IBTS Centre is a member of the Euro-Asian Accrediting Association, an organisation that was founded to help (theological) educational institutions in Eurasia reach international standards and to provide them with accreditation that is in accordance with their academic and spiritual level. For over 20 years they’ve been doing an excellent job, and there is much more to come!
In March, they organised a library conference in the Ukraine for all the librarians of the participating schools. I was privileged to be present at this conference as a representative from both IBTS Centre and BETH. The two day conference took place at Kremenchuk Evangelical Seminary, located in the city of Kremenchuk, which is about a 5-6 hour drive to the southeast of Kiev. In attendance were approximately 50 people, including librarians from various institutions in the Ukraine, Russia, Belarus, Moldova and Central Asia. We stayed at the seminary and our sessions took place in one of their class rooms. Good food was provided by the kitchen staff.
We had a very full program with excellent presentations by many of the participants. They ranged from very practical (library arrangement, organization) to very technical (cataloguing standards, working with Koha), making this a very useful conference for every participant. I was asked to present my personal experience in working with distance learning students. In addition to the official programme, we also had a chance to present our institutions and libraries to each other. This taught me that you should have metal shelving in a library, because then you will at least still have something left after a fire!
This conference could well be the first step towards founding an official Eurasian theological library network. The plan is to organise a similar conference next year, so perhaps in a few years’ time we’ll be able to welcome representatives of this network at the annual BETH conference.
Before and after our travels to Kremenchuk I spent some time with our good friends at the Ukrainian Evangelical Theological Seminary in Pushcha Voditsa on the outskirts of Kiev (see image below). Many of the staff at UETS are (former) students of ours and it was very good to (re)connect with them. Thank you, UETS, for your hospitality!
And I wouldn’t be a librarian if I wouldn’t have come back with a suitcase full of books!
Pieter van Wingerden (Librarian IBTS Centre Amsterdam)