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Religious Studies Collections Policy: Guidelines

General Considerations

3.1 Languages

Preference is given to material in English. Items in other languages are purchased only when an adequate translation into English is not available, for example, vernacular scriptures. Because of the interest in the state of religion in Canada, French-language works are added as appropriate. The language courses (Classical Chinese, Coptic, Hebrew and Sanskrit) offered by the Dept. of Religious Studies require limited library support.

3.2 Chronological periods

Given the timeless dimension of religion, there are no temporal restrictions. Within individual religions, however, some periods may be emphasized over others; in Judaism, for example, the Messianic era is stressed more than the early period to 1800.

3.3 Publication date

The majority of acquisitions are of current or fairly recently-published materials.  Older works that are especially important or of historical interest may be collected.

3.4 Geographic areas

For religion considered broadly, North America, Europe, Southeast Asia and the Middle East are emphasized. The degree of concentration varies with religion. Church history of Latin America, for example, is collected at a basic level, although individual countries such as Mexico may be at a minimal level. There is also a natural element of interest in the geographical area in which a religious tradition originated and developed. 

3.5 Exclusions

Devotional literature, inspirational material and most works of an apologetic nature are not usually acquired. Textbooks are generally avoided but may be added at faculty's request. As far as possible, titles on Catholicism are referred to Campion for consideration.

3.6 Formats

The library acquires materials in all formats (paper, electronic, microform, etc.), giving consideration to the appropriateness or usefulness of the format. Paperbacks are preferred.
3.7 Gifts

Gifts are added when they fill a gap in the collection or strengthen an existing area. Titles which are narrowly sectarian or essentially propaganda in nature are tactfully, but firmly, declined, except where they are useful as examples of the genre or are historically significant (e.g. Maria Monk's Awful Disclosures).

3.8 Fund Coverage

Works on Eastern religions (particularly Buddhism, Hinduism, and Jainism) published in India are ordered on the Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute allocation. Works on Judaism are usually ordered on the Herman Endowment.

3.9 Co-operative Development

Religious Studies is a co-operative program involving the University, Campion and Luther. Each of the college libraries maintains collections in support of courses taught there. Because sections of introductory courses are offered at each, duplication of standard works is necessary. For advanced courses in upper years, however, duplication should be kept to a minimum.

Consultation is frequently made on matters such as expensive works, new journals, cancellations and withdrawals. In areas of special interest to the colleges (e.g. feminist spirituality at Campion, liberation theology at Luther), Archer Library generally defers to avoid splitting collections unnecessarily.