Funds Awarded for Full-time Tibetan Studies Librarian at Columbia's C. V. Starr East Asian Library

NEW YORK, January 3, 2006 - The C. V. Starr East Asian Library at Columbia University has received $250,000 to support a full time professional librarian position in Tibetan Studies.

The funds, from the bequest of Dr. Robert Yik-Fong Tam, a Hong Kong banking executive and a 1950 graduate of the Columbia Graduate School of Business, will provide four years of support for a full-time Tibetan Studies Librarian position at the Starr East Asian Library.

“The Starr Library already has one of the most extensive Tibetan collections in North America, with an extremely able staff,” said Amy Heinrich, Director of the Library. “A full-time Tibetan Studies Library position, however, will enable us to expand dramatically both our resources and access for users. The bequest is a most welcome building block for the collection.”

Columbia is a global leader in the field of Tibetan Studies and the Starr Library currently has a part-time Tibetan Studies Librarian. The full-time Tibetan Studies Librarian will help Columbia meet expanding academic interest in Indo-Tibetan religion and complement the appointment of a new Luce Professor in Modern Tibet. During the four years of funding from the Tam bequest, the Columbia Libraries will raise additional funds to make the full-time Tibetan Studies Librarian position a permanent source of leadership and direction for Columbia’s Tibetan Studies programs.

“The Tam bequest in support of the Tibetan Studies Librarian position will enable the Columbia Libraries to further develop the leading Tibetan academic library collection and service program in North America and to build new relationships with scholarly centers in Europe and Asia,” said James Neal, Vice President for Information Services and University Librarian.

Columbia is also one of the most distinguished academic institutions in the field of East Asian studies, with more than 70 faculty members working in this area. More than 20 percent of all undergraduates at Columbia and Barnard enroll in at least one course about East Asia. Students and scholars from all over the New York metropolitan area and the world have come to rely on the Starr Library for their research, and in the last decade, circulation of books at the Library has increased by 135 percent.

Columbia University Libraries is one of the top ten academic library systems in the nation, with 9.2 million volumes, over 65,650 serials, as well as extensive collections of electronic resources, manuscripts, rare books, microforms, and other nonprint formats. The collections and services are organized into 25 libraries, supporting specific academic or professional disciplines. Columbia Libraries employs more than 400 professional and support staff to assist faculty, students, and researchers in their academic endeavors. The Libraries’ website at is a gateway to its print and electronic collections and to its services.

The C. V. Starr East Asian Library is one of the major collections for the study of East Asia in the United States, with over 785,000 volumes of Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Tibetan, and Western language materials, as well as some holdings in Mongol and Manchu, and over 6,000 periodical titles. The collection, established in 1902, is particularly strong in Chinese history, literature, and social sciences; Japanese literature, history, and religion, particularly Buddhism; and Korean history.

01/03/06 ICL