Saint Paul University
223 Main Street
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
K1S 1C4
Phone: 1-800 637-6859
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Collection Development

Saint Paul University is a bilingual institution specializing in religious studies and philosophy. It consists of four faculties (Theology, Canon Law, Philosophy and Human Sciences ) and a Research Centre. The University confers ecclesiastical degrees by virtue of its pontifical charter. Because Saint Paul University is federated with the University of Ottawa, its civil degrees are conferred conjointly by the two institutions.

The University Library is a non-circulating research library serving an international student population with a high percentage of students at the post-graduate level. The Library's collection is also open to faculty and students from other universities and institutions and to members of the public. The collection is recognized by scholars as the largest theological resource centre in Canada.

  • Responsibility for the selection of resources

    Responsibility for the selection of library materials resides with the Collection Development Librarian under the direction of the Chief Librarian. Recommendations from faculty members are considered a necessary part of the selection process. Students and library staff may also submit suggestions for purchase. All acquisition requests should include as much bibliographic information as possible, as well as an indication that a check of the Library's holdings has been made.

  • Allocation of funds

    The University administration is responsible for approving the annual library budget and for allocating the necessary funds. The Chief librarian prepares the budget and is responsible for all library expenditures. Funds for the purchase of materials are administered by the Senior Library Technician - Acquisitions. Priorities established by the Senate of the University specify that in the case of budget limitations, funds shall be used first for purchases in the areas of theology and canon law, second for purchases in the area of philosophy, and third for purchases in auxiliary disciplines. Specific current items requested by the faculty are also considered purchasing priorities.

  • General selection policy

    The Library selects and acquires materials which support the curricula of the faculties and institutes of the University as well as the research of faculty members and graduate students. Within the subject areas of religious studies, philosophy and medieval studies, the Library aims to purchase at a comprehensive level, i.e., to obtain all significant materials, both current and retrospective. Saint Paul's status as a pontifical university and its long association with the Oblates of Mary Immaculate has ensured that the Library possesses an exceptionally rich collection of materials from the Western Roman Catholic tradition. In addition, the Library strives to provide scholarly research materials on all Christian Churches and theological traditions. This is particularly so for the Anglican end Eastern Catholic traditions in which courses are offered by the University: through the Anglican Studies Programme attached, since 1981, to the Faculty of Theology and through the Sheptitsky Institute for the Byzantine rite. In addition, general works are purchased in a variety of fields to provide a broad cultural perspective for researchers in religious studies and philosophy.

    In the selection materials, no geographical areas or chronological periods are excluded from consideration. Material is purchased in most of the Western languages - English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, Latin, and Greek - as well as in Hebrew, Russian, Ukrainian and other Slavic languages. English and French translations are also purchased whenever possible. Translations of original texts into languages other than English and French are not purchased unless such a translation represents a unique contribution in the subject area involved.

    Materials required for courses taught at the University are always purchased whether or not they fall into the parameters established above. For certain auxiliary disciplines, the collections of the University of Ottawa and Carleton University are considered to be near enough for students to use. In return, students, principally in religious studies and philosophy programmes in these two universities are welcome to use the Saint Paul University Library.

  • Methods and criteria of selection

    The principal tools employed for the selection of materials are issues of periodicals in the fields of religious studies and philosophy to which the Library subscribes. Trade bibliographies and national bibliographies, such as Canadiana, are also consulted. Book reviews , as well as publishers' announcements and commercial catalogues are also frequently used as selection aids. Out-of-print catalogues are checked, although large purchases are not usually made from these sources. In selecting books for purchase, primary criteria are subject, author, length (books with fewer than 100 pages are not normally purchased), and price.

    A file of desiderata is maintained on an on-going basis. Titles which are out of print and not longer available commercially are borrowed from other libraries and photocopied, when this is in conformity with the provisions of the Copyright Act.

  • Collecting levels for subject areas

1. see appendix A

Religious Studies
Level A

     Theology (in all its branches)


     Biblical studies




     Church history


     Canon law


     Comparative religion


     Pastoral studies





Philosophy Level A
Medieval studies Level A
Non-Christian religious traditions Level B
Auxiliary disciplines  

(for materials relating to religious customs and practices; purchases other aspects of anthropology considered in relation to purchases Carleton and University of Ottawa)

Level C

     Archaeology (Biblical archaeology)

Level A

     (other aspects)

Level C


Level D

     Art (Religious)

Level C


Level D

     Communications (Christian communications)

Level B

     (Other aspects)

Level D


Level D

     History and its auxiliary sciences

Level C


Level C


Level B

     Political science

Level D

     Psychology (for pastoral psychology and pastoral counselling)

Level A

     (for classical psychology which is collected in depth by University of Ottawa)

Level C


Level D
  • Policies for special materials

    MICROFORMS: Microforms are purchased selectively but systematically. The Library collects primary and secondary sources which are not available in hard copy but which are important resources for research in religious studies and philosophy.

    PAPERBACK VS HARDCOVER EDITIONS: Because of the high cost of hardcover editions, the Library purchases paperback editions whenever available. Paperback volumes acquired by the Library which are more that 1/2 inch thick are rebound in hardcover before being added to the collection.

    SERIALS: The Library attempts to subscribe to all significant serial publications in the fields of religious studies and philosophy. Complete runs of serial titles are purchased. Back runs of serials which are out of print and no longer available commercially are photocopied, when this is in conformity with the Copyright Act. In the case of serial titles which are infrequently consulted, the purchase of microform copies is considered in order to ensure complete holdings. Serials available as gifts or on an exchange basis are subject to the same selection policies as serials obtainable by purchase.

    GOVERNMENT DOCUMENTS: The Library is not a depository library; consequently, orders must be placed for each publication desired. Purchases of government documents are restricted to materials which support the instructional and research needs of the University, primarily documents which have some relevance to morality or ethics. These materials become part of the general collection.

    RARE BOOKS: The Library has a valuable collection of incunabula and other rarities. Rare books are purchased sparingly, due to budget restrictions, but gifts in good condition in the Library's fields of specialization, printed before 1800, are solicited and gratefully received.

    NEWSPAPERS: Current numbers of the principal national, as well as some foreign, newspapers ( Le Devoir, The Globe and Mail, Le Monde, The New York Times , etc.) are purchased, but back numbers are not kept.

  • Gifts

    The Library has been the beneficiary of many generous donations, and gifts are welcomed unless there are restrictions attached as to their disposition or location. Materials to be received as gifts will be evaluated by the same criteria as materials purchased. Duplicates or titles not meeting selection criteria will not normally be accepted. Should such material be included in a larger gift, they are stored and made available to other institutions or individuals under the supervision of the Chief Librarian

  • Duplication, weeding, replacements, binding

    As a rule, duplicates are not purchased. Exceptions are made for books required for course reserves if the need for additional copies can be justified by the faculty member involved.

    The general collection is not weeded. Materials are occasional removed from the reference collection, but such withdrawals are generally limited to those materials which have been cumulated in more recent publications. Superseded materials are occasionally retained for storage when space permits.

    Lost volumes are always replaced, usually after they have been missing for a period of one year. Books which are out of print and unavailable commercially are borrowed from other libraries and photocopied, when this is in conformity with the provisions of the Copyright Act.

    Paperbacks which are more that 1/2 inch thick are bound. Monographs and periodicals are bound in the library bindery.

  • Resource sharing

    The Library participates in the interlibrary loan network at the university level and provides this service to Saint Paul faculty members and students. The Library accepts interlibrary loan requests from other university, research and special libraries The following materials from the Library's own collection, however are not lent: periodicals, dissertations, microforms, reference works, reserve books and rare books. Requests from individuals are not accepted.

  • Evaluation

    The Library staff periodically evaluates holdings by checking against bibliographies and publisher's catalogues.

Policy review

The Chief Librarian and the Collection Development Librarian undertake a review of the Library's Collection Development Policy on a biennial basis.

André Paris,
Chief Librarian

December 18th, 2001.
Revised: July 5th, 2006.

( Appendix A)

    1. Comprehensive level.
      A collection in which a library endeavours, so far as is reasonably possible, to include all significant works of recorded knowledge (publications, manuscripts, other forms) in all applicable languages, for a necessarily defined and limited field. This level of collecting intensity is that which maintains a «special collection»; the aim, if not the achievement, is exhaustiveness.

    1. Research level.
      A collection which includes the major source materials required for dissertations and independent research, including materials containing research reporting, new findings, scientific experimental results, and other information useful to researchers. It also includes all important reference works and a wide selection of specialized monographs, as well as a very extensive collection of journals and major indexing and abstracting services in the field.

    1. Study level.
      A collection which is adequate to support undergraduate or graduate course work, or sustained independent study, that is, which is adequate to maintain knowledge of a subject required for limited or generalized purposes, of less than research intensity. It includes a wide range of basic monographs, complete collections of the works of more important writers, selections from the works of secondary writers, a selection of representative journals, and the reference tools and fundamental bibliographical apparatus pertaining to the subject.

    1. Basic level.
      A highly selective collection which serves to introduce and define the subject and to indicate the varieties of information available elsewhere. It includes major dictionaries and encyclopaedias, selected editions of important works, historical surveys, important bibliographies, an a few major periodicals in the field.

  1. Minimal level.
    A subject area which is out of scope for the library's collections, and in which few selections are made beyond very basic reference tools.