(21 Jan 2021) The Malay Studies Library (MSL) is situated at the main entrance of The Academy of Malay Studies complex, University of Malaya (UM). It was established in 1959 at the Faculty of Arts and Social Science, UM campus Kuala Lumpur. It serves members of the
department of Malay Studies. On 13th January 2006 the management of the library was taken over by the University of Malaya Library.
There are two main objectives of MSL:
1. To provide reference resources for teaching, learning and research to students, lecturers and researchers.
2. To provide user education on library resources and services.
MSL is one of the eight special libraries within the University of Malaya Library network. It is managed by a librarian and two library assistants. The opening hours are from 8.30 A.M. to 5.30 P.M. from Monday to Friday. It is closed during public holidays. MSL collection specialises in Malay Studies subjects. It complies with information needs of departments in the Academy of Malay Studies. MSL collection development is based on these five (5) areas:
1. Malay Language
2. Malay Literature
3. Malay Linguistics
4. Malay Sociocultural Theory
5. Malay Arts
The collection of MSL is mainly in printed format. Books, general references such as dictionaries and encyclopaedias, working papers, journals, research collections such as academic exercises and project papers, dissertations and theses. Utusan Malaysia, Sinar (both in Malay medium) and the Sun (English medium) are local daily newspapers subscribed by MSL. MSL approximately has 26,000 collection items. And the number is growing at 800 books on average annually. The collection items that students loan the most are from the research collection: academic exercises and project papers. It is followed by open shelf books which are listed in their courses reading lists.
The latest book with the LC subject heading “Malay (Asian People)” was published by The Penerbit Universiti Sains Malaysia in 2020, with the title Akal Budi Adikarya Sulalat al-Salatin written by Muhammad Haji Salleh. The earliest book in the collection was published by J. Lane in 1895 entitled Malay Sketches by Frank Athelstane Swettenham.
The digital collection is managed by the central library via a database aggregator system known as A to Z. The databases consist of E-Journals and E-books. Among them are ScienceDirect, Project Muse, JStor Wiley and IEEE and others. There are also several databases which provide access to digital theses and dissertations of University Malaya.
The presence of MSL online, its updates and current development can be followed through these two media:
1. Facebook: @malaystudieslibrary
2. Libguide: https://umlibguides.um.edu.my/pm
MSL received numerous book contributions by prominent Malay studies experts. Mostly they were former lecturers at the academy, leaving their legacy through their collections of books they have been reading to students at the academy as a reference of their studies and research. Currently there are three special book collections in the MSL:
1. Hashim Awang Collection
The collection is primarily on literature criticism. There are 232 titles.
2. Zainal Abidin Borhan collection.
The main subject of the collection is on Malay culture. It consists of 252 titles.
3. Prof Emeritus Dr Rahmah Bujang Collection
The collection is mostly about performing arts, especially drama and theatre. The total number of titles are 211.
MSL owns seven Malay manuscripts all of which date from the 19th century. The manuscripts were donated from the personal collection of Mr. Wan Dasuki Wan Ahmad in 2018. Listed below are the titles of the manuscripts:
1. MS1. Kitab Solat (About Muslim prayer)
2. MS2. Hikayat Fartana As-Salam (On manners of the Muslim wife)
3. MS3. Kitab Bab Talaq (About Muslim marriage)
4. MS4. Kitab Tasawuf (Concerning Islamic Mysticism)
5. MS5. Kitab Sembahyang (About Muslim prayer)
6. MS6. Koleksi Khutbah (Collection of Friday Prayer Sermon)
7. MS7. Buku Khasiat (Related to Malay traditional medicine)
The collection is accessible for research. Students are encouraged to use those manuscripts with staff supervision. This is seen as a valuable experience and as exposure for them in dealing with fragile heritage documents.
There are ten abstract paintings that create artistic ambiance in the library. The artworks were donated by Malaysian multidisciplinary artist Mr. Rasfan Abu Bakar in 2017. The library as a place for users to learn, work and to seek inspiration should be able to offer calmness and comfort. Artworks such as abstract and scenery paintings are believed to create such an atmosphere.
All of these special collections (special book collections and manuscripts) are only for internal reference. For the purpose of protection and preservation outward lending is not possible.
The full introduction of MSL library is published in the latest issue of SEALG Newsletter here.