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Religion Collections in Libraries and Archives:
A Guide to Resources in Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia

Table of Contents - Preface/Acknowledgements - Abbreviations
Lists of Entries: District of Columbia - Maryland - Virginia

University of Virginia
Tibetan Collection

Address: Alderman Library
Charlottesville, VA 22903-1431
Telephone Number: (804) 924-4987
(804) 924-4981
Fax Number: (804) 924-1431
Contact Persons: Philip F. McEldowney, South Asia and Middle East Specialist
Nawang Thokmey, Tibetan Library Assistant
Internet Catalog Address: Telnet to, login as virgo, terminal type vt100; or
follow link from the Library's homepage

Access Policies

Hours of Service:
Monday--Friday 8:30 a.m.--12:30 p.m.
Open to the public: Yes, appointments strongly encouraged.
Photocopying:: Yes
Interlibrary loan: No

Please call ahead, both for hours and for an appointment.

Reference Policy:
Telephone, e-mail, and mail reference questions are accepted. Only short, easily answered, questions are accepted by telephone. Longer, more complicated, questions should be sent by e-mail or mail.

Borrowing Privileges:
Borrowing privileges are for students and staff of the University and residents of Virginia with a borrowing card. Virginia residents should bring in a photo identification card if they wish to borrow from the Library.

OCLC. Cataloged Tibetan holdings are found on OCLC.

Background Note:
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.
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Description of Collections

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 Alderman 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.

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.

Subject Headings

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

To contact the institution described in this entry, please use the contact information at the top of this page.
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  The Library of Congress >> Researchers
  September 13, 2011
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