FEZANA Information, Research and Education System (FIRES) is a centralized collection of books, manuscripts, literature, magazines, and scholarly research materials in print and electronic form, primarily pertaining to Zarathushti faith, culture, and history.
FIRES was established in 2010, and is housed and managed by the Zoroastrian Association of Houston (ZAH) Library. It is accessible by all FEZANA Associations and individuals.
In 2010, FEZANA established the FEZANA Information, Research and Education System (FIRES). The mission of FIRES is to establish a centralized print and electronic collection of books, literature, magazines and scholarly research materials, primarily pertaining to Zararthushti faith, culture and history, and to disseminate this information to the public.
Although physically located at the Zoroastrian Association of Houston (ZAH), FIRES has an online presence at www.FIRES-FEZANA.org. Its online catalog is designed to manage a centralized database of all books and resources held at various FEZANA member associations. Currently the catalog is limited to the collections of ZAH library and the Nania-Kanga Patel library of ZAC-Chicago. The Zoroastrian Association of California (ZAC-LA) is currently setting up their library, and it is hoped that in time, all other FEZANA Associations will list their books and resources on the FIRES website. This will enhance the visibility of our rich scholarly resources both within and outside the Zoroastrian community.
The development of FIRES was the result of both national interest and local infrastructure. On the national level, there were several attempts to start a library, but the concept came to fruition in 2008 when FEZANA asked a working group to set up the parameters of a Zoroastrian resource center and invited FEZANA member associations to consider hosting a library. The ZAH library won the prized position due to its existing infrastructure, museum quality furniture and display cabinets, a book and audiovisual collection of 900 titles, and a vibrant speaker program.
A library is more than a space where books are housed. It is also an active agent in the creation of ideas. Under the leadership of Aban Rustomji, the library committee plans a rich agenda of programming and is an excellent scholarly resource. Functions of the FIRES library include:
- Lecture Series – Our annual lecture series continues to attract wider audiences each year. Our first program had 10 participants; a recent lecture series with Prof. Touraj Darayee and Prof. Yuhan Vevaina drew over 150 attendees.
- Manuscript and Archival Support – FIRES acquired four rare Vendidad manuscripts, one of which has been digitized by Professor Cantera in Spain and is available for researchers at www.avestaarchive.org. FIRES also collaborated with FEZANA Journal to scan and upload digitized all copies of the journal. It has begun to scan out of print books, within the limits of copyright laws.
- Historical Preservation – ZAH is privileged to be the recipient of Dastur M. N. Dhalla Memorabilia Trust, which includes silver caskets, scrolls from various anjuman and puchayats, and his PH.D degree from Columbia University. A permanent display case was gifted to the library by the grandchildren and great-grandchildren of the Dhalla family.
- Interlibrary Loans – Our online catalog shows where each book is physically located. We encourage you to visit our line catalog and to request a loan of books from other libraries.
We invite you to check our new book additions, and we appreciate any contribution that you might wish to make.
The mission of FEZANA Information and Research and Education System (FIRES) is to establish a centralized collection of books, manuscripts, literature, magazines, and scholarly research materials in print and electronic form, primarily pertaining to Zarathushti faith, culture, and history, works of art by Zarathushti artists, and collections of Zarathushti artifacts of historical and religious interest. FIRES will also house fiction and non-fiction books by Zarathushti authors.
It will be a functional North American Zarathushti Library housed within the Zoroastrian Association of Houston (ZAH) Library, and accessible by FEZANA Associations and individuals for information and research purposes.
What We Do
- Acquire Resources
- Organize collection
- Provide access
- Preserve and display rare and valuable documents and artifacts
- Record oral histories
- Hold Presentations/lectures by scholars/experts
- Participate in FEZANA educational initiatives
- Facilitate scholarly research
- Digitized manuscripts
- DVD’s and CD’s
- Photographs – print and digital
- Digitized FEZANA Journals
Terms Of Reference
The Terms of reference include guidelines on the loan of books in the FIRES catalog and for donations to FIRES. The FIRES Terms of Reference has been approved by the FEZANA Member Associations.
An important item in the Terms of Reference needs to be emphasized – each Association is asked to provide us with the name of a liaison to FIRES who will disseminate information about FIRES to his/her Association. FIRES is a North American Library and we cannot succeed without the support of our member Associations.
- In support of the FIRES mission, we are asking for one individual from each member Association to serve as a liaison person between its members and FIRES.
- Each FEZANA member Association will nominate a member to be a liaison between the Association and FIRES.
FIRES encourages each Association to start a library at the Association and catalog its contents. FIRES will upload all catalogs to the FIRES website.
- The liaison will disseminate information about FIRES to his/her Association.
- Liaison persons may be asked to assist their Associations in cataloging books, and periodically communicating FIRES progress through their
- Association newsletters or group e-mails.
- The goal of FIRES is to post a catalog of all books and artifacts available in North America online. The online catalog will indicate the cities in which the item is physically available.
- FIRES will help member Associations to catalog their collection of books and artifacts so that it may be posted on the FIRES web site.
- FIRES will encourage storage, accessibility, and dissemination of all material through electronic media where possible.
- FIRES will provide an electronic forum where scholarly or other enquiries related to Zarathushti faith, culture, and history will be addressed.
Facilities and Equipment
- The ZAH Library will serve as the host facility to house the FIRES collection and will be expanded as needed with financial assistance from FEZANA member Associations.
- Equipment approved by FEZANA will be purchased by the Operating Committee and housed in Houston
- If equipment needs to be rented by FIRES on a short term basis the rental cost will be included in the operating budget.
- Maintenance including equipment repairs and upkeep will be included in the operating budget.
Use of Facilities
- FIRES will integrate the online catalogs of member Associations into a unified North American catalog of books available at various Associations.
- Books and artifacts donated to or purchased by FIRES will be marked accordingly and shown in the catalog separately from ZAH’s collection.
- Books and periodicals can be accessed during the operating hours of the ZAH Library.
- Interested persons may use the library outside of the regular operating hours by appointment.
- The Chairman will designate certain books as reference books that will not be available for borrowing.
- If a FEZANA member Association wants to borrow a set of artifacts or books donated to FIRES to exhibit at their Association, FIRES will work with the Association’s liaison to arrange the transfer of materials. All shipping and insurance costs will be borne by the Association.
- Individual members of an Association who wish to check a book or electronic media out of the FIRES library, will go through the appointed liaison of their own Association. The liaison will be responsible for the safe return of all books to FIRES
- Loan of books to individuals not belonging to a FEZANA member Association or to research scholars will be made by the Chairperson of the FIRES Operations Committee on a case by case basis
- The Advisory Board as well as the Chairperson of the FIRES Operations Committee will actively seek donations for FIRES.
- FIRES will gratefully accept monetary donations for purchase of books, electronic media, equipment, furniture, or other approved articles; and for FIRES operating funds.
- The Operations Committee will approve all donations of books or artifacts.
- All gifts to FIRES will be considered the property of FIRES and FIRES will not be able to return gifts to the donor at a later date.
- FIRES will give the donor a receipt for any gift but will not put a value on non-monetary gifts.
- Monetary donations to FIRES will be used for the purpose designated by the donor or, if not specified by the donor, will go into the FIRES general operating fund.
- The Operations Committee will propose a budget for the upcoming year and present it for approval at the FEZANA Annual General Meeting.
- Disbursement of budgeted funds will be co-ordinated through the FEZANA Treasurer.
- Should extra-ordinary expense items occur during the year, they will be sent to the FEZANA President for approval.
The following Advisory Committee members have been selected by FEZANA:
- Rustom Kevala (Florida)
- Roshan Rivetna (Zoroastrian Association of Chicago)
- Shernaz Joshi Verahrami (Zoroastrian Association of Metropolitan Washington)
Operations Committee Members (ZAH Library Committee)
- Nauzer Billimoria,
- Pearline Collector,
- Behroze Daruwalla,
- Rustom Engineer,
- Diana Katgara,
- Darayus Kolah,
- Debra Kolah,
- Sarosh Manekshaw,
- Zubeen Mehta,
- Jehangir Mistry,
- Yasmin Pavri,
- Meheryar Rivetna,
- Aban Rustomji,
- Arnavaz Sethna.
Roles and Responsibilities
- The Chairperson of the ZAH Library Committee will be the Chairperson of the Operations Committee.
- The Chairperson will seek members of the Operations Committee from other FEZANA member Associations.
- The Operations Committee will approve all artifacts and printed material donated to FIRES.
- The Chairperson will appoint one member of the Operations Committee to be the Treasurer of FIRES. The Treasurer will maintain all operating accounts of FIRES and present the financial statements to the Advisory Board once a year.
The committee meets in the ZAH library on the 1st Sunday of each month from 11:00 am – 1:00 p.m.
Other participating libraries
- Zoroastrian Association of Chicago (Nania Kanga Patel Library)
- Zoroastrian Association of North Texas
- Zoroastrian Association of California