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Welcome to Mahindarama
K. Gunaratana Memorial Library

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K. Gunaratana Maha Thero
To become a Buddhist Public Library


To Provide a conducive environment for Dhamma Learning and Research

To continuously update the Dhamma collection and Services.


The Library was named in memory of the Late Venerable Bhikkhu K. Gunaratara Thera, who was the Chief Monk of the Mahindarama Buddhist Temple from 1933 - 1964. He was also the Chief High Priest of Malaya and Singapore ( 1955 - 1964). Since his historical arrival in Penang on July 26, 1962, he had made a tremendous effort to pave the way for the growth of Buddhism in Penang and the whole country in general, then known as Malaya. It was due to his effort that Wesak Day had become a National Public holiday. 

The Gunaratana Memorial Library was established on August 1976 when the Chief Monk of Mahindarama Buddhist Temple, the late Ven. Sri S.V. Pandit Pemaratana Nayaka Maha Thero officially handed over the temple library to the Sunday School Management Committee. A sub-committee was then formed to manage the library with Mr. See Chin Han and the late Mr. Wee Chong Hoe as its Honorable Patrons, while the late Mr. Lim Eng Chuan and Mr. Yew Lye Hin acted as its honorable Advisors. 

In the beginning, there was only a small cupboard consisting of about 200 books at the corner of the Lecture Hall. It was during these early days that some generous donors came forward to contribute valuable dhamma books to add to this newborn library's collection. Among them is our Hon. Patron himself, Mr. See, who unceasingly supports the progress of the library till this day and truly merits the title as the "great benefactor" of the Gunaratana Memorial Library. 

In 1979, the library that was then shifted to the left wing of the monk's quarters, was renovated with the donation from the Estate of the Late Madam Cheah Kim Hoe. New furniture and a ceiling fan were installed. 

In the early Eighties, a collection of dhamma talks by Buddhist monks and laities on audio cassette tapes, was added to the library catalogue. As the library expanded, various projects were carried out by the Sunday School to set up a Fund for the upkeep and improvement of the library. Subsequently, additional cupboards and shelves were bought to accommodate the ever growing library's collections. 

It was sometime in 1990 the computerization of the library book system began. Those responsible for the new implementation are divided into : 
     Library System Design .......   Bro. Hor Kwei Loon 
     Programming .....................   Bro. Chan Soon Huat 
     Implementation .................... Bro. Fong Hong Wai 

As years passed, the activities of the Sunday School increased. The Library also played an important and bigger role in the propagation of the Buddha-dhamma, through reading materials and audio records play back. It becomes necessary now to find more space for the future expansion of the library. In 1990, through the great efforts from both the Temple and Sunday School management committees, funds were collected to construct a new 3 stories building known as Wisma Mahinda. 

In 1990, with the completion of the Wisma Mahinda, the library occupied part of the ground and mezzanine floor of the Wisma. The library was designed with a beautiful modern interior decoration idea by Bro. Hor Tuck Loon. On February 24th 1991, the Wisma Mahinda was officially opened by the late Ven P. Pemaratana Nayaka Maha Thero. Among the VIP guests was the Chief Minister of Penang, Tan Sri Dr. Koh Tsu Koon, who then pledge RM 10,000 from the State Government to the Gunaratana Memorial Library. 

In the year 2000, the K. Gunaratana Memorial Library has become independent from the Sunday School and report directly to the Main Temple Committee with the objective to further upgrade the service and status of the Library. 

The List of the Honorable Librarians 

          Temple Library in the early days 
          Mr. Kung Kok Chye ...............1970 
          Mr. Teh Swee Hing .................1971 
          Miss Hoon Lan Hong ..............1972 
          Miss Ong Poh Suan .................1973 
          Mr. Tan Eng Chye ...................1974 
          Mr. Raja Kumar ......................1975 
          Established as Gunaratana Memorial Library
          Mr. Ong Liang Seng ................1976 - 80 
          Mr. Lee Cheang Hwa ..............1981 
          Mr. Hor Kwei On .....................1982 - 88 
          Mr. James Ong Ju Jin ...............1989 
          Mr. Fong Hong Wai .................1990 - 

Library's Service

The library is divided into the following sections : 

a. General Book Section
Located at the ground floor of the library, this section consists of the dhamma books classified according to various categories i.e. the different school of tradition/thought, biographies, serial collection, historical, comparison religion etc. There are about 3000 books in 1800 titles on the shelves for borrowing. 

b. Reference Book Section
Located on the mezzanine floor of the library, it consists of the whole set of the Pali Canon, rare dhamma books and magazines, research books and valuable dhamma books that are out of print. These materials can be referenced for research by approaching the librarians for permission during library hour. 

c. Magazine Section
Storing a vast variety of magazines from the various Buddhist Organizations, it includes the well-known " Voice of Buddhism " ," Maha Bodhi " and some very old magazines which dated more than 50 years ago. There are more than 800 copies of magazines available for reading.

d. Light Reading Section
With printed materials of all sizes, arranged on the plastics shelves, it is located at the end corner on the ground floor of the library. Readers can spend their library hours reading booklets, pamphlets, newsletter, cards, pull-outs, cut-outs, printed papers etc. which provide excellent information on the past and current Buddhist activities, locally as well as world wide, in both the English and Chinese language. Readers are required to place back the materials in their respective shelves after reading it.

e. Audio-Visual Section
There are about 1000 dhamma audio tapes available in this section. The audio tapes consist of dhamma talks, chanting tapes, Buddhist hymns and Jataka stories for children. The dhamma talks are recorded in a variety of languages ( English, Mandarin, Cantonese, and Hokkien ) and consist of local and foreign collections. 

f. The New Arrival Display Section
Books and magazines that are recently acquired are displayed in the wooden rack for a short period, to inform members about the in-coming dhamma collections and allow them for first hand browsing. 

g. Children's Section
This section contains Jataka stories in comics, children's encyclopedias and dictionaries that are for reading during library hours. 

Library Hours : 
Opening Every Sunday from 10.00 a.m. to 1.00 p.m. 
Membership : 
Ordinary Member 
Entrance Fee : RM 5.00 
Yearly Subscription : RM 5.00 
Sunday School Students : Free application 


Library Regulation :
Members are allowed to borrow 
a. 2 dhamma books for 2 weeks, 
b. 4 audio tapes for 1 week 
c. 2 video tapes for 1 week at a time. 

Renewals are allowed for dhamma books only for another 2 weeks but the audio and video tapes must be returned. 

Library Fund and Donation
Donations are most welcome to support the Library's Fund, in the effort to buy more dhamma collections. 
The maintenance of the library, is funded by the Mahindarama Buddhist Temple.

May you continue to track the path of the Master - Gotama the Buddha.