News from the Zikhang Library at Merigar

The traditional Tibetan Pecha format. Photo by Magda Zych

Since last autumn, the Zikhang Library at Merigar has been funded by the UBI (Unione Buddhista Italiana) as part of the “Working with the Words and Texts of Master Chögyal Namkhai Norbu and of Tibetan Buddhism” project. The objectives of the project in the library sector are different. First of all, the project involves the identification, scanning and indexing of the unique and rare material in the Tibetan section: it started with the collection of Changchub Dorje’s texts, already scanned, but where it was necessary to check the completeness of the images and the indexes which need a technical update of the non-unicode fonts used previously and a subsequent verification. We will then proceed with the collection of manuscripts, for now only partially documented, with the creation of the indexes and the complete scan of the volumes. This work will offer greater accessibility and searchability of the texts contained in the volumes, limit direct consultation of the original documents so as to avoid wear and tear and better conservation, and will lead to the preservation of the contents also in digital format.

news zikhang libraryTo give greater visibility to the Library, the project also foresees the start of the organization and cataloging of texts on Tibet and Buddhism in Italian, English and other languages, with the purchase of new shelves to facilitate access and consultation in the reading room, and the creation of a special station for consulting the catalog. In this sense, we have also started entering the Grosseto Library Hub (Polo Bibliotecario Grossetano): the catalog of texts in Italian and English will soon be available on the Maremma Libraries website and will allow us to enter the interlibrary exchange circuit.

news zikhang libraryThe third aspect of the project concerns the organization of events and visits for the promotion of the patrimony of the books and for the dissemination of Tibetan fields of knowledge. The visit to the library has long been an integral part of the “Welcome to Merigar” guided tour, and even for occasional visitors it is possible to have a guided visit to the Library’s Tibetan collection: during these visits visitors receive explanations on the traditional format of Tibetan texts, on their printing, and on the various scriptures in use for both texts and decorations. In recent years, many schools in central Italy have requested to visit the Library and we have also organized small Tibetan writing exercises for children and teenagers. These aspects will be further implemented; we will also continue the  “Library Talks” events also proposing film and documentary screenings on Tibet, Buddhism, and much more, as well as hosting courses on Tibetan language and traditional sciences.

The reading room is open for consultation and loans, with the possible request for online and onsite bibliographic research. For information and timetables write to library@dzogchen.it

Library Talks

news zikhang libraryCreated as an opportunity to spread knowledge, promote reading, raise awareness of the Library and its treasures and also raise some funds that help us keep the library and its services open, the “Library Talks” event has become the container of various cultural events that Merigar offers in the area. The program started in 2018, then continued in 2019 and we are planning the 2020 program.

news zikhang libraryIn 2019, many conferences were organized not only in the Library, but also in Arcidosso, the Council Chamber and the Conference Hall of the Castle. The themes were quite different, often related to Tibet and Buddhism, but not only: for example, this year we had a story about David Lazzaretti, a show of Indian classical dance, creative writing meetings and insights on recycling. You can find last year’s program here: https://www.merigar.it/it/corsi-e-eventi/racconti-in-biblioteca-e-oltre/

news zikhang libraryWe would like to thank those who in 2019 offered their knowledge, in order of appearance: Fabio Risolo, Gino Vitiello, Elio Guarisco, Steve Landsberg, the dance company Natanavedica East / West Performing Arts directed by Maresa Moglia, Fabian Sanders, Iacobella Gaetani, Lobsang Zatul, Anna Scattigno, Cristiana del Falco, Michael Katz and Aldo Ferretti. We look forward to your participation in future events!
For information and to offer your participation, write to library@dzogchen.it

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