Collection Development Policy

Guiding Principles


The primary purpose of the Regis College Library collection is to provide adequate resources to support the curricula specific to Regis College. Material will be collected to support the courses offered in the Continuing Education, Basic Degree and Advanced Degree divisions. The Library’s collection should meet the normal needs of Continuing Education and Basic Degree students. The specialized and in-depth research needs of Advanced Degree students and of faculty should be met by the combined collections of all libraries within the University of Toronto.


The collection will meet the accreditation requirements of the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada (section 5.1 of the accreditation standards, see appendix). The Library meets those requirements by virtue of being part of the University of Toronto library system, not as an isolated collection. The Regis College Library contributes to the Common Acquisitions Fund, a joint project of the libraries in the Toronto School of Theology and the University of Toronto Library (see appendix).


The collection will meet the criteria for appraisal of the Ontario Council on Graduate Studies (see appendix). Once again, these criteria are met by virtue of the Library’s connection and co-operation with the University of Toronto library system.


The Library will develop its collection with due regard to the collections and collecting policies of other libraries at the University of Toronto, especially those on the St. George campus. The Regis College Library attempts to modestly increase the titles available on campus rather than unnecessarily multiply copies of titles.


Items will be purchased despite duplication elsewhere on campus if any of the following criteria are met:


  • core resource for a graduate theological library
  • subject of Regis Library specialization
  • required reading and/or on a reserve list for any Regis course


The following additional factors might also justify acquiring an item despite its duplication elsewhere on campus:


  • high demand for or usage of the title
  • direct relation to a course offering, especially if on a course bibliography and/or recommended reading
  • geographic convenience: to provide a copy located east of Queen’s Park
  • availability convenience: to provide a circulating copy (materials at the libraries of the Pontifical Institute for Medieval Studies and the Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies do not circulate)

Collection Levels Definitions


Definitions of the various levels of collection are taken from Guidelines for Collection Development, by David L. Perkins, ed. (Chicago: American Library Association, l979, p. 3-5), with minor changes in wording to reflect our requirements.


Comprehensive: A collection in which the library endeavours, so far as is reasonably possible, to include all significant works of recorded knowledge (publications, manuscripts, other forms) for a necessarily defined field …. The aim, if not the achievement, is exhaustiveness.


Research: A collection which includes the major published 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 an extensive collection of journals and major indexing and abstracting services in the field.


Study: A collection which supports course work, or sustained independent study, that is, which is adequate to maintain knowledge of a subject required for limited or generalized purposes, or less than research intensity. It includes a wide range of 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.


Basic: A highly selective collection which serves to introduce and define the subject and to indicate the varieties of information available elsewhere.


Minimal: A subject area in which few selections are made beyond very basic works.

Subjects and Collecting Levels


Research Level Collecting


  • editions of the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola
  • material about the Spiritual Exercises


Study Level Collecting


  • Roman Catholic systematic theology (additional Bernard Lonergan material is located at the Lonergan Research Institute)
  • Roman Catholic historical theology
  • Christian spirituality with a Roman Catholic specialization
  • Christian ethics, especially in the areas of medical ethics, sexuality, and social justice
  • Biblical studies
  • early church history
  • Jesuitica: spirituality, history, biography, theology, polity, engagement with the broader culture
  • Christian outreach and inculturation


Basic Level Collecting


  • Church history from the Middle Ages onwards (some of this area is covered through systematic and historical theology)
  • Roman Catholic liturgical studies, includes most official liturgical books, at least Canadian versions, when available
  • significant publications of dioceses in Ontario, the Ontario Conference of Catholic Bishops, and the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops
  • canon law, with an emphasis on pastoral applications
  • ministerial formation, both lay and clerical, in the Roman Catholic tradition
  • philosophical theology
  • psychology as relevant for pastoral counselling, formation and spirituality
  • ecumenism, particularly as related to Roman Catholicism
  • interfaith dialogue, particularly as related to Roman Catholicism
  • theological education
  • adult religious education
  • Christian aspects of culture, particularly the visual arts
  • non-Roman Catholic systematic theology including contextual theology


Minimal Level Collecting


  • religious studies, particularly spirituality of other faiths
  • apologetics
  • homiletics
  • philosophy
  • Christian aspects of social sciences other than psychology
  • Christianity and science
  • parish administration
  • Church music (the Faculty of Music Library is the primary resource for music materials)
  • academic language, research and writing skills
  • job-seeking resources specific to theology


No Active Collecting


  • Catholic education, K-12. This area is supported by the libraries at the University of St. Michael’s College and St. Augustine’s Seminary. Resources are also available at the library of the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto.
  • liturgical resources for children

Language Guidelines


English is the primary and, in most cases, the preferred language of collecting. The University of Toronto Library is the principal source for non-English language material.


Key official liturgical books are purchased in both official languages. Ritual books are also purchased in Latin.


Critical editions of the Bible are collected in the original languages. Key or representative translations are collected in Latin, French, German, Italian, Spanish.


Critical editions of foundational Christian texts, such as writings of the Church fathers, are collected in their original language and in English translation.


Non-English language materials will be considered for research and study level collecting areas according to all of the following criteria:


  • the item is an important and desired item but not available in English;
  • the non-English language is the original language of the work;
  • an English translation is not expected within a reasonable length of time;
  • the language is one which is known by at least some of our target users. Material in French, German, Latin, Italian, Spanish-in that order of preference-is more likely to be purchased than material in other languages.



The following additional criteria are considered for adding or discontinuing subscriptions:



  • ongoing cost of subscription
  • availability within University of Toronto, including availability in electronic form
  • which index or indexes cover the journal title and whether these indexes are available, in print and/or electronic form, at the University of Toronto
  • ease of acquiring (e.g., Can the title be ordered through our subscription agent? Do issues arrive regularly or must staff invest much time in claiming missing issues?)
  • length of run already acquired; start date of publication

Format Guidelines


Print is the primary format of the Library’s collection; materials are selectively collected in other formats.


Audio format will be acquired when the item is not available in print format or when the content is best communicated in this format.


Video format will be acquired when the item is needed for class use in this format (appropriate copyright must be available), or when the content is available only in this format or when the content is best portrayed in this format.


Microforms are presently not collected; neither a microform reader nor printer is available in the Library.


Electronic format is generally desired for bibliographic resources; internet accessibility or centrally mounted CD-ROMs are preferred to stand-alone CD-ROMs which are only locally accessible. The University of Toronto Library is a leader in the provision of electronic resources. The majority of these resources are accessible from any campus computer and from computers off campus when a proxy account has been established. Many bibliographic sources for theology and allied disciplines are available in this way as are some key reference tools. The Regis College Library, through the Toronto School of Theology Library Committee and the Electronic Information Resources Committee of the University of Toronto Library, will continue to lobby for the acquisition of centrally mounted bibliographic and reference resources. The Library will acquire standalone electronic resources only for key bibliographic or reference tools which cannot be provided through Internet access or centrally mounted CD-ROMs.


Manuscripts are not generally collected.


Rare books are not generally collected.


Applicable Accreditation Standards


Regis College is accredited by the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada, and by the Ontario Council on Graduate Studies. Relevant excerpts from these accrediting bodies are quoted below.


Excerpts from the Association of Theological Schools Accreditation Standards

(http://www.ats.edu/accredit/ac5.htm Accessed on Feb. 21, 2001)


The library is a central resource for theological scholarship and the theological curriculum. It is integral to the purpose of the school through its contribution to teaching, learning, and research, and it functions as a partner in curriculum development and implementation. The library’s educational effectiveness depends both on the quality of its collections and information resources and on the vision and organization of its administration. To accomplish its task, the library requires appropriate collections, effective information technology, and sufficient human and physical resources.


5.1 Library Collections


5.1.1 Theological study requires extensive encounter with historical and contemporary texts. While theological education is informed by many resources, the textual tradition is central to theological inquiry. Texts provide a point of entry to theological subject matter as well as a place of encounter with it. Theological libraries serve the church by preserving its textual tradition both in print and in electronic forms, for the current educational needs of faculty and students, and for the future.


5.1.2 To ensure effective growth of the collection, schools shall have an appropriate collection development policy. Collections in a theological school shall hold materials of importance for theological study and the practice of ministry that represent the historical breadth and confessional diversity of Christian thought and life. The collection shall include relevant materials from cognate disciplines and basic texts from other religious traditions, and demonstrate sensitivity to issues of diversity, inclusiveness, and globalization to ensure that theological learners and researchers have access to the variety of voices that speak to theological subjects.


5.1.3 Because libraries seek to preserve the textual tradition of the church, they may choose to build unique special collections, such as institutional, regional, or denominational archives.


5.1.4 In addition to print materials, collections shall include other media and electronic resources as appropriate to the curriculum, and ensure access to relevant remote databases.


5.1.5 The library should promote coordinated collection development with other schools to provide stronger overall library collections.

Ontario Council on Graduate Studies


Excerpts taken from OCGS Bylaws and Procedures Governing Appraisals, revised January 2000. (http://www.cou.on.ca/ocgs/HOME/By-laws/Bylaws.PDF Accessed on Feb. 20, 2001)


The Ontario Council on Graduate Studies evaluates the library resources of the Toronto School of Theology as a whole. As a member of the Toronto School of Theology, Regis College Library’s collections and services contribute to the viability of continued standing in the OCGS for the Toronto School of Theology.


The OCGS does not set standards per se, but provides a list of criteria that must be included in OCGS appraisal reports. These are included here to provide the complete context in which the Regis College Library operates for accreditation purposes.


Important Elements for OCGS Library Reports:


  1. What resources do you have on your campus to support this program?
  2. How do students and faculty locate and retrieve those resources?
  3. How do students and faculty find out about resources relevant to the subject, wherever those resources may be?
  4. How is the information students and faculty discover put into their hands?
  5. What assistance do you give students and faculty to locate and gain use of resources relevant to the subject?
  6. How much do you spend on resources for this program?
  7. Is there anything to add to the above?


Collections and Funding


  1. areas of collection emphasis, including statements regarding specific collections (e.g., reference, government publications) and/or libraries.
  2. selection mechanisms: who is responsible, how is it done (e.g., approval plans, firm order, etc.). Include collection policy for discipline as an appendix.
  3. holdings information for monographs, serials and other material types. Gross figures only (e.g., total number of physics subscriptions and total subscriptions in related areas).
  4. funding and expenditure information, including ILL and document delivery expenditures where relevant. This might also be included as an appendix.
  5. some statements regarding cost containment measures (e.g., cancel and replace policies for subscriptions, cancellation projects) may be appropriate (optional).
  6. cooperative agreements (where applicable)


Access to Resources


1. Access to Campus Resources


  • relevant library sites (e.g., branch libraries or other information service points)
  • access to the catalogue; catalogue as gateway
  • access to circulation services
  • study facilities (optional)


2. Availability of Resources to Identify Relevant Information


  • indexes and abstracts for the discipline
  • full text services
  • current awareness tools
  • access to other online catalogues and services
  • Internet resources
  • online search service


4. Provisions of Documents and Information not held locally


  • Interlibrary Loan/Document Delivery: access to service, delivery time, special agreements with other libraries, fees to users, subsidized service (where applicable)
  • Direct Borrowing and IUBP (Inter University Borrowing Project)

Background on the Common Acquisitions Fund (CAF)


The formula for this annual amount is recommended by the Toronto School of Theology Library Committee and is based on each school’s number of full time equivalent students in both Advanced Degree and Basic Degree programs, the number of libraries contributing to the fund, and the fund total (currently capped at $30,000 CDN). The CAF is used to support the participation of TST in the Dealer Selection Order (DSO) programme of the University of Toronto Library. The programme is intended, for theology as for other subject fields supported by UTL, to bring to UTL the first issued monographs of appropriate quality published in each of the designated countries. Since 1975, the UTL Dealer Selection Orders have included theology and cognate subjects, with a part-time selector for theology chosen and funded by TST to oversee TST-supported acquisitions. DSO collecting parameters are specified for each country, and the dealer is instructed to send all publications in the subject area with a few specific exceptions (e.g. polemical works). The DSO plan for each country uses the national bibliography or a standard trade bibliography as the basis of selection.