Library Background

  • The Institute of Ethiopian Studies (IES) Library

The Institute of Ethiopian Studies Library (IES Library) came into being in 1963 together with the foundation of the mother organization, the IES. It is one of the Addis Ababa University’s principal research libraries, as well as the world’s premier center of information and documentation about Ethiopia. Currently the Library mainly resides in the historic Gännäta Le’ul (‘Prince’s paradise’) palace, which Emperor Haile Sellassie had bequeathed to the Addis Ababa University in 1961. The Library has four departments/sections/centers. The Foreign Languages Department is found at the ground floor, also known as Ras Makonnen Hall; The Ethiopian Languages and Periodicals Department, as well as the Manuscripts and Archives Section are found on the first floor; and The Woldämäskäl Memorial Research Center that houses a bulk of archival documents of the library is located at Arat Kilo nearby the St. Gabriel Church.

The main objective of the Library is to foster and facilitate research in all fields of Ethiopian studies, most particularly in the humanities and social sciences. To this end, it collects and maintains within its premises a library of books, manuscripts, news papers and periodicals, in any language, concerning Ethiopia and Ethiopian studies of all kinds. It also helps in the preservation of the Ethiopian literary heritage rare publications and manuscripts. There are rare collections such as books and periodicals published outside Ethiopia before the inception of printing press in the country, and some are those published in Ethiopia since the advent of printing press in the country.

The Library has very rich collection of (published and unpublished)

  • Books and Periodicals
  • Pamphlets and Photographs
  • Fast growing archival materials both in Ethiopian and foreign languages.

The collection exclusively focuses on Ethiopia (and the Horn of Africa). It now comprises about

  • 100,000 books
  • 1,800 M.A. and M.Sc. theses and Ph.D. dissertations
  • over 9,000 BA essays
  • 1,340 periodical titles
  • about 3,000 Ge’ez, Amharic and Arabic manuscripts
  • nearly 400 magico-medical scrolls
  • over 14,000 archival items
  • 290 photographic albums
  • 38,000 individual photographs
  • over 16,000 reels of microfilms
  • 120 boxes of microfiche
  • over 1,000 slides
  • pamphlets, invitation cards
  • letters of individuals, maps, and the like
  • audio and video tapes too

IES library’s special collections include

  • Encyclopedia Aethiopica
  • Biblical and other religion works
  • Apocryphal and chronicles
  • Theology, life’s of saints and homilies
  • Commentaries, vocabularies and grammars
  • Magical divinatory and medical writings
  • Miniatures, land records and history text
  • Creative writings and poetry collections

User Services

The types of services currently delivered to users of the library are:

  • Circulation services (on-the- spot- reading services)
  • Referral services (quick answers to user queries and guide to sources)
  • Information retrieval services (guiding users how to use the Library’s card catalogue system)
  • Photocopy services
  • Photo-scanning services
  • Microfilm reading and/or printing services

There is also a new research center called the Woldämäskäl Memorial Research Center (WMMRC), which is donated to Addis Ababa University (AAU) by Blatten Geta Mahtämä Sellassie Woldämäskäl, inherited from his father Tsähafi Tizaz Woldämäskäl Tariku, in 1963 E.C. to be used as a center of promoting Ethiopian Studies. Currently, the center has collected a large number (about 353,640 files) of archives that have permanently valuable records from different government and non-government institutions.

Users of the library

  • Local and foreign researchers
  • AAU academic and administrative Staffs
  • Individuals with special need
  • AAU masters and PhD students

Current head of the Unit

Ato Eyob Alemayehu


Phone: 0111239740