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Creating a Dynamic Community Space: Reflections on Organizing the Tibetan Mongolian Buddhist Cultural Center Library


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Presentation given by Brianna Marshall and Courtney Brombosz at the 2012 Indiana Library Federation Conference in Indianapolis, IN.

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Creating a Dynamic Community Space: Reflections on Organizing the Tibetan Mongolian Buddhist Cultural Center Library

  1. 1. CREATING A DYNAMICCOMMUNITY SPACE:Brianna Marshall and Courtney BromboszIndiana Library Federation Annual ConferenceNovember 13, 2012
  2. 2. FALL 2011
  3. 3. About the TMBCC• Founded by Thubten Jigme Norbu, brother of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet• Established ―to nurture and protect Tibetan Buddhist cultures inside and outside of Tibet and Mongolia and to protect and actualize non-violence, compassion, interfaith tolerance, and transparency‖• Annual events include a commemoration of Tibetan Uprising Day, Mongolian Nadam Festival, Tibetan Summer Camp, Mongolian Summer Camp, and Tibetan and Mongolian Art Exhibits• Current Director is Arjia Rinpoche
  4. 4. About the TMBCC108 acres in southeast Bloomington • Kumbum Chamtse Ling Monastery • Cultural Building (including library & gift shop) • Teaching pavilion • 4 retreat cottages • 2 private residences
  5. 5. • Weekly meditation and other teachings• Retreats• Visitors exploring• Kids playing basketball• Busy, vibrant community
  6. 6. Cultural Building• Open and unlocked during daylight hours• Gift shop staffed by a volunteer (sporadically)• Visitors sometimes staying in rooms upstairs• Various community events held here• Pervasive trust
  7. 7. • No discernible organization of the materials beyond basic grouping by format in some areas• No background on library’s purpose, origins, or how the community wanted the space to be used• Culturally & linguistically in over our head • Unfamiliar with titles like Rinpoche, Geshe, etc. • Many titles in languages other than English • Desire to be respectful in the space but unsure how to ensure this
  8. 8. • Catalog all materials in an Excel spreadsheet• Create a print listing of all TMBCC materials• Create a booklet of policies for use of materials• Organize materials meaningfully—by subject
  9. 9. • Lynn Svensson, our main contact at the TMBCC• Andrea Singer, soon-to-retire Tibetan Studies Librarian• Ralf Shaw, Dean of SLIS
  10. 10. WINTER / SPRING 2012
  11. 11. Sort books by subject and language • Sayonara Excel spreadsheet! • Seek out help from Tibetan, Mongolian, and Chinese speaking volunteers for assistance with categorizing those collectionsFoster community engagement with the library • Provide guidelines for use • Hold a ―re-opening‖ of the library for the TMBCC and Bloomington communities
  12. 12. FALL 2012
  13. 13. • Contact Jim Canary, Head Conservator at IU’s Lilly Library• Contact staff of TMBCC to gauge their thoughts and ideas
  14. 14. • September 9, 2012• Sent request for volunteers • TMBCC listserv • IU Department of Eurasian Studies • 12 respondents!
  15. 15. Language • English • Tibetan • Mongolian • Chinese • Others? We’re not sure.Subject • Religion/Spirituality • History/Culture • Language/Education • Miscellaneous • Children’s
  16. 16. • Language barrier• Willingness to follow our organizational system• Challenging to help them visualize our plan for the collection
  17. 17. Surprises in the collection• More languages than we thought! • Japanese • Sanskrit • German • Dutch• Many amusing books…
  18. 18. • What would happen if we weren’t there every week?• How will the library be used, and will the community contribute to its upkeep?• Was our hard work going to be part of a permanent solution for the space, or would it quickly become disorganized after all of our efforts?
  19. 19. November 3, 20121-1:45: Open house begins1:45-2: Arjia Rinpoche speaks2-3: Jim Canary discusses the Tibetan book3-4: Tea and snacks provided
  20. 20. • Represents the sincerity of one’s offering• Sign of recognition of one’s respect for another• Mantras woven into the fabric
  21. 21. • The art of papermaking • Outlawed in 1955 • The Conjurer • Indian language adapted to Tibetan language • Indian paper – palm leaf • Tibetan paper – made from root of poisonous Eastern plant (VERY acidic) • Each sheet needs its own mold
  22. 22. • Attendees: 20(ish)• Donations: $0• Technical difficulties: 1
  23. 23. FUTURE PLANS
  24. 24. • Finishing documentation• Finding a steward for the materials • SLIS student • Tibetan Studies student • TMBCC volunteer