In Buddhism, the dissemination of literature is a form of tham bun (literally: to do merit) in order to collect good karma for oneself or for others. Especially for the social sciences, these books are a rich source of information. Most of the volumes at Staatsbibliothek date from the years 1950 to 2015.
Please contact the East Asia Department if you wish to consult these books.
The Thai Royal Family is also of great importance for the modern Thai society. The Staatsbibliothek owns a collection of more than 250 publications on various topics concerning the Thai Royal Family. These include biographies, speeches, publications on state visits and travels of members of the Royal House, especially, King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who died in 2016, documentaries on his numerous royal projects throughout the country, and publications by the King on lifestyle and religion.
The Digital Library of Northern Thai Manuscripts is an important primary source for studying the traditional literature of Northern Thailand. It contains digitised copies of more than 6,000 manuscripts, ranging thematically from religious texts, chronicles, astrology, customary law, and grammar to poetry, jataka stories, epic tales, and folktales. They are written in the languages of Northern Thailand (Lan Na), Tai Khuen, Tai Lue, Lao, Shan, Burmese and Pali and in various scripts. [lannamanuscripts.net]
In 2004, Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin was able to expand its Thai holdings by purchasing the collection of Christian Velder, a Germanist and translator of Thai literature. This collection also includes a large number of palm leaf manuscripts and books in Cambodian.
Also of great value for the development of the Thai holdings was the acquisition of the collection of Josef Rohrer who lived and worked in Thailand after finishing his work at the Federal Language Office. He is known to the specialist world for his German-Thai dictionary.
In the Oriental and East Asia Reading Room in the library’s building at Potsdamer Platz, users will find, among other things, a large selection of Thai dictionaries and the encyclopedia of Thai culture, which comprises more than 60 volumes.
The manuscript collection contains about 200 manuscripts in Thai and about 100 manuscripts in languages of Northern Thailand.