Rare and fascinating items from the Library's religion collections were showcased on June 19 in the Mumford Room in connection with the annual conference of the American Theological Library Association (ATLA). The showcase was sponsored by the Humanities and Social Sciences Division (HSS) with the participation of 15 other Library divisions and was organized by Cheryl Adams and Pablo Calvan, both HSS reference librarians.
More than 300 visitors from the ATLA conference, Library staff and the general public viewed such items as Martin Luther's 16th century pamphlets, handwritten Cyrillic manuscripts from Old Orthodox communities in Pennsylvania, a copy of the first Spanish-language edition of the Book of Mormon, a recording of a sermon delivered by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. at the Mount Zion Baptist Church, Muhammad Ibrahim Javhari's Tufan al-Buka' (The Flood of Tears) and Rebbe Cards featuring photographs and information about prominent rabbis. Also featured were children's books, scholarly journals, stereographs, videos, motion picture stills, maps, musical scores and comic books in the field of religion from various Library of Congress collections.
"The showcase was a great opportunity to highlight some of the religious treasures from our collections," Ms. Adams said. Dr. Billington delivered a plenary address to conference participants following the showcase.
The theme of this year's ATLA conference was "Partners in Theological Education" in recognition of the importance of libraries in this field. The conference's program and workshops addressed this theme, and Library representatives were active participants. Speakers from the Library included John Y. Cole, director of the Center for the Book; Thomas Mann, HSS subject specialist for Library Science and Philosophy; Ardie Myers, HSS subject specialist for African American studies; and Kathleen Anne Padgen from the Serial Record Division.
Ms. Adams, an ATLA member, also addressed the conference and noted that "the Library of Congress was a key contributor to the success of this year's conference."