Supported by two grants from the U.S. Department of Education, between 2005 and 2011, the NIU Libraries worked with institutions in Southeast Asia in building the Southeast Asia Digital Library. This project now features hundreds of thousands of digital copies of research materials from Southeast Asia, freely accessible on the internet.
The Donn V. Hart Southeast Asia Collection is located on the 4th floor of the Founders Memorial Library (the main library). The collection is an open-stack collection that can be visited at any time during the open hours of the main library. Reference service provided by staff of the Southeast Asia Collection is available in Room 497 and Room 496.
Southeast Asia Curator
Southeast Asia Library Specialist
The Donn V. Hart Southeast Asia Collection is considered one of the major Southeast Asia library collections in the United State and the only one of its kind in Illinois. The collection is used not only by faculty and students at Northern Illinois University (NIU) but also by scholars elsewhere in the country and the world.
In 1963, an interdisciplinary Southeast Asia Program was established at NIU. In the following year, the Center for Southeast Asian Studies was founded to coordinate teaching, research and related activities for Southeast Asian Studies. The Southeast Asia library collection was organized at the same time to meet the increasing study and instructional needs of students and faculty. First housed in Swen Parson Hall, in 1977 the collection was moved to the Founders Memorial Library. In 1985, the collection was named the Donn V. Hart Southeast Asia Collection in honor of Professor Hart, an anthropologist specializing in Philippine Studies who was Director of the Center for Southeast Asian Studies at NIU from 1971 to 1981.
The Donn V. Hart Southeast Asia Collection today holds an extensive collection of approximately 150,000 volumes of library materials pertaining to all eleven Southeast Asian countries: Brunei, Cambodia, East Timor, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar (Burma), Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. Materials of various formats – books, periodicals, microform, audiovisual records, maps, archival collections, and online sources - are in English and Southeast Asian languages. The collection is particularly strong on Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines, Malaysia, and Myanmar. Highlighted materials within the collection include a sizable collection of ancient Burmese manuscripts (palm-leaf, paper, kamavaca), Thai manuscripts (palm-leaf), and about 50 Asia maps produced between 1500s and 1700s.
Additional resources include: