Theological Libraries in Indonesia H Putong

Theological Libraries in Indonesia (and South East Asia). A short account of recent developments[1] by Hilda V. Putong[2]


It is a great honor to me to be invited to this Tenth Anniversary of the Foundation for the Development of Indonesian Libraries, and it is a great pleasure to share with you information about theological libraries in Indonesia. I would like to thank you all to include me as member of this foundation.

I was asked to give an account of the recent situation and the future trends of theological library in Indonesia and in other South East Asia countries in general, especially members of ForATL and ATESEA. My presentation will stress four aspects of library development, namely human resources, library collections, application of information and communication technology, and cooperation among library associations. But let me begin first with a general introduction to the theological schools and Christian Universities in Indonesia.

Generally, theological schools and Christian universities in Indonesia and other countries of South East Asia were established by churches or Christian mission boards. In the past theological schools were founded as training center for church ministers. Eventually they were developed as theological schools to provide also Christian religious teachers. Some theological schools have music departments. Several theological schools were founded as faculties in Christian university. In terms of spiritual traditions, theological schools can be divided between ecumenical and evangelical following traditions of Protestant churches in Indonesia. Since last decade, Protestant Desk (Ditjen Bimas Kristen) of Indonesia Religious Affair Ministry, founded some state theological schools (STAKN) [3]. Indonesia with 304 schools (2014) is the second SEA country with the biggest number of Protestant theological schools after India. Geographically most of the schools are located in Java. The rests are scattered in outer islands of Papua, Moluccas, Timor, Sulawesi, Kalimantan and Sumatera.

Theological School Association

In Indonesia “main stream” theological schools (only 15% of about 304 theological schools) are associated in PERSETIA (Association of Theological Schools in Indonesia, ATSI; This association facilitate some programs for member schools, i.e. summer course for post graduate students, student/faculty exchange, study institute, etc. Library cooperation among theological schools will be mentioned below. While PERSETIA accepted both evangelical and pentacostal schools, they have their own associations, namely PASTI (Federation of Evangelical Theological School in Indonesia) and PESATPIN (the Federation of Pentecostal Theological School in Indonesia).

Regionally, theological schools (mainly of ecumenical tradition) in South East Asia are gathered in the Association for Theological Education in South East Asia (ATESEA, Founded in 1957, ATESEA now has 87 members, 17 are Indonesian theological schools. [4] In the past ATESEA run a post-graduate study for Master of Theology and Doctor of Theology programs under the South East Asia Graduate School of Theology (SEAGST). The program now is organized only for Doctor of Theology in cooperation with some selected member schools, run under ATESEA Theological Union (ATU). ATU is joined by three ATESEA member schools in Indonesia: Jakarta Theological Seminary, Postgraduate Theological Program of Duta Wacana Christian University, and Postgraduate Theological Program of Satya Wacana Christian University. ATESEA also accredited programs of its member schools. Until 2014 ATESEA provide grant for library collection and librarian development. We are informed that next year the grant will be request directly from FTESEA (Foundation for Theological Education in South East Asia; ATESEA and FTESEA are committed to develop librarian skills and education, and library collection as well. This year (2014) Forum of Asian Theological Librarian and ATESEA in cooperation with two universities in Philippines open Master of Theological Librarianship and Master of Library Information Science at Central Philippines University. There are 12 students from Philipines, Malaysia, Myanmar, Taiwan and Indonesia. Students from Indonesia are from Duta Wacana Christian University (UKDW) and Indonesia Christian University Maluku (UKIM). In 1960s to 1970s SEAGST and University of Philippines organized Master program in librarianship.[5]

Theological schools of evangelical traditions in Asia and Pacific have their own association, Asia Theological Association (ATA;, founded in 1970. It has 212 recent membership. There are 12 Indonesian evangelical theological schools member of ATA. Another institution to be mentioned here is United Board (UB, founded in 1922;, a Christian foundation for development of Christian universities in Asia. UB support Indonesian Christian universities library through Petra Christian University with its Christian library network, Indonesia Christian University Virtual Library (In-CUVL).

Government Regulations

Other aspect to be introduced is Indonesian government regulation and accreditation of colleges and universities. While government supervises theological schools through two ministerial department (of Education and of Religious Affairs), government established a National Accreditation Body (BAN) to all college and university study programs. Many Indonesian theological schools work hard to improve various aspects of their study programs to meet the accreditation requirements. One of them is library. Requirements for library is regulated in Indonesian Library Law (UU Perpustakaan No. 43/2007) and in a ministerial regulation for higher education library by BAN (Permendikbud no 49/2014). Accordingly, library requirements covers:

  • human resources (number, education, competency and professionalism),
  • number and types of library collections,
  • information access facilities, such as LAN and WAN, online catalogue, and
  • cooperation between libraries and between librarians (both should be member of their respective association).


According to government regulation, staff of a college or university library should met the following requirements:

  • Library Head should be at least graduated in library and information science magister
  • Librarians should be at least graduated first degree in library and information science
  • Technical staff should be at least with diploma degree (D-3) in library and information science.

Only a small number of theological libraries in Indonesia meet these requirements. Most of the school have only two or three library staffs, and they are not graduate from library science. They are helped by students working part-time in the library. Library staff does not have, as a rule, library (or information technology) education, and also did not join any librarian training programs. Some heads of library are recruited from theology graduates. There are only seven theological seminaries with a head of the library who has a master of library science degree, and there are less than 20 librarians who hold a first degree or a diploma in library science among more than 300 theological schools in Indonesia. Librarians of Christian universities are generally speaking better and they are ready to meet the requirements of a world class university library and to engage the professionals in their region[6]. Until now there are ten universities that offer library (and information) science as a subject for study. Satya Wacana Christian University (UKSW) in Yogyakarta just began in 2013. Theological schools should give serious attention to develop the academic qualifications of their library staff as required by national accreditation body.

Theological schools in South East Asean countries.

The members of ATESEA members in the Philippinas, Thailand, Malaysia Singapore, Taiwan, and Hongkong experience more or less the same conditions as the theological schools in Indonesia, as mentioned in ATESEA accreditation reports.[7] However, they have the advantage that English, the international language, is their first or second language.

Library Collections

According to BAN requirements, library collections should meet number of collection at least as follows:

  1. Number of books
  • ≥ 70,000 titles (value 4/A)
  • 50,000 – < 70.000 titles (value 3/B)
  • 30,000 – < 50.000 titles (value 2/C)
  • 10,000 – < 30.000 titles (value 1/D)
  • < 10,000 titles (value 0)
  • Also required 2% additional collection and 5% of annual overhead budget.
  1. Proceedings – publications of seminar or workshop from the school or other school but attended by faculty member of the school at least two per year.
  1. Academic Journals are required as follows:

First degree programs (S1, Stratum One)

  • National accredited (by national science institution) academic journal with at least two years regular publication three journals (value 4/A), two journals (3/B), one journal (2/C) and without any accredited journal value 1/D.
  • International accredited journal (included e-journal)with at least two years regular publication two journals (value 4/A), one journals (3/B), and no complete journal (value 0).

Magister program

  • National accredited (by national science institution) academic journal with at least two years regular publication three journals (value 4/A), two journals (3/B), one journal (2/C), without accredited journal value 1/D, no journal value 0.
  • International accredited journal (included e-journal)with at least two years regular publication five journals (value 4/A), three-four journals (3/B), one – two journals (value 2/C), no complete journal (value 1/D).

Doctoral program

National and international accredited journal (included e-journal) with at least two years regular publication five journals (value 4/A), three-four accredited journals (3/B), one – two accredited journals (value 2/C), no complete accredited journal (value 1/D).

Average number of theological school library collections (books and written documents, published and unpublished, included audiovisual media and electronic/digital) are between 5,000 – 56,000 titles. Collection of accredited national and international journals are very poor.

Collection of theological school libraries in Indonesia consist mainly English books, but recently more theological books in Indonesian, including translated books. Concerning national academic journals, there are only few accredited and as for international journals they are very expensive. Only big schools have good number of journals. Indonesian government opened global access to free e-journals for colleges and universities, but there is no theological subject.

It should be mentioned here that academic quality and relevance of books and other library collections for theological learning mainly depends on the lecturers. They are asked to submit lists of books (and journals) to be ordered and purchased by librarian.

ATESEA accreditation of 2013 found that in general average library collections of SEA countries are as follows: first degree 8,000, magister program 15,000 and doctoral program 30,000 titles. And as for academic journals they are also categorized as low.

Information Technology Based Library

Colleges and universities are required to develop their respective IT based library in library law and further regulated in Indonesia national standard (SNI) and in national library standard. The trend of developing library in Indonesia then are digital library and library as a repository of knowledge management. Some important aspects of this are library automation, online information, and digital local contents. Begun in 2008 Indonesia National Library coordinated annual meeting of KPDI (Conference of Digital Library Indonesia) to improve digital aspects of library among universities, but there is no theological school attended.

As early as 2002 PERSETIA, under Rev Zakaria J. Ngelow as chairperson, motivated member schools to develop applications of IT in theological education. The application covers library automation, students data base, general and financial administrations, and the utilization of IT in learning process. A training of IT application for theological school for PERSETIA members was held in 2002 in Yogyakarta in cooperation with Duta Wacana Christian University (UKDW). In subsequent years the Christian University Petra and ForPPTI organized seminars and workshops for PERSETIA and ForPPTI members, notably the aplication of New Spektra automation system.

Eventually more theological schools equipped their library with automation facilities, such as online catalogue and online service. They use UK Petra (Petra Christian University) automation system (iSpektra) or SLiM, a program launched by Education Ministry. The automation system for management of bibliography database and digital collection. Other schools try to develop their own IT system. Online information related to good Wi-Fi (and computers, laptops) facility for students, lecturers and other users to connect to internet. Some schools use wide screen/monitor to display information for public in the campus. E-mail and other social media, of course, should be familiar to all users. It can be noted that recent development of IT gadgets are equipped with direct internet access features. About local contents: since early 2000s some theological schools in Asia worked on their “grey literature” (after India and Japan). In Indonesia as implementation of a regulation of research and technology minister on information of grey literature (SK Menristek RI No. 44/2000). “Grey lliterature” refers to academic writings, such as research papers, theses, dissertations, seminar findings and orations. Grey literature regarded as local content, i.e. academic/scientific material produced by local civitas academic. In the past librarian has to scan the submitted materials, but now students (and other academicians) are asked to submit soft copies (preferably in PDF) of their works; therefore called digital local content.

Digitalization of theological libraries in Indonesia does not run well. The main problem is human resources and related to that is problem of financial resources. Only a few schools – and theological faculties of Christian Universities – manage to develop online catalogue and information website. In my former responsibility as Head of Library of STT INTIM (Theological Seminary of Eastern Indonesia) in Makassar we were able to apply some IT facilities, included full text online for the digital local content in cooperation with Petra Christian University. I may also inform you that in our library of the Jakarta Theological Seminary (STT Jakarta) we are now begin working on develop our digital local content. You can access our online catalog at our website ( or

The application of IT in theological schools in other Sout East Asian countries is more or less as in Indonesia, for the same reasons, namely limitations of human and financial resources.

Cooperation of Libraries and of Librarians

Libraries and librarians of theological schools in Indonesia gathered in an association. There are six national library associations in Indonesia as follows:

  1. Ikatan Pustakawan Indonesia (IPI)/Indonesia Librarian Association (
  1. Ikatan Sarjana Ilmu Perpustakaan & Informasi Indonesia (ISIPII)/ Association of Indonesia Library and Information Science Scholar. (Independent Association:
  1. Forum Perpustakaan Perguruan Tinggi Indonesia (FPPTI) /Forum of Indonesia College/University Library (

4. Communication Forum of Libraries among Indonesian Christian Colleges and Universities (Forum Komunikasi Perpustakaan Perguruan Tinggi Kristen Indonesia (Forkom Perpustakaan BK-PTKI/InCU-VL)

5. Forum Pustakawan & Perpustakaan Teologi di Indonesia (ForPPTI)/Forum of Indonesia Theological Library and Librarian (Independent Association:

6. Jaringan Perpustakaan Perguruan Tinggi Katolik Indonesia /Indonesia Catholic College Library Network (APTIK) (Independent Association:

ForPPTI (Forum for Indonesia Theological Librarian and Library). ForPPTI ( was formed on 8 August 2003 at STT Jakarta. Now has 49 members. In 2010 and 2014, ForPPTI has improved with a vision to become a forum to support development of libraries and librarians. It missions, then, are:

  1. provide consultation and training programs for members,
  2. facilitate cooperation among members, and
  3. develop networking with other library associations of both national and regional/international.

The forum is divided into eight areas, namely Jakarta and around; West Java; Central Java; East Java, Bali, Lesser Sunda Islands (NTT and NTB); Sulawesi; Sumatera; Kalimantan; Maluku and Papua and now has 49 members. Board of the forum are representative of the areas; and two member of board advisors, they are Indonesia area representative of ForATL and chairperson of PERSETIA. ForPPTI managed to do some programs for participating schools as follows:

  • Profil directory
  • Seminars, trainings, apprentice and scholarship
  • Sharing resources of journal database
  • Networking with other Indonesian library association
  • Provide comunication media such as website, mailing list and sosial media (i.e. facebook)
  • Library competition

In cooperation with ForATL Indonesia area representative, ForPPTI organized two national congress and six workshops in some areas. ForPPTI also provide two scholarships for master and one for undergraduate libray and information science. Most of the programs supported by grants from the Netherlands coordinated by Rev. Huub Lems. Begun in 2013, PERSETIA and ForPPTI also provided seminar and workshop for theological librarians.

Indonesia Christian University-Virtual Library (InCU-VL) and Communication Forum of Libraries among Indonesian Christian Colleges and Universities (Forkom Perpustakaan BK-PTKI).

Petra Christian University (UK Petra, in Surabaya) organized forum to develop Indonesia Christian University-Virtual Library (InCU-VL). Since 1997 UK Petra was supported by United Board for Christian Higher Education in Asia (UBCHEA, in short, UB) to develop an IT based system for resource sharing among Christian University libraries. After UB support was ended, the program was supported by the Van Deventer Maas-Stichting from the Netherlands. It begun with nine schools in 1997 but in 2009 connected more than 22 school libraries, including some theological seminaries (STT): STT INTIM, STT Jaffray, STT HKBP, and also some state theological colleges (STAKN) that originally belong to churches.

In 2010, Coordinate Body of Christian Universities (BK-PTKI) organized Communication Forum of Libraries among Indonesian Christian Colleges and Universities (Forkom Perpustakaan BK-PTKI). The coordinator of this Forum is the Library of Petra Christian University. Recently the members are more than 60 universities and theological seminaries. While the seminaries are not member of the BK-PTKI, they were invited to join as member of ForPPTI. Forkom Perpustakaan BK-PTKI managed to do some programs for participating schools as follows:

  • Seminars, trainings, and apprentices
  • Website and directory of members (
  • Mailing list for members (
  • Software for library automation (iSPEKTRA)
  • Union Catalogue SPEKTRA Virtual Library (
  • Subscribe to ProQuest (online journal database) as a consortium together with Roman Catholic Indonesia Universities)
  • Digitalization of end papers and theses.

ForATL,  Forum of Asian Theological Librarians (

The Forum of Asian Theological Librarians is the outcome of the Consultation of Asian Theological Librarians, held in May 1991 in Chiang Mai, Thailand, under the sponsorship of the Programme for Theology and Cultures in Asia (PTCA). ForATL aims are:

  • to facilitate the development and exchange of resources of theology in the Asian contexts,
  • to promote co-operation among, and training of theological librarians,
  • to arrange short-term courses and workshops, and
  • to develop an Asia-wide network of theological libraries.

Membership is open to library, practising librarian, and any other organization or individual interested in the development of Asian theological resources. Its has more than 50 recent membership. The board of ForATL executive members are country area representatives and elected or appointed by members. The board is assigned to promote national theological library networking and to improve the libraries quality in the area. The area and their national library networking are following:

  1. Philippines Area (Philippine Theological Librarians Association/PTLA)
  2. Indonesia Area (Forum Theological Librarian and Library of Indonesia/ForPPTI;
  3. Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam Area
  4. Hongkong and China (Ecumenical Information Network/EIN;

  1. India Area (Indian Theological Library Association/ITLA;
  2. Taiwan Area (Taiwan Theological Library Association/TTLA:;

ForATL has an online directory and going to develop a database for Asia theological theses. By 2012, ForATL has organized six workshops and consultations and the 7th workshop and consultation will be held in Bangkok, in May 2015. The themes of all workshops and consultations are networking, IT for library, librarian skills and education. Tang Sui-Tung as one of executive member has clarified in his article that these workshop and consultations are golden chance for theological librarians of different Asian countries to meet each other and to share their dreams for the development of Asian theological libraries as a whole.[8]

ForATL also organized a training on archives management in cooperation with ETE of WCC. Networking and collaboration is also developed with other region associations such as American Theological Library Association (ATLA), European Theological Libraries (BETH), Association of British Theological and Philosophical Libraries (ABTAPL), Australian and New Zealand Theological Library Association (ANZTLA) also Foundation for Theological Education in Southeast Asia (FTESEA) and Documentation of Christianity in Asia and Documentation, Archives, Bibliography and Oral History Study Group (DABOH) of IAMS.


This short paper shares with you some informations about theological schools library in Indonesia and SEA countries in four aspects, namely human resources, library collections, IT based library (digitalization), and library and librarian networkings.

As concluding remarks, I would like to make the following statements:

  1. Theological libraries in Indonesia and also in other South East Asian countries are generally speaking less developed. The qualifications of library staff as well as the number of books and periodicals in their libraries collections do not meet the requirements of national accreditation board (BAN). Theological schools, therefore, should give serious attention to develop the qualifications of their librarian staff and they should make an effort to expand also their librray holdings.
  2. As mentioned above, the main trend of developing library and future library in Indonesia and other South Easr Asian countries) are digital library and library as a repository of knowledge management and of course a research centre. This trend is directed by government accreditation requirements, but also shaped by rapid development of information and communication technology, and the reality of students as digital natives (or the net generation) and other older users as digital migrants. Theological schools accordingly are obliged to develop IT based library.
  3. While e-books become an important component of digiltal library, the need of printed books is indispensable. Theological libraries in Indonesia anticipated both the needs in terms of human resources, IT facilities and rooms/buildings.
  4. Library and librarian associations are playing strategic roles in assisting theological schools developed their respective library and librarian to improve their quality and meet the accreditation requirements. They are motivated to join associations, notably national association of theological library and librarian (ForPPTI).
  5. Development of each school library depend on its organ-aware (leadership, policy and finance).
  6. Supporting institution like this Stichting Library Development Indonesia and other funding agencies are also very important to help our theological school libraries.

[1] Presented at Lustrum of Stichting Library Development Indonesia on 12 December 2014 at PThU, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

[2] Head Library of Jakarta Theological Seminary; ForATL Indonesia Area Representative; member of the Advisary Board of Stichting Library Development Indonesia.

[3] Indonesian theological libraries overview: ForATL Newsletter, Vol 5: Issue 2, 2007 by Hilda V. Putong in

[4] ATESEA ( ,, 7 October 2014)

[5] Rita and John England, Ministering Asian Faith and Wisdom: A Manual for Theological Librarians in Asia. New Day Publisher, 2001, p.xiii.

[6] Aditya Nugraha dkk (Ed.), Direktori Perpustakaan Perguruan Tinggi Kristen di Indonesia., Perpustakaan UK Petra, 2012 and data survey by Hilda V. Putong, 2014.

[7] ATESEA Accreditation Notations at (10 October 2010). Access on October 2014.

[8] Hope S. Antone et al. (eds). The Ecumenical Landscape of Asian Theological Library Networks in Asian Handbook for Theological Education. Oxford: Regnum Book International, 2013