are always warmly welcome -

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Institute Kern Library is in danger of losing its independent location and its unique facilities


Instituut Kern, Postbus 9515, 2300 RA Leiden, The Netherlands.
Accountnr: ABN/AMRO, Vereniging Instituut Kern, Houten.
Secretariat: Alied de Cock/Victor van Bijlert, e-mail:

This is an urgent appeal for your help

Leiden, July 23, 2008

To colleagues, library visitors and friends of the Kern Institute,

The Leiden University’s Faculty of Arts is presently carrying out a major reorganization
of its Department of Asian Studies. The plan proposes a system in which the various
schools (e.g. South Asia or Tibet) will be replaced by an Institute of Area Studies. In the new
concept India will be included as a regional area, but Indology and Tibetology will no
longer exist as an independent school for education and research.

As a result of this new concept the Institute Kern Library is in danger of losing its
independent location and its unique facilities. Many of you have made use of the
open-stacks while visiting the library. Since its foundation in 1925 this form of storage
has offered optimum accessibility to the almost unparalleled collection of books,
monographs and journals on ‘every’ aspect of South Asia. The Kern Institute also contains
important Tibetan block prints and Indian palm leaf manuscripts and rich collections of
archaeological and art historical photographs, slides, microfilms and microfiches.

These sources have always been available for integrated research to students and
scholars from all parts of the world. If the collection is placed under the jurisdiction
of the University Library, it will be stored in special vaults. Access will only be available
via application through a digital catalogue. This will make effective browsing practically
impossible and does exclude direct access to our wonderful special collections of
manuscripts, photographs, slides.

The association ‘Friends of the Kern Institute’ evolved from the original Kern Institute
founded by Prof. J.Ph. Vogel in 1925. The association has requested the University to
safeguard the uniqueness of the Kern Institute Library and its open-stacks policy, but so far
without lasting positive results.

We now turn to you for your support and urge you to send a letter, preferably before
August 15th, 2008 via
the Kern Institute Library. Either by post to Dept. of India and
Tibet, POB 9515, 2300 RA Leiden, The Netherlands. Or by e-mail, please on paper of
your organization and signed, to
The letter itself is to be addressed to: The Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Leiden University,
Prof. W. van den Doel, POB 9515, 2300 RA Leiden, The Netherlands.

In your letter please emphasize the importance of the Kern Institute Library as an
unique deposit of scholarship in the multidiscipline of Indology. Throughout the years
easy access and a helpful staff have served a multitude of international scholars. Help us
to keep this service available and this centre visible!

Thank you in advance for your support,


Ellen M. Raven
Chairman, Friends of the Kern Institute

Kern Institute

"The Kern Institute [] is the national centre of expertise for South Asia and the Himalayan region, more specifically India and Pakistan, Tibet and Nepal, Bangladesh and Bhutan, Sri Lanka and the Maldives. The institute houses the Department of Indian & Tibetan Studies of Leiden University, as well as an excellent library."