- Last Updated: Tuesday, 13 May 2014 17:00
The library of the Institute is the largest and oldest special library in Estonia in the area of theology and history of religion. It dates some 200 years back and the collection numbers about 60 000 units in total. Although the collections of Tartu University library are expanded faster on the account of contemporary literature and periodicals than the collection of the Institute, it is continuously relevant to the Estonian professionals as well as students of theology and history of religion, as it contains many books in foreign languages from the period of 1940-90 and often classic literature, that was very rarely included in the Tartu University library during the Soviet period. All in all, for the northern and western region of Estonia, the Institute's library is the closest one where such literature can be studied. Over the years, the library of the Institute has been shaped into the central special library of the EELC, the ranks of readers of which include both the present students of the Institute and members of the Faculty, abreast with the alumni and former staff members, EELC clergy, church workers as well as lay members. The library is open for all visitors. The open policy of the library is important from the aspect of missions and education of the general public.
The oldest part of the collection of the Library of the Institute, there is the Pastor's Library, founded in 1819 (Ehstländische Prediger-Bibliothek) – altogether some 3500 volumes in total, offering first rate cross section of the German theological literature from the end of 18th century until 1940. Older agendas, handbooks and collections of Bible translations, importance of which exceeds the borders of Estonia, supplement this library.
A unique part of the collection of our library is made up of the handwritten theological publications in Estonian, which, in a way characterize the period of 1950-80 in the theological landscape of Estonia, when publishing of religious material was prohibited.
The library collection has been continuously supplemented by legacies and book donations from Finland, Sweden, Germany, USA, Canada and other countries. Newer theological literature has been received in the form of gifts from Evangelical Lutheran Church in Northern Germany and The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland, University of Marburg and others.