Acquisitions Policy

Acquisitions Policy

Acquisitions Policy

All St. Michael’s undergraduates have access to a wealth of excellent resources in libraries within walking distance of USMC, on U of T’s St. George campus. With this in mind, and with the limited resources available to it, the John M. Kelly Library has chosen to direct its current buying in support of specific subject areas.

The College Programs

Four unique undergraduate programs have been developed at St. Michael’s: Celtic StudiesChristianity and CultureMediaeval Studies, and the Book and Media Studies Program. Each of the College programs involves a number of faculty at the College and the majority of courses from these programs are taught on the USMC campus.

One of the main objectives of the John M. Kelly Library is to acquire resources and provide an instructional level of support for all of these programs. A significant proportion of the overall acquisitions budget is allocated to these areas as the Library works at building collections that support undergraduate, and most graduate instruction, as well as sustained independent study.


As far as theological studies are concerned, the Library aims to be the primary library for Basic Degree (MDiv, MTS, and MRE) students of the USMC Faculty of Theology. The collection makes available the major published source materials required for dissertations and independent research, including 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. Older material is retained for historical research. The specialized and in-depth research needs of faculty and Advanced Degree students are met by the combined library collections of the member institutions of the Toronto School of Theology; the Robarts Library; and many of the other libraries within the University of Toronto. The faculty and staff of the Faculty of Theology benefit from extensive collections in the Kelly Library acquired to support other programs, including Philosophy, Christianity and Culture, Mediaeval Studies, Bioethics, and Celtic Studies. The collection of the Library of the Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies (on the fourth floor of the John M. Kelly Library Building)

Language Departments on the USMC Campus

By 2001, four University of Toronto academic departments: FrenchGermanItalian Studies; and Slavic Languages and Literatures, were located on the University of St Michael’s College campus. The Library seeks to maintain a basic information level collection of up-to-date general materials that will introduce and define a subject and lead to information available elsewhere. Acquisitions focus on dictionaries, encyclopedias, selected editions of important works, historical surveys, some bibliographies, handbooks, and a few major periodicals.

General Support for All Undergraduates

In order to add breadth to the collection and serve the general needs of all undergraduates, basic, or minimal level, support is provided in each of the following subject areas: English; the Study of Religion; History; Classics; the Social Sciences and, to a much lesser extent, Science.

Rare Books, Special Collections, and Other Areas of Interest

The Library continues to acquire books to enhance its rare books and special collections. In some cases, the Library collects in areas which are inter-disciplinary and, therefore, inter-departmental. One such subject area is Bioethics. Courses on bioethics are taught in the Faculty of Theology, the Christianity and Culture program, the Study of Religion department, and the Philosophy department. USMC is also home to theCanadian Catholic Bioethics Institute.

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Prior to 1974, undergraduates at St Michael’s were usually enrolled in one of the ‘college subjects: Classics; English; French; German, or Philosophy and the library collection was originally developed to support research and teaching in these subjects. Since 1974, however, undergraduates at St Michael’s have been enrolled in all of the many disciplines and programs offered by the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Arts and Science. Since then the acquisitions policy of the John M. Kelly Library has evolved to reflect the changing research and teaching needs of USMC.