Many of you are good friends of, or are at least familiar with Latse Library. Perhaps you have attended one of the many public programs, workshops, or classes we have held over the years. Or visited us with a particular research question, or to consult with one of the members of our staff. Or maybe it was simply to browse and read our books in a welcoming and quiet space. From our home here in the West Village of Manhattan, Latse Library, with comprehensive holdings, insightful and wide-ranging programs, projects, and publications, and an expert staff of scholars and library professionals, is a premier center for modern Tibetan studies unique in the world. Well-known and respected in Tibetan communities and academic circles alike, it has become known as a forum promoting and sharing the work and achievements of researchers, artists, and other cultural figures from both inside and outside Tibet.
Latse Library was established in 2003 as a cultural project of Trace Foundation, the only project to be based outside of Tibet. This past March we celebrated our 15th year anniversary. In our role as a library, we have been strongly committed to Tibetan language, education, and access to knowledge. This year, Latse Library is expanding its role, and reaffirming these commitments, as we transition into becoming
a public non-profit that will simply be known as “Latse.”
The new Latse will work for the vitality and continuity of Tibetan culture by promoting language and literacy, advancing knowledge and lifelong learning, and supporting creativity and engagement that enrich contemporary Tibetan life in its diverse pathways.
With a strong background as a library and a cultural center, and staying true to those services and ideals such institutions embody, the new Latse remains committed to providing increased and ready access to knowledge through creative and culturally-relevant educational tools, and new and dynamic ways of sharing resources. Through programs of scholarships and grants, Latse will be dedicated to promoting growth and sustainability of linguistic and cultural literacy by supporting and nurturing individuals and those ideas, projects, and innovations undertaken by Tibetans for the Tibetan community.
The new Latse team is nimble and diverse, and collectively represents insight and expertise from the worlds of language and literature, culture, development, and librarianship.
Latse will continue to maintain and make accessible its unique collections of books, periodicals, audio-visual, rare, and other resources at 132 Perry Street, both for in-person visits and through our website and social media.
We are looking forward to the path that lies ahead of us, and are excited in finding ways to work with our new mission, new friends and partners, and new activities. As a public non-profit, one of our biggest challenges will be in fundraising. However, we feel confident that old and future friends alike will share and engage with us in our vision and commitment, so that together we can flourish in service to the Tibetan community.
All of our achievements as Latse Library would not have been possible without the vision, commitment, and generosity of Trace Foundation’s founder and president Andrea Soros Colombel and Vice President Eric Colombel. You have been an example and an inspiration, and as the Foundation comes to a close, you have given us confidence and determination as we pursue an extraordinary opportunity to develop and grow on our own.
As the new Latse rearranges itself within a new, concentrated floor plan on the second floor of 132 Perry Street, we welcome a new neighbor upstairs, as the former Reading Room of the Library is now the beautiful new home of Here Now, a multidisciplinary space with the aim of encouraging public engagement, fostering creativity and promoting cultural exchange. Through programs, workshops, exhibits, and more, Here Now is a place where people, be they artists, crafters, thinkers, or the curious visitor, will inspire and in turn be inspired—a platform that will bring together skills and ideas, traditional and modern techniques, and different forms of expressions with the aim of building a dialogue that bridges together different art forms and the public.
Please stay tuned for updates and announcements as we develop our website and social media presence.
On behalf of the Latse Team - Pema Bhum, Tenzin Gelek, Ira Pedowitz, and myself - we look forward to sharing our journey with you!