About the Religions: Libraries and Dialogue Special Interest Group

RELINDIAL , the Religions: Libraries and Dialogue Special Interest Group is dedicated to libraries serving as places of dialogue between cultures through a better knowledge of religions.

SIG-RELINDIAL became a reality in April 2012 and held the first meeting at the IFLA 78th WLIC in Helsinki, Finland, August 2012. The meeting attracted people from five continents representing 16 countries. A lot of religions are included in the collections of the attendees at the RELINDIAL SIG meeting: for example, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Jainism, Judaism…

The first activities to be developed by this group are:

  • Work on indexing languages to help religious vocabulary enter the Semantic Web
  • Learn how to serve the classical Arabic-Muslim culture through the development of FRBR (Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records) cataloguing
  • Collaborate with the IFLA Section Libraries for Children and Young Adults to further understanding between cultures at the very beginning of the social life
  • Collaborate with the IFLA Section Rare Books and Manuscripts to facilitate conservation and discovery of older documents useful for religious searches
  • Present open access tools that promote the development of knowledge about religions

Additionally, the IFLA publisher, De Gruyter, has accepted a book project based on experiences of libraries serving interreligious dialogue.


The IFLA Division I program held in Milan, Italy in 2009 was the impetus for the creation of a Special Interest Group, sponsored by the Social Science Libraries Section. The program was entitled, From Cultures to Sacred Books: Modern functions of Libraries in the religious traditions of Mediterranean Civilizations. (Or, as promoted at ABEI, ―Babel, Bible and Kor’an from Texts to Contexts). The meeting was chaired by Steve Witt, then Chair of the SSLSC [Details on that session can be found in the Social Science Libraries Section Newsletter, Issue 2, 2009].

The SIG, Religions: Libraries and Dialogue (RELINDIAL), was proposed by SSLSC member Odile Dupont. The SSLSC worked with Odile as well as the Division I Chair and the IFLA
Professional Committee to establish the SIG. That work continued, primarily through the work of Odile Dupont’s efforts, in meeting the Professional Committee’s recommendations for establishing the SIG-RELINDIAL. The goals and activities were developed during this process, and are followed by the names of the initial interests in forming this Special Interest Group.

Roots and Goals SIG-RELINDIAL

Libraries are places of dialogue, openness, tolerance and offer food for thought.  Religious libraries or libraries with religious interests often host documents to preserve them from the harshness of times. Within IFLA, the international association of librarians, some libraries that house religious collections – whatever the religion represented – would like to have a common forum in order to:

  • share their experiences,
  • make the world aware of the messages of peace of their collections, and
  • give better access to the tools designed to help people learn about the religious roots of culture

The SIG would like to develop activities

  1. Listing the religious patrimony available
  2. Listing the digitized resources serving religious thoughts
  3. Initiating international collaboration to share experiences
  4. Working on indexing languages for the web 3.0 (the complexity of religious matters must be treated with care to avoid misunderstanding)
  5. Cooperating with the FAIFE section of IFLA, that promotes the basic human rights defined in Article 19 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, to facilitate free access to trustworthy information
  6. Cooperating with the “Children and Young Adults” Section of IFLA so that children can share their religious experiences through the activities of the “Sister libraries,” to open the minds of children to other ways of living

The “Relindial Cartonera” project

Since 2015, the Relindial staff has been working on the “Relindial Cartonera” project. It is a collaborative project whose objective is to help people of different origins to work together and to better know each other. Several documents (poster, flyer, bookmark and guidelines) have been created to present the project. You can find them on a special page dedicated to this theme:

Relindial Cartonera

The individuals interested in the creation of this SIG belong to:

  1. IFLA, Social Sciences Section
  2. ATLA, American Theological Library Association
  3. Baptist Theological Seminary, Kaduna, Nigeria
  4. BETH Bibliothèques Européennes de Théologie
  5. ABCF, Association des Bibliothèques Chrétiennes de France – France
  6. ABEI, Associazione dei Bibliotecari Ecclesiastici Italiani – Italie
  7. ABTAPL, Association of British Theological and Philosophical Libraries – Royaume-Uni et Irlande
  8. URBE, Unione Romana Biblioteche Ecclesiastiche – Italie
  9. Bibliothèque nationale de France
  10. BNU, Bibliothèque Nationale et Universitaire, Strasbourg - France
  11. Volos Academy for Theological Studies – Greece
  12. Christian Conference of Asia
  13. Forum of Asian Theological Library Association
  14. University Library of Tübingen
  15. WCC, World Council of Churches Library
  16. All Africa Conference of Churches
  17. ETE, Ecumenical Theological Education
  18. Henry Luce III Library, Central Philippines University
  19. Globethics.net and GlobeTheoLib librarians
  20. Informatique et Bible, Maredsous, Belgique
  21. Catholic University of Paris
  22. FIUC, Fédération Internationale des Universités Catholiques
  23. COCTI Conference of Catholic Theological Institutions
  24. Le CLAC, centre de lecture et d'animation culturelle, Yaoundé – Cameroun

Additional New Contacts

  1. Alliance israélite Universelle
  2. Association of Jewish Libraries
  3. Bibliothèque Nationale du Royaume du Maroc – Rabbat, Maroc
  4. Bibliothèque de l’Institut du Monde Arabe – Paris, France
  5. Bibliothèque Orientale de Beyrouth – Liban
  6. Catholic Library Association – USA
  7. Sera Jey Monastery, University for Advanced Buddhist Studies and Practices
  8. National Library of Korea
  9. Bibliothèque de l’Université Saint-Esprit de Kaslik, Lebanon
  10. Library of Jnana-Deepa Vidyapeeth, India
  11. Central Library of Banaras Hindu University, India
  12. Library of the University of Kelaniya, Colombo, Sri Lanka

More information

If you would like more information on SIG-RELINDIAL, please contact the convenor.

Religions: Libraries and Dialogue

Last update: 29 June 2018