You are here

About Latse

Since 2003, Latse Library has been the premiere research library dedicated to modern Tibetan studies.

Through its collection and activities, Latse Library fosters appreciation for the origins, breadth, and vitality of Tibetan culture. It is a venue for Tibetans, scholars, and other visitors from all over the world to deepen their knowledge, to exchange ideas, and to share and explore the many facets of contemporary Tibetan culture.

Latse Library makes available a unique collection of modern Tibetan studies resources comprised of up-to-date publications, multimedia, and other materials drawn from sources worldwide. The library has in excess of 10,000 books and an additional 10,000 journals, newspapers, and magazines, as well as a unique collection of non-print materials. Regular programs and public events at the library highlight the different aspects of the collection and shed light on the dynamic state of Tibetan culture today, as well as provide rare opportunities for face-to-face interaction among cultural leaders, scholars, and the general public. In addition, library publications, online resources, and a presence on social media facilitate ongoing research and serve the community virtually.

Services and Hours

Latse Library is free and open to the general public, no membership required. We are a non-lending library, but we offer comfortable reading and research facilities.
For those who are not able to visit the library in person, Latse Library provides reference service via phone, email, and mail.
Currently we are open by appointment only. To make an appointment or to consult with a librarian, please call 212-367-4890, or e-mail.

Why “Latse”?

Latse Library is committed to the representation of contemporary Tibet in its myriad forms, from everyday customs, to fine arts and philosophy, to education and scholarship. Our name “Latse” captures this focus and aim.

The Tibetan term latse (pronounced la-tsé) connotes a mountain peak or high place. The library seeks to represent the culture of the highest place on earth: Tibet.

Latse also refers to the custom of erecting latse, or ritual mounds of stones, prayer flags, and implements, on mountain passes and other high places. This custom is common to all Tibetan regions and is practiced by all Tibetans. The library collection covers the lands and culture marked by latse.

The practice of erecting latse differs from region to region. It is viewed as sacred by most Tibetans, but is more popular with lay people than with the clergy. Latse Library highlights the richness and diversity of Tibetan culture, with a focus on lay society.

Erecting latse is a custom that has been practiced uninterrupted since pre-Buddhist times until the present. Contemporary Tibetan culture is deeply rooted in the past. Through our focus on contemporary times, Latse celebrates the strength of Tibetan culture—past, present, and future.