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Religion Collections in Libraries and Archives: Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia

University of Virginia Library: Tibetan Collection

Introductory Information

University of Virginia Library: Tibetan Collection External

Address: Main Library, Charlottesville, VA 22903-1431

Telephone number: 434-924-4981

Contact information

Online catalog External

Digital Collections link External

Access Policies

Hours of service: Monday-Friday 9:00am-5pm and by appointment

Open to the public: Yes, by appointment

Interlibrary loan: Yes

Reference policy External

Background note: External
The Tibetan Collection at the University of Virginia is one of the most complete collections in the world. The collection serves to support a world-renowned teaching and research program in Tibetan Buddhism in the Religious Studies Department at the masters and doctoral level.


Books and monographs
3,000 pecha volumes containing approximately 8,000 titles of texts. The pecha represent about 40% of the Tibetan collection. They are in the format of single sheets, block printed on both sides of various qualities of paper, some bound, but most unbound. Another 40% are relatively uniform-size reprints of these pecha, bound as codexes. The remaining 20% are in Western book format. In addition there are a large number of secondary materials on Tibet in the Main Library stacks.

Most of the materials in the Tibetan collection are in the Tibetan language and script. Since nearly all of it was published in India, Bhutan, and Nepal, with extremely small press runs, this material is virtually irreplaceable, out of print, and unique.

The Tibetan materials cover a full range of subjects of Tibetan literature, consisting primarily of books on the many forms of Tibetan religion, mostly Buddhism. Other subjects include Tibetan language, Sanskrit language, and the principles of Tibetan Buddhist art and iconography.

Most of the materials in the Tibetan pecha volumes and other Tibetan materials are listed in VIRGO, the University of Virginia's online catalog system. External

A Tibetan Reference Room provides several reference tools to aid in the identification of texts and other information. These tools consist of dictionaries, encyclopedias, guides, catalogs, bibliographies, tables of contents (dkar chags), and other search and reference tools.

Databases and/or electronic resources
Buddhism Studies Databases External
Buddhist Digital Resource Center External - Thousands of Tibetan texts collected by Buddhist Digital Resource Center on 18 hard drives. The collection is growing.

Digital collections External

Subject Headings

Buddhism; Tibetan Buddhism; Tibetan Buddhist art and iconography; Tibetan literature