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Tibetan Collection: Asian Collections at the Library of Congress

The Tibetan collection at the Library of Congress contains thousands of books, periodicals, rare materials, and much more. This guide provides an overview of these items, digital collections, electronic resources, and search strategies.


Brass-colored Dharma wheel with Tibetan writing and green brocade in Asian Reading Room.” loading=
Tibetan Dharma Wheel. Berkeley, California: Tarthang Tulku Rinpoche, 1997. Tibetan Collection. Library of Congress Asian Division.

The Asian Division’s Tibetan collection is representative of the entire corpus of Tibetan literature from the 8th century to the present: Buddhist and Bon-po philosophical texts and their commentaries, history, biography, traditional medicine, astrology, iconography, musical notations, the collected works of over 200 major Tibetan authors, bibliographies, traditional grammars and linguistic sciences, modern science, social sciences and modern literature.

This guide offers detailed information on the Tibetan collection’s books, newspapers and periodicals, manuscripts and rare books, digital collections, and other diverse resources available in the Asian Reading Room of the Library of Congress. Other relevant materials on Tibetan studies are located in the Library's over 20 reading rooms and research centers that provide space and guidance for users to interact with additional items based on subject (e.g., law) or format (e.g., maps, photographs).

On the right, you will see a photograph of the Asian Reading Room’s Tibetan Dharma Wheel, which was received as a gift in 1997. It contains 208 repetitions of 42 Tibetan texts, electronically typeset on 1,053 sheets of paper. In the Tibetan tradition, originating more than 2,000 years ago, placing texts inside such a wheel is considered an act of veneration and respect for the written word and a means of preserving Tibet's rich literary heritage in everyday life.

For specific questions or assistance using the Library’s resources, use the Ask a Librarian service to contact a reference librarian.

About the Asian Division

The Asian Reading Room provides public access to more than 4 million items in approximately 200 languages and dialects from across Asia, including Bengali, Chinese, Hindi, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Mongolian, Thai, Tibetan, Urdu, Vietnamese, and many others. In the reading room, researchers can use the Asian Division’s collections of printed materials, microform, and databases and confer with reference librarians to answer research questions about the countries of East, South, and Southeast Asia.