In July 2000 Denmark signed an agreement with the RGoB to support
the National Archives to provide assistance for the construction
of a modern archive building. This two storied building, which
was completed in 2004 is equipped with a modern security and fire
alarm system as well as temperature and humidity control.
Our National Memory Bank
The repository rooms of the archives now house many importaint
documents including old records, old letters and around seven thousand
important photographs. The archives also hold microfilms of many
other important documents. Particuarly rare and important books
and manuscripts from the National Library collection are also kept
in the secure and controlled facilities of the Archives. Thus the
archives is the foundation of our National Memory Bank.
The National Archives solicits co-operation from all concerned
in its effort to create our National Memory Bank. We therefore
request individuals and instituions, inside and outside the country
holding important documents and other material related to Bhutan
which may be of interest to future generations, to provide copies
for our National Archives.
Microfilming Facility & Service
The National Library & Archives offers a free microfilming service
for institutions and individuals within Bhutan holding important
rare texts and documents. We actively encourage anyone holding
such documents to bring them to the library for microfilming in
order to ensure the long term preservation of the contents of these
documents should anything happen to the original. Upon microfilming
the original text or document will be returned to the provider
along with one microfilm copy, and one copy will be held in our
Archives in safe and secure controlled storage conditions.
Conservation & Preservation
The Archives primarily deals with paper documents. Paper is composed
of oganic materials which deteriorate with the passage of time.
Documents printed on modern paper often contain bleaches and other
chemicals which can speed up this deterioration. Similarly photographs
and film often contains chemical traces left over from processing
which can cause deterioration. Therefore, when documents or photographs
are selected for preservation it is important that they are treated
to nuetralize harmful these chemical residues.
Many old documents come to us in a fragile or damaged condition
and must be carefully conserved or strengthened to ensure their
long term preservation.
Legal Deposit Act
Since the passing of the Legal Deposit Act during the 77th session
of the National Assembly in 1999 the National Archives also stores
copies of material deposited under the provisions of that act.
Summary of the Legal Deposit Act
This is an Act to Collect, Preserve and Manage Bhutan's Documentary
Heritage. This Act extends to the entire Kingdom of Bhutan as
well as to all Bhutanese Citizens residing outside the country.
The National Assembly Members have passed the Legal Deposit Act
during the 77th session of the National Assembly.
Under this Act, publishers and producers of books, printed material,
and other materiel (including audio or visual material) are required
to deposit copies of their publication or production of any material
free of cost at the National Library and Archives within three
months of the date of publication or production.
Where materials are published by the government, or by government-owned
or related sectors and organizations they should deposit ten
copies of printed materials and five copies of non-printed materials
at the National Library and Archives.
Where the material is published by private organizations, companies,
non-government organizations, individual or private sector concerns
who undertake the production of materials for the purpose of
selling or free distribution they should deposit four copies
of printed material and two copies of non-printed materials at
the National Library and Archives.
"Printed materials" include books, newspaper, magazines, serials,
government publication, maps, charts, tables, drawings, graphic
arts, photographs, catalogues and posters produced by printing,
lithography, photography, xylograph, duplication or any other
"Non-printed materials" include educational cinema, tele-films,
documentaries, microfilms, and audio-visual recordings, electronic
media (computer software, CD-ROM), Braille and any other media
containing information. Under this Act, the National Library
has a provision for the publication exchange programs with national
and international organizations. So let us start this program
with our relationship to provide information resources for all
In the 10th five year plan the National Archives plans to carry
out a nation wide survey to determine where records of national
importance are located; and in what form, shape and condition
these records are being maintained. If such records are not being
taken care of properly we will endeavour to assist the owners
and custodians of these records to ensure their proper preservation.
We also plan to create special Oral History Tradition and Audio
Visual Unit to survey, create and maintain Oral History and Audio
Visual documentation for the nation.
To improve our service to the public and community, the National
Archives plans to develop outreach programs for schools, institutions,
scholars and the general public. This will include holding meetings,
exhibitions and semminars; visiting schools, TV and Radio broadcasts,
providing information through the press, as well as helping in
the developpment of reading materials and textbooks. We also
plan to make some of the interesting and important material held
in our National Archives available online.