Société Internationale des Archivistes Lasalliens (SILA) – 2021 Gathering

The first online gathering of the Société Internationale des Archivistes Lasalliens (SILA) was held from September 20 – 23, hosted by the Lasallian Research and Resources service at the Casa Generalizia in Rome. Over 65 individuals who were Lasallian archivists, librarians, or museum directors participated in the two-hour Zoom sessions that were held each day. Participants attended from around the globe, including Argentina, Australia, Benin, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Congo, Ecuador, Ethiopia, France, Guatemala, India, Italy, Kenya, Peru, Lebanon, Madagascar, Mexico, Netherlands, Nicaragua, Nigeria, the Philippines, Spain, the United Kingdom, the USA, and Vietnam. General sessions were held on the first and last day, with translators provided by the Institute. The middle two days consisted of language group presentations and discussions.  

The planning committee had been meeting since March in preparation of this meeting, with everyone directly involved in specific aspects of the final program. Members of the group included Br. George Van Grieken, FSC (Host and organizer), Br. Antxon Andueza, FSC (Organizer), Anna Cascone (Presenter), Br. Hilaire Raharilalao, FSC (Presenter), Magali Devif (Presenter; French group coordinator), Maria Asuncion Mendoza (Presenter; Spanish group coordinator); Amy Surak (Presenter; English group coordinator); Yajayra Grajeda (Presenter; PDF Directory).

The first day started with a welcome by the Superior General, Br. Robert Schieler, followed by an overview of the gathering and its context. After a short introduction by all participants, there were presentations about the Institute archives, library, and museum at the Casa Generalizia, with videos and descriptions of their work and activities. Two days of language group sessions followed. The groups learned about archival best practices, the management of digital records, the promotion of archival material on social media, privacy and confidentiality protocols, institutional repositories, school network collections, software options, and different ways of organizing the archives. On the last day, each language group gave a summary of their experience along with recommendations for future SILA activities. There were also short general presentations about photo management and the protection of data & privacy.

The final discussion highlighted ideas for the future of SILA and offered a sincere appreciation for the opportunity to collaborate and unify our efforts in these area of Lasallian archives, libraries, and museums. The gathering ended with the launch of a SILA Facebook page. (

This online SILA gathering established both the value of providing greater mutual support and an accessible vehicle for doing so. Language groups will now meet and collaborate further online, and another full SILA online gathering will be planned for next year.

By Br. George Van Grieken, FSC
Coordinating Secretary of Research and Resources Service (Rome)