There has been a library at Amaravati since the beginning, forming an integral part of the monastery and providing a unique resource for residents and visitors. An important part of the early collection was donated by Christmas Humphreys, the library taking its name in his honour. The general ethos of the library reflects the nature of the monastery. As well as an extensive collection of books and materials on Buddhism and connected topics, there are books relating to religion and spiritual life from many traditions and disciplines. Most titles are in English, but there are significant numbers of Dhamma books in other languages. All the materials in the library have been donated or their purchase made possible through the generosity of countless people.
A Large Collection of Materials on Buddhism and Other Subjects
Our library currently contains approximately 16,000 items – books, magazines and other publications, even novels – on a wide variety of subjects, but predominantly on all traditions of Buddhism. We also have a wide selection of books in languages other than English (for example, French, Spanish, German, Thai and Chinese).
There is a traditional card index of all the holdings in the library. A long-term project to digitize the library records is just nearing completion, with the resulting electronic catalogue available for use on computers in the library. It is hoped that this resource will be available online in the near future.
Monastery residents and visitors can make use of the Dhamma Vault, an extensive repository of audio and video Dhamma materials accessible in the library only. Most of these materials can also be downloaded to your own devices. NB: the monastery library’s computers do not provide internet access.
Using the library and borrowing books
The library operates on an “open door policy”, that is, it is always open to everyone. Residents, guests and visitors to the monastery are welcome to use the library’s resources. Most books are available on loan, but you will be asked to register as a user before taking any books away. We do not operate a postal lending service or reserve books for loan.
We welcome donations of all kinds of books and other publications. Financial donations, tokens or book vouchers enable us to replace lost books and acquire new titles of interest, and to provide, replace or maintain equipment used in the library. There is also a wish-list of books, so please contact us if you might be interested in donating a particular title.
The library is managed by a resident volunteer librarian, with assistance from a team of part-time volunteers. If you want to give a helping hand in the library, you are most welcome. There is always plenty to do, so whether you can spare a few hours per week or come along more often, your help will always be appreciated. If you are interested, simply drop us a line … No previous experience is required.