Background History

The National Library of Bhutan was established in 1967 under the patronage of Her Majesty Queen Ashi Phuntsho Choden (1911-2003), with a small collection of precious texts. The library was initially housed within the central tower (utse) of Trashichhodzong

Later, due to its growing collection, it had been moved to a building in the Changangkha area of Thimphu.

Realizing the need for a permanent and suitable building to hold the sacred religious texts in the collection, the then Home Minister, Lyonpo Tamzhing Jagar, initiated the construction of the present four-storeyed eight-cornered traditional building designed in the form reminiscent of the central tower temple of a Bhutanese Dzong.

This building, which now houses the collection of traditional texts, was consecrated as a lhakhang or temple in order to provide a spiritually appropriate environment for these religious books which form the bulk of the collection. The inauguration and consecration ceremony of this new National Library building was held on November 23, 1984. H.E. Lyonpo Sangye Penjor, then Minister for Communications and Tourism, inaugurated the building, and the consecration ceremony was performed by H.H. Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche.

The cost of the construction of this building – some Nu.3 million – was borne entirely by the Royal Government of Bhutan (i.e. without any foreign aid).

After completion of the building, the library finally moved to its permanent home at the end of 1984 under the auspices of the then Special Commission for Cultural Affairs.