Bhutan 2008

News & Events

National Library News 2008


December, 2008

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.


September, 2008

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 Phodrang Administration.



August, 2008

Handover Ceremony

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.



July, 2008

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 traditions.

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


July, 2008

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.


February, 2008

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 Dzongkha 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.


January-February, 2008

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 Getty Foundation.