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The Royal Ontario Museum's H.H. Mu Far Eastern Library

A LibGuide highlighting the H.H. Mu Far Eastern Library's collection on the art and archaeology of Asia & Ancient Egypt, with study guides for each geographical subregion in which the Library specializes.

Library Profile

Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) Library and Archives
Royal Ontario Museum
100 Queen’s Park
Toronto (Ontario) Canada
M5S 2C6

Hours: Monday-Friday, 10 am-5 pm

Access to the Main Library and Archives is via the ROM’s Michael Lee Chin Crystal entrance on Bloor Street.

Access to the H.H. Mu Far Eastern Library is via the Staff Entrance on Queen's Park.
Website / Blog Page

News and Current Exhibitions

The Forbidden City: Inside the Court of China's Emperors

March 8 - September 1, 2014
Presented by the Robert H. N. Ho Family.
For more information visit the ROM website here.

Head Librarian Jack Howard

Jack's main interests lie in the history of books, publishing and libraries in pre-modern Japan, and his passion is for storytelling, especially the traditional stories of Japan, Korea and China. Jack will be able to assist you in your research query or direct you to a relevant source within the Library. For more information, see his profile here.

About the Author

This guide is maintained by the Far Eastern Library's staff, but it was originally created by practicum student Jackie Barber. Prior to enrollment in the University of Toronto's iSchool, Jackie completed an MA in Sanskrit and South Asian Studies. She is currently planning a move to Cairo, Egypt. To contact Jackie directly email her at
To provide suggestions for how to make this guide the best it can be please email the Far Eastern Library at

General Information

The H.H.Mu Far Eastern Library and its collections on Asia & Egypt are open to the public weekday afternoons from 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm. This is a reference library and all materials are non-circulating.

The holdings of the H. H. Mu Far Eastern Library are included in the online catalogue for the University of Toronto Libraries.

Please take note of the entire:

  • call number
  • holdings information (i.e. the libraries that have a particular title and where in the library the item is located)
  • location (which notes if the book is in the library or available on 24-hour request)

All this information is critical in order to easily locate your item. Please make a habit of noting location together with the call number. You may e-mail to make sure that the materials are available for your use.

Library materials can be consulted in both the Far Eastern Library and the Main Library's Sackler Reading Room.

Reference questions on subjects covered by the H.H. Mu Far Eastern Library can be addressed to the librarian in person by appointment, by e-mail, or fax 416.586.5877. Telephone messages (416.586.5718, ext. 2) may also be left.

How to Find Us

The H.H. Mu Far Eastern Library is located on the sixth floor of the Royal Ontario Museum. Anyone can visit the library between 1pm and 5pm Monday to Friday. To find us enter the Museum by the staff entrance to the South of the building, which is right next to the Loblaw School Entrance and across from the McLaughlin Planetarium. The security guard will sign you in and if it is your first time to the library someone will escort you upstairs.

Orientation of material within the Library:

The majority of material is housed in the Far Eastern Library's main room, including material on East Asia, South Asia, Southeast Asia. This area is not arranged into separate areas based on geographical region, instead all material is arranged by subject following Library of Congress Classification. Material on West Asia and Central Asia (mainly regarding Islamic Art) are housed separately in the West Asian Reading Room, and material on Ancient Egypt & Nubia are located in a designated section of the library. Rare Books are located in separate secure areas. Talk to the Librarian on duty when you come to visit for further orientation assistance.

For a detailed outline explaining Library of Congress Classification see here.

Navigation of this Research Guide

In addition to providing information on the H.H. Mu Far Eastern Library, this guide will help you with your research on: East Asia, South Asia, Central Asia, Southeast Asia, West Asia, and Ancient Egypt & Nubia - always with focus to, and emphasis on, the Museum's and Library's holdings.

Source: Wikimedia Commons
It is important to note that the countries which fall into each geographical subregion can vary widely from source to source, and there is a fair bit of overlap between various subregion areas. For example, Tibet is often included in East Asia, as a part of China, or in South Asia, as a culture distinct from China. According to the United Nations, Iran is considered to belong in Central Asia, but Iranian Islamic arts make up the majority of the Royal Ontario Musueum's West Asian collection, as Iran is considered to be a part of West Asia by the Museum curators.
Moreover, each geographic subregion contains many distinct cultures, which should not be simply lumped together. Please see the pages for each of the regions in which the ROM's Far Eastern Library specializes for a comprehensive list of countries, as well as further information.
LMany of the online resources mentioned in this guide are restricted to the University of Toronto community. If not affiliated with the University of Toronto or other participating institutions, please note that you are still able to access these resources from public computer terminals on campus or in the ROM's Libraries. Another reason to visit the Library!