Roja Muthiah Research Library


The vast collection available at RMRL represents Tamil print,
sonic and visual heritage and culture, which spans
a period of over 300 years

As a renowned research hub, RMRL covers a wide range of fields, from humanities and social sciences to popular culture. Its library and archive have a comprehensive collection of books, documents, microfilms, oleographs, audio and video recordings of private collectors, and other print and digital files of great significance. This unique, eclectic range of material sets RMRL apart from other libraries and archives.


RMRL’s rich collection is accessible to users through an efficient online and offline OPAC system. JSTOR and other digital libraries are also available for scholars to access digitised documents and research papers. A microfilm reader is also available on request.


A crucial element of RMRL’s vision is the preservation of its collection for posterity. One of the main aspects that RMRL focuses on is the preservation of existing material in alternative formats.

RMRL preserves its collection systematically through archival microfilming and digitisation.

RMRL is the only facility in south India with an exclusive storage to preserve microfilms round-the-clock under 35% relative humidity and 18° Celsius. International best practices like the Methylene Blue Test are performed to determine the archival quality of microfilms processed at RMRL.

RMRL is involved in the digital restoration of manuscripts. The restoration of the Notebooks of Srinivasa Ramanujan and the first edition of Thirukkural is a testimony to its expertise in this field.

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Old manuscript

Song book cover

Cover page of Kumudam

Palmleaf manuscript


RMRL has been documenting all available and accessible Tamil resources including the RMRL collection. MARC21 format is used for cataloguing.

RMRL has been documenting all available and accessible Tamil resources in MARC21 format. It has been contributing catalogue records to the South Asian Union catalogue and WorldCat. RMRL has indexed 1,60,000 articles from Tamil periodicals on literature, indigenous medicine, religion, folklore, popular culture, metaphysics, Gandhian studies, gender studies, and modern history.

RMRL has developed a union catalogue of all public libraries in the State with the support of the Government of Tamil Nadu. The library has also Indexed private collections of eminent personalities and institutions in India.

The earliest title is a book ‘Akkiyanam’ (அக்கியானம்) was published in 1713.

Considering that Tamil is accorded the status of a Classical language and that over sixty million people worldwide speak Tamil, RMRL is a significant institution in the world of research and scholarship. The Library’s collection continues to grow through generous gifts from research scholars, private collectors and publishers.

Knowledge Dissemination

RMRL is committed to sharing knowledge through programmes like monthly lecture series. Curating exhibitions is one of RMRL’s activities that showcases the rich history and culture of Tamil Nadu and the fascinating aspects of the Indus civilisation.

The Indus Research Centre and the Centre for Study in public sphere organises seminars and workshops, lectures, and book discussions.

Rōjā itaḻ is a quarterly publication with research articles, book reviews, and reports on the activities of the library. RMRL has converted the Indus concordance of Iravatham Mahadevan into a searchable web application to help scholars understand the Indus Script better.

Sanga Surangam, a lecture series of 30 episodes analyses Sangam literature through a civilisational lens is available on RMRL’s YouTube channel. The lectures have been brought out as a book in three volumes.

RMRL has published the following books: Journey of a Civilization: Indus to Vaigai and T.N. Rajarattinam Pillai: Charisma, Caste Rivalry and the Contested Past in South Indian Music, நவீன கல்விக் கொள்கையை நோக்கி: மெக்காலே கூறியது என்ன?, and ஒரு பண்பாட்டின் பயணம்: சிந்து முதல் வைகை வரை.

Palmleaf manuscript

Song book cover

Glimpse from a postcard