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Acquisitions Services

Who we are, what we do

Acquisitions Services at the Patrick Power Library buys the books, ebooks, serials, electronic databases, films, and videos that support SMU teaching, learning and research.

Staff in the department manage orders, payments for purchase, lease and other access of library materials.  Titles in various formats are acquired from all over the world for every subject area.

Manager  Terri Winchcombe 902-420-5535


Acquisitions Staff Heather Saunders 902-420-5537
  Megan McCarthy 902-491-6320
  Greg Hilliard 902-491-6319
  Trish Grelot 902-491-6318
Billing/Shipping Address Patrick Power Library (SMU6500)
  Saint Mary's University  
  923 Robie Street  
  Halifax NS B3H3C3  
For Questions Related To… Ask...
1st Floor Serial Selection & Moving Serials to 3rd Floor
Acq Budget Terri & Heather
Annual Reporting Terri
Book Orders Greg
Books - Rush ordering, processing Trish
Books (Received) Trish
Cancellations Terri & Megan
Electronic Resources Terri & Heather
Labels - Serials and Serial Boxes Megan
Looseleaf Megan
Mail Megan & Trish
Newspaper Weeding Megan
Newspapers Megan
Packages Received Trish
Pinterest Heather
Print Serials Check-In Megan & Trish
Request a Report Heather & Terri
Serial Renewals - Mail Notices Megan
Serial Subscriptions Megan
Serials News Megan
Stats (Usage, Reshelving, Carl…) Megan, Terri & Heather
Weekly Financials Heather

Annual - Issued once a year, every year. Often ordered as standing orders with vendors.

Approval Plan - Automated selection of book titles, based on set criteria. 

Bindery - Commercial (off campus) site which turns loose issues of periodicals into bound volumes and repairs books. Materials at the bindery are not available for approximately one month. 

Bound Periodicals - Back issues of periodicals which have been sent to the bindery.

Check-in - The ongoing process of recording the receipt of each issue of a newspaper or periodical.

Claiming - A notice from a library informing the publisher or subscription agent that a specific issue of a newspaper or periodical on subscription, or item on continuation order,  has not been received within a reasonable time, with a request that a replacement copy be sent. 

Collection Liaisons - The people who are responsible for developing the library's collections.

Current Periodicals - The most recent issues of periodicals. Usually, but not always, the current year.  Some shelved in the First Floor Reading Lounge.

EDI - Embedded Data Invoicing

Firm Order - A direct request to order a book.  The request can come from students, faculty, staff or librarians. An order placed as a onetime purchase, usually of a monograph, score, or media.

Flags - Colored slips of paper that are put in a book to indicate special cataloging or processing is needed.

Fund Code - The system used to catogorize subject areas in our budget ledger.  All resources are charged to a fund code. 

Hold/Notify - When a book arrives, the person who requested it is notified that it is available and ready to be checked out once it is catalogued.  The book is held for the person at the borrowing desk.

InterACQ - Midwest's ordering platform.

Journal - A periodical devoted to disseminating original research and commentary on current developments in a specific discipline, subdiscipline, or field of study, usually published in quarterly, bimonthly, or monthly issue sold by subscription.

Notify - When a book arrives in the library, the person who requested it is notified when the book is catalogued

Oasis - Proquest's ordering platform.

Patron Driven Acquisitions for ebooks (PDA) - Ebook records are loaded into the catalog monthly, based on set criteria.  When the title is accessed 2 times, it triggers an automatic purchase.  Once a month, we receive an invoice of the loans and purchased titles.   Cataloging is notified of purchases and the ebook holdings location is changed from Novanet to SMNET.

Periodicals - A publication issued at regular intervals, usually monthly or weekly

Serials - Generic term for regularly or irregularly published recurring materials. Includes periodicals, journals, annuals.

Shelf-ready - These are books that come with some of the processing already completed by the book vendor.  The book will be property stamped, a bookplate and barcode affixed and a call number placed on the spine.

Standing Order - An order placed by a library with a publisher,  jobber,  or dealer  to supply each volume or part of a specific title or type of publication as published, until further notice.

YBP - Yankee Book Peddler. Our secondary book vendor.  We order ebooks from EBL, EBSCO and Ebrary through YBP.

General Acquisitions Information

Student Assistant

Term Responsibilities

1. Open mail

2. Newspapers

  • weeding and monthly changes
    • date stamp, staple, check-in
    • place new papers on current month shelf
    • when the first issue of the new month comes in, take PREVIOUS month stacks off the shelf. Move CURRENT month stack to PREVIOUS month shelf, place new issue on current month shelf

3. Process received issues

  • shelve current display issues & tidy
  • Jan – whenever de-dotting project
    • Remove from current display shelves
    • Remove green dots
    • Put in chronological order (latest issue on top)
    • List any missing issues by title and missing issue number or date
    • Change status of de-dotted issues
    • Label pamphlet box
    • Give to CL3 serials for checking
    • Shelve in stacks once checked

4. Vendor reports

  • Enter report in order log note.
  • Keep any cancelled orders or standing order reports separate. Give to Trish.

FOAP Description
71360 CRKN
72325 Elec Media Partial HST Rebate
72327 Library Books Part HST Rebate
72330 Library Books Full GST Rebate
72335 Periodicals Full GST Rebate
72336 Periodicals Part HST Rebate
72329 Library Acquisitions Freight
77820 Minor Software and Licenses

Job Descriptions



Position Description

TITLE:  Library Clerk III (Acquisitions/Document Delivery)

Dept and/or Faculty                                         Patrick Power Library– Acquisition/Document Delivery

Job Description #:                                            100321

Salary Scale:                                                     NSGEU, Group 4

Summary of Duties


Under the supervision of the Manager, Acquisition Services, the Library Clerk III receives print monographic materials, prepares invoices, recommends payment, receives serial issues and processes items for shelving.

Document Delivery

Under the supervision of the Information Systems Librarian, and the daily direction of the Library Assistant V (Document Delivery), the Library Clerk III is responsible for processing requests to ensure the timely delivery of books and documents through the Library’s Document Delivery / Interlibrary Lending Services (ILS).

Work Performed


1. Monographic Materials 40%

  • Opens and examines shipments of books and other library materials, receives items in library ILS.
  • Verifies invoice information; adds invoices to ILS; calculates taxes; recommends payment of invoices.
  • Initiates claims for outstanding materials and receives and processes vendor order status reports in the ILS.
  • Liaises with vendors to resolve problems, identifies duplicated or damaged items and processes returns.
  • Receives vendor status reports and takes appropriate action such as reporting order status to subject liaisons and searching online bookstores for materials.
  • When searching online bookstores, identifies appropriate materials, places them in the shopping cart and notifies the manager.

2. Serials 15%

  • Receives, opens and distributes external and internal mail. 
  • Receives and accurately records serial issue details in the ILS; processes items for shelving; shelves issues; initiates claims for overdue or missing issues.
  • Files loose-leaf updates; prepares pamphlet boxes for stacks.

3. Miscellaneous 5%

  • Trains student assistants in serials and mail procedures.
  • Liaises with cataloguing systems relating to the processing of standing order and monographic materials and electronic books.
  • Assists with Library projects, produces reports, and maintains records and data.

Document Delivery

4. Novanet/CAUL Express Processing 5%

  • Processes incoming/outgoing books and articles for Saint Mary’s and other library users, using applicable computer software.

5. Interlibrary Lending Processing 10%

  • Receives interlibrary lending request via email, mail, or other means. 
  • Routes and processes books and articles for other libraries, using applicable computer software.

6. Interlibrary Borrowing 10%

  • Acts as backup to Library Assistant V (Document Delivery) as needed using interlibrary loans databases and software to verify, locate, order and record interlibrary loans.

7. Materials Retrieval, Preparation and Processing 5%

  • Verifies, locates and retrieves physical books and journals in the Library using the Library of Congress classification and electronic materials by searching various licensed online databases.
  • Photocopies and scans materials as required.
  • Arranges and organizes shipment of materials as required, according to established procedures.
  • Maintains detailed records and counts of all transactions, manually and/or using document delivery software.
  • Records patron and materials transaction information using Novanet circulation module.\

8. Materials Packaging/Unpackagaing 5%

  • Unpacks and processes incoming materials.
  • Packs, labels and records materials to be shipped by mail and courier.

9. Communication/Customer Assistance 5%

  • Assists staff and library patrons with issues and concerns regarding document delivery.
  • Communicates with patrons, other libraries, and services, by telephone, e-mail or other means throughout the transaction process.
  • Problem solves difficult and unusual requests, including unfillable requests, overdue, missing and damaged materials.
  • Oversees the work of student assistants, provides assistance and guidance.

11. Performs other related duties as assigned.         

Qualifications Required

  • Library & Information Technology (LIT) Diploma. 
  • Minimum six months related experience.
  • Strong customer service skills.
  • Excellent attention to detail and accuracy.
  • Strong organizational skills and ability to function independently and as part of a team.
  • Knowledge of MS Office, internet and e-mail applications.
  • Good working knowledge of an academic library and its resources.
  • Strong communication skills.

Last updated: January 2014




Position Description

TITLE: Library Clerk IV

Dept and/or Faculty                            Patrick Power Library– Acquisition Services

Position #:                                           100643  

Salary Scale:                                       NSGEU, Group 5

Summary of Duties

Under the general supervision of the Manager of Acquisition Services, the Library Clerk IV coordinates all budget activities in Acquisition Services.  The Library Clerk IV also coordinates purchases of electronic packages and databases. 

Work Performed

1. Co-ordinates Acquisition Services staff 10%

  • Provides guidance and assistance to Library staff in Acquisition Services Department.
  • Assigns and directs the work of the Department in the absence of the Manager of Acquisition Services

2. Provide Technical Assistance 10%

  • Provides assistance to staff in the use of the integrated library automation system (ILS), computer software programs and other office equipment.
  • Produces documents using various software packages.

3. Budget Coordination 45%

  • Verifies the work of Invoicing Clerks; performs mathematical checks.
  • Codes and records invoices; forwards to Financial Services for payment.
  • Receives, processes, and mails completed cheques.
  • Executes commands to expend funds on automated system and verifies invoice totals.
  • Adds money to the ILS budgets so that items can be purchased; transfers between the budgets in the ILS to cover purchases.
  • Tracks fund balances and expenditures in ILS and Banner; provides weekly fund balance and expenditure reports to manager and subject liaisons.
  • Matches vendor invoices to the Acquisitions VISA prior to reconciliation by the manager; reconciles vendor statements.
  • Compiles the annual departmental spent report; compiles ad-hoc spending reports.
  • Monitors deposit accounts held with vendors; monitors departmental budgets.

4. Electronic Materials 30%

  • Places orders for all database/CRKN/CDROM purchases and monitors renewal, payment and receipt of the same.
  • Monitors Library of Congress orders and receipts.
  • Verifies invoice information for databases, CRKN and CDROM purchases; adds invoice to ILS, calculate taxes and recommend for payment.
  • Maintains files of electronic materials.

5. Miscellaneous 5%

  • Liaises with vendors and publishers to resolve shipment, invoice and credit problems and any other issues that may arise.
  • Liaises with CCRA and custom brokers and SMU Procurement.
  • Acts as liaison for all related accounts payable transactions (serials and monographs) in the Acquisition Services Department.
  • Maintains filing system; compiles statistics; produces required reports.
  • Assists in the production of student IDs during registration.
  • Provide back up for Library Assistant II, Library Clerk III (Monographs) and for all invoicing.

6. Performs other related duties as assigned.

Qualifications Required

  • High School Graduation.
  • Minimum two years related experience.

Last updated: January 22, 2009



Position Description

TITLE: Library Clerk IV (Serials)

Dept and/or Faculty                                         Patrick Power Library– Acquisition Services

Position #:                                                        100317

Salary Scale:                                                      NSGEU, Group 5

Summary of Duties

Under the supervision of the Manager, Acquisition Services, the Library Clerk IV (Serials) orders, processes invoices and monitors receipt of all print and electronic subscriptions.  Maintains access to individual subscriptions in the knowledgebase and provides backup to Library Assistant IV Cataloguing & Metadata for management and troubleshooting access problems for databases and subscription packages and assists with Core Serials database.

Work Performed

1. Subscription Orders and Payment  45%

  • Receives new standing order and serial order requests from subject liaisons.
  • Verifies bibliographic information, cost and format for new subscriptions.
  • Acquires and loads full marc records into the cataloguing database; performs copy cataloguing.
  • Places order with appropriate vendor.
  • Receives and verifies accuracy of subscription invoices, calculates appropriate taxes, recommends payment; works with vendor to resolve invoice errors.
  • Identifies print and electronic overlap and duplication of subscriptions.
  • Ensures invoices are paid against correct orders and budgets.
  • Maintains spread sheets of subscriptions, payments and access.
  • Calculates anticipated cost of subscriptions and encumbers the amount in library system.

2. Subscription Issue Receipt and Access 45%

  • Records serial issue arrival in library system, monitors continuity of receipt of all subscriptions, initiates claims for missing or overdue issues.
  • Sets up and maintains eJournals access in SMU knowledgebase and vendor sites.
  • Monitors access to electronic subscriptions and troubleshoots access problems.
  • Provides backup to LAIV Cataloguing & Metadata for management and troubleshooting problems for databases and subscription packages.
  • Assist LAIV Cataloguing & Metadata with Core Serials database.
  • Investigates lapsed subscriptions, negotiates with suppliers to ensure receipt of or access to back issues.
  • Communicates any subscription changes (cessations, title changes, etc.) to subject liaisons.
  • Processes items for shelving; files loose leaf updates; prepares pamphlet boxes for stacks.

3. Miscellaneous 10%

  • Initiates and composes correspondence on various administrative matters.
  • Maintains usage records; produces required reports.
  • Receives, opens and distributes external and internal mail.

4.   Performs other related duties as assigned.                                                                              

Qualifications Required

  • Library & Information Technology (LIT) Diploma. 
  • Minimum six months related experience.
  • Excellent customer service skills.
  • Excellent attention to detail and accuracy.
  • Strong organizational skills and ability to function independently and as part of a team.
  • Excellent knowledge of MS Office, internet and e-mail applications.
  • Good working knowledge of an academic library and its resources.
  • Excellent communication skills.

Last updated: October 2013


Position Description

TITLE:  Library Assistant II

Dept and/or Faculty                             Patrick Power Library Archives, Acquisition Services/Reference and Research

Position #:                                           100339

Salary Scale:                                       NSGEU, Group 5


Summary of Duties

Under the supervision of the Manager of Acquisition Services, the Library Assistant II performs pre-acquisition bibliographic searching, adds orders for new materials (MARC records and items) to the library catalogue ensuring zero duplication.  Coordinates loose-leaf activities.  (45% split position).

Under the supervision of the Reference and Research Librarian, the Library Assistant II provides reference service to University patrons and the general public; instructs library users in the use of library resources.  Co-ordinates the ordering, processing, maintenance and filing of materials within a separate collection of telephone directories (30% split position).

Under the Supervision of the Librarian responsible for Archives, Special Collections, and Records, the Library Assistant II helps monitor the public areas of the archives and assists patrons; handles the submission process including binding and online posting; and assists in general archives duties (25% split positon).

Work Performed


1. Print and Electronic Book Orders 40%

  • Receives requests for new books organizes and prioritizes orders by departments; checks for available funds.
  • Assists department head in analysis of budget expenditures by reporting budget balances for each subject area.
  • Locates and downloads full MARC records into the library catalogue.
  • Assigns the appropriate vendor for each book request; places order in library and/or vendor system, encumbers money.
  • Sends files from vendor to Novanet for upload to the library system. Reviews order load reports and determines appropriate action.
  • Maintains files of orders placed.

2.  Miscellaneous 5%

  • Liaises with library staff in other departments.
  • Generates all required reports.
  • Maintains records and statistics.

3. Performs other related duties as assigned.


1.  Reference and Research activities: 25%

  • Consults with faculty, student and other researchers (the SMU Community) about their research, either in-person, by phone, by email or through chat/text messaging, accommodating the unique characteristics of the many diverse demographic groups represented on campus.
  • Determines effective strategies for the researcher to use in supporting their research, recommending and teaching how to use:
  • library web pages to find reference materials to assist the researcher who requires foundational knowledge on their topic;
  • library catalogue, using unique search terms and strategies to find relevant books, ebooks, government documents and other materials to complete their literature search and review or to support a wide variety of curriculum learning requirements;
  • library databases, using unique, relevant, database specific search terms and strategies to find relevant journal articles, trade publications, magazines and newspaper articles to complete their literature search and review;
  • external resources, using search engines and acquired specialist and database specific knowledge to find relevant statistics, data, and websites to complete their literature search and review;
  • citation style handbooks, resources and software to properly cite their research sources.
  • Consults internally with other library staff and externally with other library and information organizations to ensure the researcher gets access to the most appropriate research materials available.
  • Maintains current awareness of library web pages, internal library catalogue systems, commercial databases, and external sources of information available through government and other library and information organizations’ web sites.
  • Contributes to professional development activities that increase current awareness of relevant tools and resources, sharing this knowledge with other staff, formally and informally.
  • Assists in the development of policies and procedures for the research help service.
  • Assists in training and mentoring of graduate students and other new staff providing the Research Help service.
  • Contributes to the day-to-day operations of the Research Help service and communicates with other Research Help staff through email and blog communications.
  • Assumes responsibility for scheduled shifts on the Research Help desk; responsible for finding a replacement and communicating schedule changes initiated by them to all Research Help desk staff.
  • Documents information about the assistance provided by the research Help desk through the recording of quantitative and qualitative data (eg. Statistics and descriptive summaries).
  • Ensures the general security of people and facilities located in the Reference  and Research area of the library;, ensures the adherence of policies and procedures by all library users.
  • Contributes to ongoing and future projects that improve student success through research services (eg. Text messaging services, online services, outreach services at locations throughout campus).

2. Workbook Program 5%

  • Marks essay-type workbook and research strategy assignments and forwards results to appropriate faculty members; provides written feedback to students and faculty.

3. Performs other related duties as assigned.


1. Monitor Archives Reference Area 5%

  • Monitors the archives public area during open hours.
  • Assists visitors to the archives with research requests and photocopying as needed.

2. Process University Theses 15%

  • Accepts and manages any theses related material dropped off by students, including electronic submissions.
  • Liaises with students and/or faculty if theses submission is missing relevant documentation or needs correction.
  • Arranges for binding of theses as needed, and for archiving of paper copies.
  • Enters full-text electronic theses into the online Institutional Repository, including relevant metadata.

3. General Archives Duties 5%

  • Processes and/or list archival and records centre material.
  • Updates archives finding aides.
  • Shelves and maintains special collection stacks.
  • Assists in adding electronic records to the Institutional Repository.

4. Performs other related duties as assigned

Qualifications Required

  • University degree
  • Good working knowledge of the library and its resources
  • Minimum six months related experience
  • Strong customer service skills.
  • Excellent attention to detail and accuracy.
  • Strong organizational skills and ability to function independently and as part of a team.
  • Knowledge of MS Office, internet and e-mail application
  • Strong communication skills.


Last updated: March 2015