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University of Toronto and Columbia University libraries launch Tibetan Studies partnership

Saturday, January 26, 2013
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Report by India Education bureau, Toronto: An international collaboration between the University of Toronto and Columbia University’s research libraries will harness existing expertise in Tibetan collection services at both universities to increase the availability of Tibetan resources to a wider community of scholars in both Canada and the United States.

The faculties and students of both institutions will benefit from the innovative service model created by the partnership, which provides for jointly sponsored acquisitions trips to enhance the Tibetan collections at both universities, and a shared point of service for research consultations. Working in cooperation with the Head of Collection Development for the University of Toronto Libraries, Caitlin Tillman, and the Acting Head of the Cheng Yu Tung East Asian Library, Hana Kim, Columbia University’s Tibetan Studies Librarian, Dr. Lauran Hartley, will lead the work of coordinating Tibetan-language acquisitions at Columbia and the University of Toronto in this new pilot project. She will also provide research-support services to University of Toronto faculty and students via e-mail, phone and video conferencing and will visit the University of Toronto annually.

“The agreement with Columbia University to further develop our research and teaching in this important region of the world positions the University of Toronto Libraries as Canada’s principal resource for knowledge about the Tibetan and wider Himalayan area,” Dr. Frances Garrett, Associate Professor of Tibetan and Buddhist Studies and Associate Chair of the Department for the Study of Religion at the University of Toronto, emphasized. “Moreover, with Toronto being home to one of the largest Tibetan communities outside Asia, the University’s strength in Tibetan Studies is important to local populations as well as to academic communities throughout the country.”

The University of Toronto is home to a growing cohort of faculty, graduate student and undergraduate researchers in Asian Studies. Its Tibetan Studies scholars have collectively been awarded over one million dollars in competitive research funding since 2003. “We are delighted to be given this opportunity to strengthen our Tibetan Studies collection in order to support our rapidly growing Tibetan Studies community at the University of Toronto and also serve scholars across Canada and throughout North America,” said Hana Kim, Acting Director of the Cheng Yu Tung East Asian Library.

The University of Toronto Libraries system is the largest academic library in Canada and is ranked third among peer institutions in North America, behind Harvard and Yale. The system consists of 44 libraries located on three university campuses. This array of college libraries, special collections, and specialized libraries and information centres supports the teaching and research requirements of 215 graduate programs, 63 professional programs, and 709 undergraduate degree programs. In addition to more than 12 million print volumes in 128 languages, the library system currently provides access to more than 238,000 serial titles, 1,500,000 electronic resources in various forms and over 28,000 linear metres of archival material. More than 100,000 new print volumes are acquired each year. The Libraries’ website is the gateway to its services and resources:
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