MEA Library is one of the oldest and biggest in Ministries of Government of India. This library was renamed from Foreign Department Library to MEA Library after independence. The library has a unique and rare collection. This is a very special library in the field of International Relations covering topics of Foreign Policy, Foreign Relations, Area Studies, History, Political Science, International Trade and Economy, Indian Diasporas, Terrorism and related subjects.
The Ministry’s Library has over one hundred thousand books, rich resource material and a large collection of maps, microfilms and official documents. It is also equipped with modern facilities to support policy planning and research. The Library subscribes / receives and maintains about 300 periodicals, journals and newspaper titles, out of which 104 are also available on-line. The Library also subscribed to the online databases: i.e. - Business Monitor International, JSTOR Archival, Keesing’s World News Archive, Market Line: A world of Business Information, Newspapers Direct (PressDispaly.com), EIU: Energy Briefing & Forecasts and EIU Online Services for the use in Headquarters and Missions abroad.
The Library has an in-house computer system consisting of a Server and 12 PC terminals. The system supports data entry and retrieval in Hindi as well. The library has CD-ROM databases on foreign affairs and current affairs.
The Library PCs are also equipped with CD-writers and laser printers. It also has a colour scanner (with OCR capability as well as facility for storage and retrieval of Images), a microfilm / fiche reader printer, plain paper photocopiers and a HP Office-jet pro laser printer with Desk Top Publishing (DTP) software.
A Library Committee manages library activities including purchase of books and subscription of journals. In October 2012, Special Secretary (Political/ Policy Planning & Research) reconstituted the Library Committee.
All documentation and bibliographic services, as well as other library operations and services have been computerized, using an integrated library software package LIBSYS covering all the features of the Library. LIBSYS follows MARC as well as non-MARC format and supports word-based free text searching using Boolean operators.
It also provides online validation of input data prior to updating the database. Information on all books, maps, documents and selected articles from periodicals received in the Library since 1986, (and also pre-1986 publications in active use) are available on-line through intranet in all PCs of Ministry of External Affairs Library.
All new documents received in the Library such as books, maps, microfilms, and selected articles from periodicals are fed on a regular basis in the database on foreign affairs. Using this database and CD-ROM Databases, the Library provides Current Awareness Service and Bibliographical and Reference Services. In addition, the Library regularly issues a Foreign Affairs Documentation Bulletin (FADB) which lists selected articles on International Relations and related subjects and an update on recent additions which consist of an annotated list of books and publications added to the Library.
The library regularly provides Article Alert Service, which consists of abstracts of important articles from journals subscribed by MEA library and is available on Internet through group e-Mails IDs to all Foreign Service officers in the Ministry and Missions abroad. Weeding out of old and obsolete books and journals which commenced few years back is still continuing and substantial progress has been made in this regard.
MEA Library is an Institutional Member of International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA), Special Library Association (SLA), Central Government Library Association (CGLA), Indian Association of Special Libraries and Information Centers (IASLIC) and Indian Library Association (ILA).