Library History

History of the University of Yangon Library

The University of Yangon was established in 1920. At that time the library building had not yet been built. The University of Yangon Library was to be the first modern library building in Myanmar. It was designed by the British architect T.O. Foster. The Foundation Stone was laid on 8th December 1927 by Sir Hercourt Butler, the British Governor of Myanmar, who was (also the Chancellor of the University).

The cost of the library building was Rupees 333,000/-. The major donor was Rao Bahadur Sithamlera Reddier, L.L.D who donated Rupees 200,000/- with the remaining Rupees 130,000 for the building coming from the Fund Raising Committee. The Committee also provided a book fund of Rupees 30,000/-.

During the time of construction of the building, the Library temporarily opened in a room in the University College with a temporary clerk. The Honorary Librarian was B.R. Pearn, Professor of History.

The new design of the two-storey building was in the shape of the letter "L". It was built with four levels for the main stack room. Each level was built with perforated floors and had iron book racks. To get the best ventilation the main stack room was built with vertical windows and was provided with a silica gel pump machine to provide a means of reducing the humidity of the rooms where the books were stored. Other rooms like the processing room, reference room, offices, librarian's room and reading rooms were also provided in the two-storey main building. The building also includes a basement for storage.

In 1939, following the advice of Professor Webster, the air-conditioning system was installed to provide better ventilation. In those days, the University of Yangon Library building was well-known as the most modern library building in Southeast Asia.


In 1931, the building was finished and U Khin Zaw (pen-name K), B.A. (English Hons.) was selected to study Librarianship at the University of London. During his period of study abroad an Assistant Librarian was appointed to run the library but after his return, U Khin Zaw was appointed as the University Librarian. In 1938, U Thein Han (Pen-name Zaw Gyi and well-known poet) Tutor of the Department of Myanmar Language and Literature in University of Yangon, went to London and later to Dublin to study Librarianship. He obtained the postgraduate diploma in Librarianship from Dublin in 1940 and served as Librarian of University of Yangon. During the war from 1942 to 1945, University of Yangon was occupied by Japanese forces and used as a military hospital. U Khin Zaw joined the British Army and evacuated to India. In 1945, the library was dynamited by the Japanese Army to destroy their medical supplies, so the iron racks and library materials were also badly damaged.

After the war, U Thein Han (Saya Zaw Gyi) was again appointed as librarian of the university library. He rebuilt the library from its damaged state. Following the former objectives of the university, U Thein Han laid special emphasis on collecting documents related to research purposes. In 1949, U Than Htut (Pen-name Taik Soe) served as Assistant Librarian. He also studied Librarianship in England from 1947 to 1948. He was awarded an ALA (Associate of the Library Association) in 1951. His efforts greatly enriched the library collection. He was appointed as Officer-on-Special Duty for the newly established National Library of Myanmar. Later he became Director– General of the Culture Institute.

In 1959, U Thaw Kaung joined the University of Yangon Library as Deputy to U Thein Han. In 1962, he obtained the postgraduate diploma in Librarianship from the London University and also ALA from the Library Association of United Kingdom). In 1984, he was elected by the Association as an Honorary Fellow (FLA) for life, the highest honour of Library Association. In 1964, "the new education system" was introduced in Myanmar. Along with the new education system, the University of Yangon Library was re-organized as the Universities' Central Library as the central leading library for all academic libraries in Myanmar.

When U Thein Han retired from office, U Thaw Kaung became the Chief Librarian in 1969. From 1964 to 1980, there was no separate library building for the Universities' Central Library. In 1986, the University of Yangon Library was reopened in the old pre-war building. Daw Myint Myint Khin became the first Head Librarian of the re-organized University of Yangon Library.

Special attention was given to the collection of documents relating to and suitable for research and reference rather than documents related to teaching. Consequently, the library became famous for its various collections: documents concerned with Myanmar and neighboring countries as well as palm-leaf bundles, paper manuscripts, old printed materials, a few ink stone inscriptions; cultural and literary records and books on social, economic and political events relating to Southeast Asia.

Academic resources


1 Myanmar Books 36552 vols
2 English Books 63829
3 Myanmar Mass 188 bundles
4 Periodicals 76 titles
5 In English 32 titles
6 In Myanmar 44 titles

Library Membership

Number of Type Maximum Loan Period
No. Status No.of Card Myanmar English
1 Faculty member 5 2 weeks 4 weeks
2 PhD candidates 4 2 weeks 4 weeks
3 Students 3 2 weeks 4 weeks
4 Office Staff 2 2 weeks 4 weeks


Circulation Section

The Circulation Section is committed to serve library users by assisting with various functions related to the accessibility and circulation of library materials. The service involves circulation, retrieval, and re-shelving. It has two sections: Circulation 1: for Social Science subjects on the ground floor. Circulation 2: for Natural Science subjects on the first floor.

The library facilities of the University of Yangon Library are primarily for the use of students, researchers, faculty members, administrative officers, and staff of the University. The main aim is to support the teaching and research progarmmes of teaching staff, scholars, researchers and students.

Acquisition and Processing Section

Accessioning, cataloguing, classifying, filing and shelving are done by this section. It orders, receives, and pays for all material bought for the library's collections. This section also manages the gifts and donations given to the library. In addition to its routine, the section provides support in the areas of catalogue maintenance as well as authority control and support for changing academic needs. The section also offers timely and accurate access to library materials to users.

Computer service Section

The Library is now partially computerized with an integrated system connected to the ADSL line and the Fiber Optic Cable providing Internet and e-mail facility to the University of Yangon community. Since 2000, the Electronic Library (ELIB) software has been used to record the library collection. Electronic cataloguing continues to provide the required services for 23,975 English books, 12,870 Myanmar books and 7,959 dissertations which have been updated in the electronic catalogue. The card catalogue facility is also available on the Ground Floor of the Library. The Library collection can be searched by author, title, subject and keyword which can also be searched through E-LIB Software. It also provides internet access and electronic books to scholars and researchers. The library is now developing its new programme to scan old printed text resources and it also receives some selected gift-databases from Myanmar and abroad, especially full-text databases. Up to now, the Library has 3,400 e-books, forming a documentation resource system to meet the demands of teaching and research.

Reference Service Section

Staffed by skillful technicians (information professionals), the Reference Section is the primary information centre of the library, providing library users with research assistance and various (numerous) guidance to all printed and electronic resources. The service normally provides the personalized help by email, and by phone. Telephone reference service is available by dialing (951) 537250. Any readers may also contact the library via e-mail to univ.yangonlibrary@ The section is located on the first floor. Library users are encouraged to consult with the Reference Librarian if they need any assistance.

Preservation and Conservation Section

  • Preservation is made for the rare collections under temperature and humidity control
  • Binding is made for conservation for old newspapers, magazines and journals.
  • Repairing is made for old manuscripts
  • Digitizing is made for rare books, old records and periodicals

Mission of the library

  • To enable students to acquire information in support of their academic goals and to enhance their knowledge;
  • To enhance the professional growth of teaching staff by supporting teaching and research programmes;
  • To provide professional guidance between users and information sources; and
  • To provide high quality information services based on the needs of library users.

Vision of the Library

  • To provide services to increasing users who are expecting ready and rapid access to information whenever and wherever they need it.
  • To support learning and research today and in the future at the highest level.
  • To maintain and enhance our position as a world-class library service, knowledgeable, professional and innovative.
  • To become the leading academic library in Myanmar

Total Staff


Head Librarian




Library Assistant - 1


Library Assistant - 2


Library Assistant - 3


Library Assistant - 4