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Collections

General Collection

The library's main collection comprises primarily recent publications on Tibetan culture, society, history, and literature from around the world and in four major languages: Tibetan, Chinese, English, and Dzongkha. Our collection focuses on contemporary materials, but the library also has classical literature, histories, and pioneering works of Tibetan studies by earlier scholars. In the general collection you will find:

  • Catalogs, bibliographies, and indexes;
  • Social science materials including statistics, reports, and surveys;
  • Language texts and learning aids for Tibetan language;
  • Tibetan medicine resources and almanacs;
  • Resources on art, photography, and decorative arts;
  • Classical and contemporary literature and literary theory;
  • School textbooks in Tibetan and Dzongkha;
  • Histories and biographies;
  • Juvenile literature and learning tools for children in Tibetan and Dzongkha;
  • Atlases, maps, gazetteers, local histories, annuals, and travel books;
  • Dictionaries, encyclopedias, and glossaries;
  • Government documents and publications.
Rare Books & Resources

Latse Library has a notable collection of rare, out-of-print books, as well as unpublished manuscripts and writings. Special items include:

  • Early dictionaries including the Geshe Chödrak Dictionary (དགེ་བཤེས་ཆོས་གྲགས་པའི་བརྡ་དག་མིང་ཚིག་གསལ་བ།), the first Tibetan woodblock print book in a Western format, and glossaries from the 1950s;
  • Early Chinese Communist Party and PRC government publications in the Tibetan language on government policy, ideology, and political systems;
  • Over one hundred master’s-degree theses in Tibetan from academic institutions in the PRC;
  • Thousands of photos, slides, and digital images documenting culture and society from the early twentieth century to the present;
  • Calligraphy samples, contemporary paintings and prints, posters, pamphlets, and postcards.

Please visit our Special Collections page to learn more about our rarer materials.

Pecha & Religious Studies

The library has a special collection of pecha, traditionally formatted Tibetan books, along with Western-format religious texts and recent scholarly works on the subject of religion. Notable holdings include:

  • Pecha of woodblock prints, including rare texts from monasteries in Amdo;
  • Religious histories, monastic histories, and biographies;
  • Sungbum (གསུང་འབུམ།) / collected works;
  • The Derge edition of the Kangyur and Tengyur and the Comparative Edition of the Kangyur and Tengyur.
Multimedia

Latse Library has the largest collection of Tibetan audio-visual materials in the world. The library has several thousand items of audio-visual materials from Tibet, India, Ladakh, Bhutan, and beyond. We have comprehensive holdings in both traditional and contemporary music, film, television, dance, cultural events, and more. Visitors can browse and access materials in our audio-visual room.

Periodicals

The library's periodicals collection comprises a wide and unique variety of publications. Our holdings of over 200 different titles from around the world feature:

  • Research, literary, folk art, and cultural journals;
  • Zines and journals produced by monasteries, student groups, and private individuals;
  • The complete run of Red Flag (དར་དམར།), the only Tibetan-language periodical published during the Cultural Revolution;
  • Rare issues of Nationalities Pictorial (མི་དམངས་བརྙན་པར།) and People's Pictorial (མི་རིགས་བརྙན་པར།) from the 1950s and '60s;
  • Newspapers and other political journals;
  • Tibet Daily and Qinghai Daily on microfiche.
The Geshe Nornang Collection

In 2010, Geshe Nornang of Seattle, Washington, donated a large portion of his personal collection of texts and resources to Latse Library. Geshe Nornang’s donation reflects a lifetime of teaching and research, as well as strong ties to the Tibetan and Tibetan studies communities. In addition to books, journals, offprints, and pamphlets in Tibetan, English, and Chinese, there is a fascinating variety of other materials, including book manuscripts and drafts, film reels, and newspaper clippings about Tibet from western newspapers from the 1950s on, and decades-worth of highly detailed class notes. The collection also includes dozens of phonograph records of recorded Tibetan conversation that formed the basis of his Modern Spoken Tibetan. An avid advocate of traditional Tibetan music, the collection also includes numerous songbooks and sheets of musical notation.

The Taktser Rinpoche Collection

In 2009, Latse Library received the personal library and papers of Taktser Rinpoche Thubten Jigme Norbu as a donation by his widow Kunchok Yangkyi. Among the mainly Tibetan and English books are some rare, out-of-print volumes and unpublished manuscripts. The collection also includes photos, slides, film reels, and negatives, which provide valuable insight into Taktser Rinpoche’s public, personal, and family lives. The materials also serve as important documentation to the experiences of the Tibetan government and Tibetan society in recent modern history. There are also quite a number of manuscripts and correspondence.