Books Build Bi-National Bridges
Books Build Bi-National Bridges

January 1, 2008


For the past 40 years, the Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute (SICI) has been facilitating academic activities that promote bi-national awareness between India and Canada.

The U of L, which joined in 1997, is one of 29 Canadian and 41 Indian member organizations of the SICI. With funding from the Canadian and Indian governments, the institute’s comprehensive programming includes support for research, faculty and student exchanges, seminars, conferences and libraries.

Librarian Lorelei Harris says the SICI provides annual funds for libraries at its Canadian member organizations to purchase any materials published or produced in India. The University Library has used the Indian rupees it receives to purchase more than 2,100 items over the years. While most of the items purchased to date have been books, Harris can also choose journals and multimedia resources.

“The cross-disciplinary India studies collection that we have developed includes religious studies, economics, sociology and political science resources. Without the SICI’s support, we may not have been able to provide these materials to our users,” says Harris.

Dr. Hillary Rodrigues (Religious Studies) has served on the SICI’s India Studies Committee for the last two years. He says that the SICI library materials have added substantially to the U of L’s holdings in the areas of Indian religious culture and philosophy.

“Our Religious Studies departmental library budget allocations are divided among the various religious traditions that we teach, often leaving each area with inadequate funding. The SICI materials have helped to supplement our collection,” says Rodrigues. “We initially sought to acquire works that would enhance undergraduate research, but have begun to broaden the collection to facilitate my own work and graduate research.”

Rodrigues adds that some of the books obtained from India through this program are not available through the standard North American publishing channels.

In November, SICI’s president, Dr. Gary vanLoon of Queen’s University, and library program advisory committee Chair, Moninder Bubber of Simon Fraser University, visited the U of L. Harris, Rodrigues and more than a dozen faculty from various departments met with the SICI representatives for a roundtable discussion of India studies at the U of L.
Rodrigues was impressed by how the community of scholars with an interest in India has grown at the U of L.

“Prior to the roundtable, I thought we were a much smaller group. The meeting also made me aware of the variety of disciplinary areas (such as information technology and the sciences) in which the SICI has become much more relevant than it was even a decade ago,” he says.

From the Library’s perspective, the meeting provided additional insight into the types of resources needed to support India studies at the University. “Faculty and other researchers with suggestions for new India studies information resources are welcome to e-mail me at,” says Harris.

To learn more about the SICI’s programs, please visit its web site at

To view the SICI-funded resources in the University Library, search the catalogue at using “Shastri” as the author name.

U of L Communications and Public Relations Contact:
Communications and PR Officer (403) 382-7173

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