The Institute of Islamic Understanding Malaysia (IKIM) today unveiled its library’s Special Collection on Islamic Civilisation that was first acquired in 2008 via a special grant from the government.
In a by-invitation official launch event that was also live-streamed on its social media platforms today, the multilingual collection consists of 8,001 volumes of important books and journals on a range of subjects on the civilisation of Islam.
The launching ceremony was officiated by IKIM chairman Tun Ahmad Sarji Abdul Hamid.
“Among them are rare works belonging to the 17th, 18th, 19th and early half of the 20th centuries. This treasured property is placed in a dedicated space in the institute’s library and is now officially accessible to researchers and scholars.
“IKIM is also currently embarking on a project to digitise the entire collection in collaboration with the National Archives of Malaysia,” said IKIM in a statement.
According to the statement, the presence of this invaluable collection makes IKIM’s library one of the few libraries in Malaysia and perhaps Southeast Asia with such a collection.
The collection also covers the various geographical domains from the Muslim heartland of the Arabian Peninsula to Turkey, Persia, Muslim Northern Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, Spain, Indian Sub-Continent, Central Asia and the Malay Archipelago.
Meanwhile, Ahmad Sarji in his speech, said IKIM is in discussion with the National Archives on ways and means of taking good care of the books, including the restoration of damaged copies and the digitalisation of the collection to ensure the priceless national asset is preserved for prosperity.
He said this discussion will pave the way for the signing of a Memorandum of Agreement between both parties.
“We hope that this Special Collection will attract the interest of scholars and researchers. The Special Collection volumes have been fully catalogued and are now accessible for online search via the IKIM Library Website.
“The use of the Special Collection will be governed by rules and regulations as in other more established institutions with similar collections, namely the Bodleian Library at Oxford University, Cambridge University Library and our own National Library,” he added. — BERNAMA