digitization of the rare printed books is in progress and almost half the collections of Manuscripts and more than 15,000 rare books have already been digitized.

Manuscript Division

It consists of many rare manuscripts. Among its rarities, the oldest manuscript a copy of Quran preserved in the Library is over 1400 years old. It is a fragment of Holy Quran transcribed by Hazrat Ali, the fourth caliph of Islam which is written on parchment in Kufi script. Another rare manuscript is the Halnama of Bayazid Ansari and a copy of Nahjul Balagha of Hazrat Ali. There are several farmans (decrees) of the Mughal kings like Babur, Akbar, Shahjahan, Shah Alam, Aurangzeb etc. Another prized possession of the Library is a Shirt (Kurta) which was worn by warriors of Mughal Emperors. Among the Mughal period paintings is a Red Tulip, a master piece of Mansoor Naqqash, the court artist of Emperor Jahangir. Valuable Sanskrit works on Hinduism translated in Persian are also available in the Library. One of them is a Persian translation of Bhagwat Geeta by Abul Faiz Faizi. Other possessions are the Telugu and Malyalam manuscripts written on palm leaves.

Conservation & Binding Section

The Library is very much concerned with the conservation and preservation of the Worlds documentary heritage. It maintains a Conservation Laboratory for manuscripts and Bindery for books, journals, newspapers etc. At the core of our work, is the care and understanding of the collections. The Library uses a combination of "preventive" and "interventive" activities. Reduction and wherever possible, elimination of the causes of deterioration is the most effective and least expensive strategy for collection.

Collection Development Division

This Division is responsible for selecting, ordering and acquiring books and other documents. In selecting books and reference sources, identification of the needs of academic community, current fields of study and educational levels are taken into account. The resources are acquired after combing through lists, reviews, suggestions of subject experts and by visiting book fairs etc. Gift & Exchange is also one of the important activity of the Library where documents of many languages are received as gift especially in Urdu, Arabic and Persian. Individual authors also prefer to donate copies of their works. Private collections from eminent personalities are also received as gift from time to time.

Circulation Division

The Circulation Division of the University Library provides open access for issuable books to its students, faculty and staff. Users can go to stacks directly for selection of the desired books and after selection can borrow them.

Periodicals Division

This Division is responsible for collecting and managing the periodicals which contain the latest information on current developments. The Library makes every effort to procure the maximum number of journals on all subjects of studies. This Division also procures and manages the current newspapers and general magazines. At present, about 480 journals in print as well as online are being subscribed in addition to some World famous databases for research and reference. 

Computer Applications Division (CAD)

The Division has started housekeeping operations in Acquisition, Periodical, Technical and Circulation Divisions. The Library is a part of the fiber optic based campus LAN. Of 175 computer, 100 computers are exclusively available for the use of research scholars and faculty members in the Library. Computer Applications Division designs & develops many utility software for the smooth running of library apart from maintenance of main Library software i.e. LibSys. Training and help is also given to users and staff of the university regarding information retrieval and data entry.

Digital Resources Centre (DRC)

The Library provides campus wide access to online resources through a well-equipped Computer Lab having 96 nodes. This Centre provides access to the subscribed as well as open access resources available to the University.  CDs of lectures of IITians, Medical tutorials, reference documents, etc. are also accessible in the Digital Resources Centre.

Research Division

The reference tools available in print form in this Section are mainly the dictionaries, encyclopedias, bibliographies, directories, indices, geographical sources, subject dictionaries, statistical sources, calendars, yearbooks, biographies, gazetteers, census reports statistical information sources, factual information sources etc. The staff working in the section guide students and other searchers in locating and providing the required material out of the reference sources.

Sir Syed Section

The Library has a separate room in which books written by Sir Syed as well as on Sir Syed are kept. The Aligarh Institute Gazette started by Sir Syed in 1866, Tahzeeb-ul-Akhlaq started in 1870 and Aasar-us-Sanadeed (about monuments of Delhi) are also available in Sir Syed Section which is consulted widely by scholars from India and abroad.

Braille Section

One of the special features of Maulana Azad Library is its service to the visually impaired students through Braille Section. Apart from the books in Braille script, a large number of documents in electronic format and devices are also available in this section which is provided to the students. Angel Pro, a mobile like apparatus for recording the classroom lectures and listening to the already recorded books are issued to all the students for the entire duration of the course.

Reading Halls 

There are six large size reading halls apart from eight small reading rooms with a seating capacity of about 2000 students at a time.

Newspapers Reading Area

Almost all current newspapers and magazines of English, Urdu and Hindi are available in the Library. Back files of some reputed newspapers are also being preserved and maintained.

River Ganga Repository

The purpose of the repository is to collect, organize and make accessible to the world, the literature and other information pertaining to the river Ganga which may be utilized in cleaning and rejuvenating the river Ganga. AMU has already gathered a number of books, reports, dissertations and theses which are now part of the repository.


M.A. Library started AMULIBNET in 2012 to facilitate the sister libraries to upload the bibliographic information of their collection to the centrally located server to become visible on OPAC.

Library Collections

The Library collection comprises of about 14,00,000+ documents including books, periodicals, newspapers, theses, dissertations, reports, pamphlets, manuscripts, paintings, photographs, CDs, microfilms, databases, e-books, talking books etc. About 15,489 theses & dissertations and 16117 manuscripts are available in the library. In fact, the Library also performs the functions of a reference library as far as the books and manuscripts in oriental languages are concerned.

Library Services

The Library provides a wide range of services to its users including retrieval of information, orientation, assistance in locating/searching of documents, advisory services, current awareness service (CAS), bibliographic service, bibliographic instructions, inter library loan, organization of exhibitions, press clipping, reprographic service, print facility etc.

Photocopy Facility

Photocopy facility, for limited number of pages, is available inside the library on commercial basis with the prior permission from the University Librarian as per the copyright law.


Besides students, teachers and other staff of the University, all members of the University Court, the Executive Council and Finance Committee are eligible for membership. The University Librarian is authorized for providing membership to any other person as well.

Library Hours

The Library remains open for 18 hours a day for its users on all days except a few national & religious holidays. During the examination period, the opening hours are further extended. (Note:- Library offices functions 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily except holidays; and on Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.).

Updated on 08.09.2021