THE LIBRARY OF TIBETAN WORKS AND ARCHIVES
The Library of Tibetan Works and Archives, popularly known as the Tibetan Library, was conceived of and founded by His Holiness the Dalai Lama in 1970 to protect, preserve, restore and promote Tibetan culture. Initially just three modest sections and a handful of resources, the Library has steadily expanded its function, activities, projects and resources to become the busy international hub it is today. As well as being a repository and showcase for Tibetan objects d’art, statues, manuscripts, sacred thangkas (traditional scroll paintings), photographs and many other resources important to Tibetan culture, it is now a fully-fledged cultural and educational centre with ten distinct departments.
Today, the LTWA is one of the premier institutes in the world specializing in Buddhist and Tibetan studies and resources, attracting increasing numbers of international scholars, students, researchers and visitors annually. While its primary purpose is still to secure and preserve Tibetan culture, the Library is acutely aware of the importance and value of furthering such interest through its regular courses in Buddhist philosophy and Tibetan language, and a wide range of activities and initiatives. Many students and scholars come here from many nations to research and study, and share knowledge, gaining significant and lasting benefits from the resources and services provided.
Since its inception LTWA has been credited with a number of significant achievements. Some of the major feats include invention of the first Tibetan typewriter, in collaboration with Remington Co. in the early 1980’s that essentially transformed the mode of communication superseding handwritten correspondence in the exile community. In the early 1990’s when the computer age hit this part of the world the LTWA embarked on another mission to integrate Tibetan scripts into computers that was accomplished with technical assistance from CDAC (Centre for Development of Advanced Computers) of the Government of India.
Over 550 publications in Tibetan, Hindi and English languages on various aspects of Tibetan and Buddhist studies have already been published. Scholarly periodicals like The Tibet Journal (English), Tam-Tsog (Tibetan), Bhotvani (Hindi), Tsenrig Dudeb (Tibetan) and other series have been published consistently.
In recognition of its activities and services the LTWA was recognised as Centre for Tibetan Studies by Himachal Pradesh University, Govt. of H.P. in 1991. Five years later the Assembly of Tibetan Peoples’ Deputies (Tibetan Parliament in Exile) accorded the LTWA the combined and exclusive status of National Library, National Museum and National Archives. In 2006, the National Manuscripts Mission, an initiative of the Government of India, appointed the LTWA as one of the National Manuscript Resource Centres.
In trying to fulfill its objectives the LTWA’s priorities include:
- Acquiring and preserving Tibetan books and manuscripts, artifacts and works of art.
- Providing access to books, manuscripts and reference works (in Tibetan and foreign languages) in study areas within the premises.
- Compiling bibliographies and documentation of library holdings and related literature available worldwide.
- Providing copies and prints of library holdings, and acting as a reference centre for such source materials.
- Publishing books and manuscripts under the LTWA label.
- Supporting research and study of the Tibetan language classical and modern culture, and the traditional arts and crafts.
There are nine departments in LTWA working closely towards the realization of its aims and objectives. The departments are:
- Tibetan and Manuscripts Library
- Foreign Language Reference Library
- Audio-visual Archive
- Research & Translation Department
- Cultural Research & Publication Department
- Oral History Department
- Science Department
For further information, please visit www.tibetanlibrary.org