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The Center for South Asia Libraries (CSAL) functions in the United States as a not-for-profit corporation composed of American academic member institutions and governed by an Executive Committee. The Executive Committee is composed of librarian representatives from member institutions, elected to office for periods of three years on a rotating basis; South Asian studies scholars elected for a period of three years by the member institutions; and a permanent member designated by the Center for Research Libraries.
Academic institutions become members of CSAL by payment of the annual membership fee. The Center for Research Libraries serves as a special permanent member of CSAL, without payment of annual dues. In South Asia, sister institutions become affiliated with CSAL at the invitation of the membership. Relations with the U.S. parent body are governed by memoranda of understanding between CSAL and the sister institutions.
The focus of activities by South Asian sister institutions varies based on mutually determined local needs and strengths of library resources in those South Asian locales. To date, CSAL maintains formal engagements with three research facilities operating in South Asia: the Roja Muthiah Research Library (Chennai), the Urdu Research Centre at the Sundarayya Vignana Kendram (Hyderabad), Urdu Documentation Centre (Hyderabad), and the Madan Puraskar Pustakalaya (Kathmandu). Further, there is a close working relationship with the Library of Congress Field Offices in New Delhi and Islamabad. For American scholars and students engaged in sponsored research and fieldwork in these cities, all three of these CSAL facilities provide full access to vast and unique local research collections, as well as research and logistical support including guesthouse accommodations, a strong network of local contacts, and research guidance.
The Center for South Asia Libraries' operations in South Asia also provides logistical and infrastructural support as needed for the other American overseas research centers in the region (most notably, American Institute of Indian Studies, American Institute of Pakistani Studies, American Institute for Sri Lankan Studies, American Institute of Bangladeshi Studies). Beyond the three existing CSAL facilities, agreements are now in preparation for similar arrangements with the Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta, and we are exploring a range of institutional settings and collaborations for expansion in Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh. A link has been established with the National Library of Bhutan and further connections there are being explored.

For more information on the Center for South Asia Libraries please contact:

David Magier   212-854-8046   magier@columbia.edu     |     James Nye   773-702-8430   jnye@midway.uchicago.edu

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