News & Events
National Library & Archives News 2008-2012
Visit of Alak Zenkar Rinpoche
From left to right: Dr. Karma Phuntsho;
Alak Zenkar Rinpoche;
National Library Director, Harka B. Gurung.
Born in 1943 in Pal Lhagang, Sichuan, China, Tudeng Nima Rinpoche (Alak Zenkar Rinpoche) was recognised as the reincarnation
of Zenkar Rinpoche who was the second emanation of Do Khyentse Yeshe Dorje. He went to Dzogchen Monastery and Do Drupchen
Monastery to study and receive the Nyingma traditions; and went to Dzongsar Monastery to receive the precepts of the Sakya
traditions. He became the lineage holder of two different traditions.
Today, Zenkar Rinpoche is renowned as one of the world’s leading Himalayan/Tibetan Buddhist scholars. He has made an earnest
effort to save the Tibetan wisdom heritage by restoring, compiling, publishing, translating, and distributing Tibetan literature.
Presently, Rinpoche is the Director of the Paltseg Tibetan Rare Texts Research Centre, TBRC board member, visiting scholar at
the University of Virginia, and board member of the China Association for Preservation and Development of Tibetan Culture.
Being a bibliographer, library scientist and editor, Rinpoche has carried out massive rescuing of very rare and ancient Tibetan Buddhist texts on four Traditions.
Rinpoche has collected, catalogued, scanned, photoshopped, computerised and then published more than 40,000 volumes of Buddhist texts.
Each year, Rinpoche publishes more than 100 volumes of books.
His Eminence Rinpoche was kind to visit the National Library and Archives of Bhutan on 9 th May 2012 and share his experiences,
views, and expertise on library management and preservation
and promotion of culture.
Besides, sharing his insights in rescuing and management of literature and culture, Rinpoche was also generous enough to donate 10 volumes of ཆོས་མངོན་པ་བྱེ་བྲག་ཏུ་བཤད་པ་ཆེན་པོ།
(Explanation of the Specific Teachings of Abhidharma). He not only expressed his generous interest in sharing the resources and ideas
of his organization but also assured to donate all his publications to National Library & Archives in future.
Seminar on Reading
A one day seminar on Reading was held at the National Library and Archives of Bhutan, Thimphu on the 13 th March 2012.
Dr. N. Varaprasad and Ms Chan Choy Ping from the Singapore Bhutan Foundation spoke on “Promoting Reading and Its Benefits”
and on “How to Promote Reading Nationally”. Dr Varaprasad and his team are in the country for the duration of eight days
and will be giving a series of talks on various programs.
15 participants including teachers, librarians and academicians from the institutes in Thimphu attended the seminar.
Dr Varaprasad said that reading develops a child’s language skills and also extends the brain’s power and range of
thinking. He also gave a list of strategies on how to promote reading both at the national and community level.
“Determining a National Reading Week or month, initiating reading periods at schools, creating activities like story-telling, selecting
and distributing books cheaply, organizing reading clubs and reading competitions were some of the measures that were suggested by the
participants to inculcate the habit of reading in children.
The seminar ended with a discussion and mini-presentation by the participants on what they could do at their schools and
how to inculcate the habit of reading in children.
19th Conference of the Directors of National Libraries in Asia and Oceania (CDNLAO)
CDNL (Conference of Directors of National Libraries) is an independent association of chief executives of national libraries,
established to facilitate discussion and promote understanding and cooperation on matters of common interest worldwide.
The Conference of Directors of National Libraries in Asia and Oceania (CDNLAO) meets every year to discuss library issues
of common interest and to promote resource and information sharing within the Asia Pacific region. The Chief Executive or
Director of the national library of every country is a member of CDNL as of right.
The 19th CDNLAO was held in Korea from 17th to 18th May 2011 hosted by the National Library of Korea.
The Director, National Library & Archives of Bhutan participated in it and the theme of the conference was “Envisioning the Future:
The Role of National Libraries in the New Era”.
Indonesia is the venue for the next (20th) CDNLAO to be held at Bali from 27th to 29th May 2012 and the National Library
of Indonesia has extended formal invitation to all the concerned National Libraries.
Conference presentation on development of the National Archives
Felicity Shaw presented a paper entitled “Bhutan’s National Archives: Preserving the past, building the future”
at the Joint Conference of the Association for Asian Studies & International Convention of Asia Scholars held March
31-April 3, 2011 in Honolulu, Hawaii. The 25 minute presentation was supported by a 13-slide PowerPoint show providing
a quick visual introduction to the setting up of the Archives, current activities and plans for the future.
Mrs Shaw was also invited to give a talk to members of the Hawai’i Museums Association and Association
of Hawai’i Archivists, and used that opportunity to speak at greater length and also present an additional
30 PowerPoint slides prepared especially for the talk.
Felicity Shaw, a professional librarian now retired, has since the mid-1980s been engaged in research and writing on
library development in Bhutan, with presentations at international meetings. She has followed the evolution of the
National Library with particular interest and over the years has had published several papers chronicling different
aspects of its development.
Click HERE to view the slides prepared for the conference presentation
The National Library & Archives of Bhutan is deeply saddened to hear the news about the sudden death of E. Gene Smith
on 16thDecember, 2010. He is the foremost scholar who had saved largest collections of Tibetan books from disappearing into
oblivion and helped National Library of Bhutan during 1975 to 1985 to build the collection of Buddhist literature,
immensely benefiting the users.. We offer our heartfelt condolences to late Mr. Smith’s family. May he attain the state
Mr. Smith was born on 10th Aug, 1936, and had an advanced study in Sanskrit and Pali at Leiden University in the Netherlands.
He was the field director in the Library of Congress field office based in New Delhi; it was during that time that he visited
National & Archives of Bhutan.
In 1999 he founded the center, where he served as executive director until last year. The center houses nearly 25,000 books
dating from the 12th century. Besides containing many of the seminal texts of Tibetan Buddhism, the collection comprises
secular works on a range of topics. The center has begun to digitize its collection, making the texts accessible online.
Almost 14,000 volumes; more than seven million pages are available on its Web site, www.tbrc.org. National Library of
Bhutan is glad to receive a disk containing about 4,000 volumes of treasured religious texts stored in PDF format.
Harka Bahadur Gurung, formerly Chief Administrative Officer of the National Environment Commission Secretariat
was appointed as the Director of the National Library & Archives of Bhutan in accordance with the order declared by
the RCSC, with effect from 1st November, 2010.
The following appointments in the National Library & Archives of Bhutan have been made in accordance with the order
declared by the RCSC;
Dr. Yonten Dargye, formerly Dy. Chief Research Officer, National Library & Archives་, has now been appointed as Chief
Research Officer, w.e.f. 1 st November, 2010.
kungzang Delek, formerly Dy. Chief Archivist, National Library & Archives, has now been appointed as Chief Archivist,
w.e.f. 15 th October, 2010.
Simple Ceremony Marking the Closing of Twinning Project at the National Library & Archives of Bhutan
The Twinning project between the National Library of Bhutan and the Royal Library of Denmark was formally closed
on 11th October, 2010 in a simple ceremony held at the National Library of Bhutan. The ceremony was graced by the Vice Chancellor,
Royal University of Bhutan, the Director General, Department of Culture, the Representative Co-ordinator, Liaison of Denmark, two project consultants
Prof. P.K Soerensen and Ms Anne Burchardi, heads of the divisions under the Ministry of Home and Cultural Affairs and Department of Culture,
and the staff members of the National Library.
The project period spanning almost 14 years (from 1996 – 2010) had achieved a number of milestones with the last phase
coming to an end. Speaking to the audience, the Director General of Culture said that, over the period of 14 years of
the Danish Project, the National Library was able to achieve many things, the most important being data inputting of the
entire collections of the National Library, and he expressed his gratitude to the Royal Library for its generous support.
He also pointed out that the National Library still needs support in building knowledge resources and enhancing service
delivery through further collaboration with external agency.
Highlighting his personal experience as a project consultant over many years, Prof. P.K. Soerensen said that the National
Library has come a long way in fulfilling its objectives and goals under the project. He made special mention of how the
project was initially launched and how the working atmosphere picked up slowly but steadily, and of the success of the entire
phases of the project due to the cooperation and support given by the staff members of the National Library.
Dr. Yonten Dargye, Project Manager, presented a brief report on the entire phases of the project, touching upon the
• Cataloging and Classification
• Research and Exchange of Researchers
• Documentation and digitization
• Up-gradation of ICT infrastructure
• Procurement of Equipment
• Library book shelves and Flooring
• Publication and dissemination
• Regional Study Tours and Training
• Participation in international conferences/workshops/meetings
• Acquisition of texts/reference materials
He reported that the project had made a landmark achievement in institutional strengthening and capacity enhancement of the National Library of Bhutan.
Ms. Anne Burchardi presented a brief report on the planned future collaboration between the Royal University of Bhutan,
the National Library of Bhutan and the Royal Library of Denmark and formation of a consortium for setting up a
University Library Function System (ULFS).
The ceremony was ended with a dinner and light cultural programme showcased by the Royal Academy of Performing Arts.
Visit of Nepalese Prime Minister, Madhav Kumar Nepal
From left to right: National Library Director, Gyonpo Tshering;
Nepalese Prime Minister, Madhav Kumar Nepal;
Home Minister, Minjur Dorji;
Archivist, Kunzang Delek
The Prime Minister of Nepal, Madhav Kumar Nepal visited the National Library & Archives on April 29, 2010, while in Thimphu for the 16thSAARC summit.
It was a great pleasure to receive the Honourable Prime Minister, and we were honoured that he took time out from his busy schedule to call on us.
Mr. Madhav Kumar Nepal is from the Rautahat district of southern Nepal. He graduated from Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu
in 1973 and worked in banking and the civil service before turning to full-time politics. He became the Prime Minister of
Nepal on May 25, 2009.
Gift of books
The government of India has gifted more than 100 books worth about Nu. 47, 000 to the National Library & Archives of Bhutan .
India Ambassador to Bhutan, His excellency Pavan K. Verma formally presented the gift to Lyonpo Minjur Dorji,
Minister of Home and Cultural Affairs during the simple formal handing over ceremony held at the National Library & Archives
on 8th February, 2010.
The books, worth about Nu.47, 000, are mostly on Buddhism and related to Buddhist philosophy. During the ceremony,
Ambassdor Pravan K. Verma said that a National Library is a place where a nation’s culture is preserved and they feel
honoured to be making this modest contribution towards preservation of cultural heritage.
In his closing speech Lyonpo Minjur Dorji thanked the Government of India, and said that the books would not
only help to realize the Ministry’s objectives in collection development and enhancement of library holding,
but also immensely benefit students, scholars, teachers, authors and journalists coming to use the collection.
The Minister also mentioned the importance of the mission of the National Library, and their hope of building a modern
visit of Dr. H.K. Kaul, Director of DELNET
Dr. H.K.Kaul, Director of DELNET and Library Specialist was in Bhutan at the invitation of the National Library & Archives of Bhutan
from 20th to 27th November, 2009. Dr. Kaul was here in connection with the proposal of the construction of modern library at the NL.
He shared his profound wisdom on the modern library concept with NL staff. He will be preparing a complete report on modern
library physical structure and infrastructure, and also on three regional branch libraries to be submitted to the Indian
Embassy in Thimphu.
During his stay, he also delivered a talk on the Networking Knowledge: The Role of National Library. In his presentation,
he shared his ideas in the field of library development, professional manpower, accessing networked digital resources,
emerging digital resources. The presentation was attended by the librarians from the various institutions.
The National Library & Archives of Bhutan in collaboration with The Royal Library, Denmark a Trainers’ Training on
Preservation/Conservation Workshop has been organised for six working days from October 21-28, 2009 at the National Library
& Archives with the help of Two Scandinavian Consultants (Mr. Jonas Palm, Head of the Division of Preservation, National
Archives of Sweden and Ms. Birgit Vinther Hansen, Senior Conservator, Royal Library Denmark). The two preservation experts
had been helping the National Library & Archives to run two previous workshops focusing on deterioration, damage assessment,
conservation, environment and preservation in June 2005 and September 2007, and this is the concluding one in series of three.
The aim of this Training Workshop is to get the National Archive staff and other Bhutanese participants to form a nucleus of
preservation knowledge – a creative environment for preservation issues – and to train them to implement their knowledge as
consultants for preserving the Bhutanese documentary heritage – as found in Dzongs, Lhakangs Goendeys, Cultural Institutions and
in other different record keeping/creating agencies around the country.
The Training Workshop has been attended by Monks, Conservators and Preservation Administrators.
Lopon Pemala pass away
Lopon Pemala, 83 years old passed away at 11 pm on February 27, 2009 at Nimalung. He was the second Director of National
Libary, more information on his history. Please visit the Link: Lopon Pemala
Can get more information from Kuenselonline: Kuenselonline
Gift of 300-hour Chham Archive
The Honolulu Academy of Arts (HAA) has gifted a video archive of over 300 hours of high-definition footage
on chham (Buddhist ritual dances) to the Royal Government of Bhutan. The formal presentation was made at
the National Library on 25 th December, 2008, by Mr Gerard Houghton, officially representing the Academy.
The documentation, consisting of footage from about 20 tsechhus, was done between 2004 and 2007 by Core of Culture
of the HAA, Hawaii, a non-profit US organisation, under the name “The Dragon’s Gift Exhibition Project.” The Core of
Culture team was assisted in its work by well known local filmmaker, Karma Tshering, who besides providing liaison and
interpretation services also acted as a camera operator for the project. Mr. Houghton, the Technology Director for the
project, designed a custom-built database for capturing all the dances and movement traditions filmed during a three-year
period of original fieldwork in Bhutan.This database brings the significance of chham to light.
Apart from the actual archive, the major components of the gift comprise a specially designed viewing station, to be
housed in the National Library Archives, enabling the complete set of dances to be accessed and studied in greater
depth by dance researchers and interested parties; and two complete sets of camera equipment to continue and expand
documentation of dances in the Bhutan Dance Access (BDA) database archive.
Mr. Gerard Houghton formally presented the gift to Dorjee Tshering, Director of the Department of Culture, in the
presence of the Secretary of Home & Cultural Affairs, Dasho Penden Wangchuk and officials from the Department of Culture.
Visit by the Director of Lumbini International Research Institute
Dr. Christoph Cuppers, Director of the Lumbini International Research Institute (LIRI) in Lumbini, Nepal visited
the National Library & Archives of Bhutan on 20th September,
2008 to discuss on the possibility of research collaboration between the National Library
and the Lumbini International Research Institute, as well as exchange of librarians and data.
Dr. Cuppers was formerly director of the Nepal Research Centre (NRC) and head of the Nepal-German Manuscript
reservation Project (NGMPP). A renowned scholar in Tibetology and Buddhology, his area of special interest is the 5th Dalai Lama and the Ganden
On the 11th August 2008, corresponding to the 10th day of the 7th month
of the Bhutanese Calendar, a simple ceremony to mark the handing over of the charge of the National
Library & Archives was held at the National Library & Archives of Bhutan.
In the ceremony, the former Director, Dorjee Tshering formally handed over responsibility to a newly
appointed Director, Gyonpo Tshering in the presence of the Hon’ble Chief Election Commissioner,
the Secretary of the Ministry of Labour & Human Resources, the Director of the Centre of Bhutan Studies
and officials from various Ministries and agencies.
Workshop on Digital Library
A two day workshop, “Digital Library and How to Use the TBRC Resource” was held at the National Library
conference hall on July 16-17. The workshop was organised by Mr Jeff Wallman, Director of Technology at the
Tibetan Buddhist Resource Center, New York, who was visiting Bhutan at the invitation of the National Library
and Archives. Workshop participants included both National Library staff and representatives from the Royal
Institute of Management, the Dzongkha Development Commission, Thimphu Public Library, the National Assembly
and the Central Monastic Body
Mr Wallman has been working at TBRC since 2002, maintaining its website and databases and regulating the IT section,
helping to facilitate through technology the preservation of the vast richness of the Tibetan literary and religious
TBRC have lot of collection of chokey text, Mr Wallman has presented a hard disk containing about 4,000 volumes of
treasured religious texts stored in PDF format. The data can be downloaded for browsing and the texts can also be
printed out. For further information about TBRC visit the web link www.tbrc.org.
Gyonpo Tshering Appointed as Chief Librarian
On 1st July,2008, Gyonpo Tshering, the Chief Research Officer of the Research and Media Division
under Department of Culture, has now been appointed as Chief Librarian /Director of the National
Library& Archives of Bhutan in accordance with the order declared by the RCSC.
Ever since the transfer of former Director Dorjee Tshering, to the Department of Culture, MOHCA, on September, 2007.
Gyonpo Tshering has been looking after the National Library & Archives as the Officiating Director for interim period.
NLB Website Relaunched
On the occasion of HM the King Jigme Khesar Namgyal Wangchuck’s birthday, 21st February, 2008,
the National Library and Archives of Bhutan relaunched this completly updated and expanded web site. The relaunching
ceremony was presided over by Ven. Minyak R. Tulku Rinpoche, former director of the National Library and it
was attended by senior government officials from the Ministry of Home and Cultural Affairs and the Department of Culture.
As a part of the DANIDA sponsored Library Twinning Project to strengthern IT capacity of the Library the website has
been completely re-designed, updated and expanded. In particular almost all content is now in our national language
as well as in English. At present this is the only website in Bhutan in which almost all content is available in both
Dzongkha and English.
The NLB website is intended to introduce people inside and outside of Bhutan to the facilities and collections of the
National Library; and to make our catalogue,
and eventually some of our collections, available online. In addition this website provides a gateway to learning resources
and other libraries around
the world for our citizens and a window on Bhutan for the world. We hope this goes some way towards fulfilling our mission
of preserving Bhutan's rich literary and archival heritage and making it available to the nation and the world at large.
Thangkha Conservation workshop.
Under the auspices of the Department of Culture, Ms. Ann Shaftel has been conducting a practical workshop
in our new building to train nine nuns in thangkha conservation and preservation.
Ms. Shaftel who is based in Halifax,
Canada has 37 years of experience as a consultant and conservator for museum and monastic collections.
The idea of training nuns for the project was that of the former home minister, Jigme Y. Thinley, who met
Ms. Shaftel in Halifax, Canada, during the international conference on Gross National Happiness held there in 2006.
The nuns who came from nunneries in different parts of the kingdom are particularly suited to this work as they
have great respect for the thankgkhas and are particularly capable of delicately exercising the tremendous care,
discipline and patience required for this work.
On Feburary 14th a small exhibition of conservation work by the students was held and certificates
presented by Ven. Minyak R. Tulku Rinpoche.
The conservation workshop was made possible by the Ministry of Home & Cultural Affairs working
in partnership with Friends of Bhutan’s Culture,
based in Bellevue, Washington,with funding from the