Collection Development Policy Summary

For a detailed Collection Policy, please see the Angus L. Macdonald Library's Collection Policy [.pdf]

The Angus L. Macdonald Library collects material in various formats: print, electronic, microform and non-text (e.g. CD and DVD), to support and advance the teaching and research aims of St. Francis Xavier University. The library's mandate is to provide current and relevant information for its primarily undergraduate student population in a timely manner, and to assist the teaching and research goals of faculty.

The library of the 21st century faces many challenges, including the cost of maintaining a first-rate research collection which continues to skyrocket; the explosion in publishing of print resources matched by an equal explosion in electronic publishing which has, in turn, resulted in a plethora of resources from which to choose; newer scholarly publishing models such as Open Access and Institutional Repositories; and an electronically enlightened clientele that expects and demands quick and easy access to resources. The Angus L. Macdonald Library is committed to meeting these challenges as far as its budget allows.

While the library will strive to maintain a collection that meets various needs, it also realizes that no one library can acquire all available knowledge. It therefore participates in inter-institutional borrowing and lending programmes, and has signed a number of licensing and contractual agreements with, for example, RELAIS, NOVANET, CAUL, ASIN and CRKN, as means to expanding the discovery resources available to its clients.

It is the University's and the library's policy to create an atmosphere where the individual can read anything, explore everything and hold any opinion he or she wishes. The library is fully committed to intellectual freedom and therefore provides fair and equitable access to all materials in the collection, which will strive to reflect balance on controversial matters pertaining to race, sex, religion, politics and morality.

Collection Development Guidelines

The guidelines provided in this document cover ways of managing the collection so that it continues to provide adequate instructional and research support to its major stakeholders. They include selection criteria, responsibility for selection/deselection, deselection and preservation, and collection assessment. They are intended to inform the University community and other interested parties about how the collection is maintained so that it remains relevant for the primary users of the Library, and to provide consistency in the acquisition/withdrawal of resources from the collection.

Responsibility for Selection

The University Librarian allocates the budget and is primarily responsible for decisions about what is acquired and removed from the collection. She is assisted in this by Liaison Librarians who also work with faculty, especially the faculty library representatives, to ensure that the collection is current and relevant to the curricular and instructional needs of its primary clients, and who also ensure that there is a balance between what is required for instruction and what is required solely for faculty research and other interests. All material acquired with library funds will be housed in the library.

General Selection Criteria

Collection levels are currently at levels 3a and 3b of the RLG Conspectus. These levels support up to advanced undergraduate and some graduate level courses.

Book/Serial Formats

In choosing between print and electronic formats, the library realizes that the resource needs of disciplines vary and will therefore consider factors such as currency, ease of access, cost and availability when deciding which format best meets the needs of a discipline. With regard to serials, however, stable electronic content will be preferred over print content, the benefits being currency, space-saving and ease of access. While mass market paperbacks are relatively cheap, their acquisition will be undertaken with caution because of their tendency to fall apart when used heavily. The purchase of highly-priced books for the benefit of a few users will have to be approved by the University Librarian.

Multiple Copies: Due to space constraints and to avoid duplication, the purchase of multiple copies of books will not be undertaken. In this regard, the library will not acquire a book already held by the Marie Michael Library, unless it is deemed absolutely necessary to do so. The library will also cancel print serials titles if these are available from a stable electronic vendor.

Two copies of the monographic publications of faculty will be acquired. One copy will be kept in the main collection and the second will be considered an archival copy.

Textbooks will not normally be acquired.

Replacement of Missing and Damaged Books: Only books of core importance will be replaced if lost or if not suitable for repair. Other lost items will be replaced after the consideration of factors such as cost, usage, and currency.

Retrospective Collection Building: The prompt delivery of current content is the over-arching objective of the library. Retrospective development of the collection will therefore be done rarely and only to fill in gaps in the collection where absolutely necessary. Expensive out-of-print books will be avoided unless they are of primary importance to the discipline for which they are sought.

Language: Material collected will primarily be in English. Foreign language material will, however, be collected to support the teaching of French, Gaelic, German, Greek, Latin and Spanish courses.

Translations of works of seminal value will be acquired, if necessary and if funding permits.

Deselection, which is the process by which material that is no longer relevant is removed from the collection, will be performed regularly and jointly by the Collection Librarian and Liaison Librarians on directions from the University Librarian, and with faculty input.

Gifts, i.e. books and magazines, will be considered for the collection only if they meet the guidelines stipulated in the Gifts and Donations Policy and the same selection criteria as for items purchased for the library. Monetary gifts are welcome for acquiring new resources.

Preservation: The binding of serials is performed by a commercial bindery which also repairs damaged core materials. Smaller repair jobs such as loose pages and missing covers are done in-house. The library has embarked on some digitization of text as a measure to open access to a wider clientele.


Music scores and audio/visual resources are acquired to support the music programme as well as programmes such as English, and are housed in the Music Room. The preferred acquisition format is CD and DVD. Some documents and serials available in microformat are also housed in the Music Room.


Excluded from the collection are Realia (such as coins) and children's literature.


The collection will be continually assessed by Liaison Librarians to identify its strengths and weaknesses, for academic departmental reviews, for library planning and to ensure that the collection remains relevant to the goals and objectives of the institution. The assessments will be either collection-centred or client-centred.

The policy will be revised regularly in response to changes in the curriculum, research focus, and scholarly publishing.

For a detailed Collection Policy, please see the Angus L. Macdonald Library's Collection Policy [.pdf]

Library News

Fri, October, 11, 2019

Since the hack of the University’s systems and subsequent shutdown of our local servers in November of last year, library staff have been working to restore access to our digital collections (yearbooks, StFX... Read more

Wed, September, 4, 2019

Get a jump on your papers and research - sign up for one of our Research Skills Workshops today!

Wed, June, 19, 2019

We are happy to announce that access to Gaelstream has been partially restored on a new host ( Read more

Mon, June, 17, 2019

Please be advised that we are migrating our Digital Collections to a new platform over the next few weeks and access to these collections will be limited. If you have an urgent need for items from any of these... Read more

Tue, March, 19, 2019

Please be advised that Google Scholar is not working for off-campus users when accessed via the the Angus L. MacDonald Library website.  Off-campus users will not see the “Check for full text @ X” link, however... Read more