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Faculty Information Guide

A guide to services and support provided by the Patrick Power Library for Faculty at Saint Mary's University

Library Collections

The Library Acquisitions budget is assigned by the University each year and the funds are distributed among academic departments and programs in accordance with a formula endorsed by the Senate Library Committee. The formula considers several factors, including:

  • The Library acquisitions budget assigned by the University
  • The number of courses offered by each academic department or program
  • The number of course registrations in each academic department or program
  • The average costs of books and serials by discipline
  • The number of monograph loans by discipline

The Library budget year runs from April 1 to March 31. Spending begins with outstanding orders from the preceding year with the objective to expend 90% of remaining funds by December 31.

On average, there is a six week gap from the time an order is received by the Library until the book arrives and is made available to borrow. Publisher or shipping delays could prolong this interval.  Items ordered after January 31 might not be received in time for payment from the current year’s budget and will be carried forward to purchase in the next budget year.

The Library collects materials primarily to support courses taught at the University. Each academic department or program participates in the collection process by appointing a faculty member to act as Library Representative. Some Representatives select all library materials purchased for a department or program, while others ask their colleagues for recommendations.  Books may be selected from vendor-supplied order slips or from a variety of other sources, such as reviews, bibliographies, publisher catalogues and publication notices.

Library Representatives work with designated Collection Liaisons within the Library to place orders for their departments and programs. Please see the next tab for a current list of Faculty Representatives and Collection Liaisons.  Collection Liaisons and the University Librarian are responsible for the administration of Library purchasing guidelines.

 A list of Faculty Representatives & Library Collections Liaisons can be found HERE

Book Selection Guidelines:

  • Orders should be relevant to courses taught at the University
  • Items costing $500 or more are given special consideration (See Special Purchases section)
  • Only one copy of an item will be purchased
  • Material in languages other than English are not purchased, except in support of courses taught at the University
  • Textbooks normally are not purchased
  • Paperback formats are preferred over hardcover

Please provide as much bibliographic detail as possible about the requested item. The Library accepts the following methods for submitting orders:

Purchase requests should indicate the department budget code and be approved by the Library Representative for the department/program.

The library does not purchase books or other materials ordered by faculty on approval. All material ordered for the Library must be ordered through Library Collection Liaisons.

Electronic Books

The Library purchases licenses to e-book packages, and may also acquire e-books as part of consortia agreements.
Recommendations to purchase individual e-books will also be considered when requested by academic departments.
E-books are preferred for:
  • Reference books and other texts not normally read cover-to-cover
  • Books with added utility in electronic format
  • Materials frequently updated or revised
  • Books that support distance programs

Supplementary Material

Where a monograph acquired for the collection comes with supplementary electronic material, the monograph and the supplementary electronic material are catalogued together and placed in the collection.

Where a monograph comes with access to off-campus electronic material (e.g.supplementary exercises on the publisher’s web site), the Library normally does not provide access to such sites. Where a monographic supplement is received with an electronic resource requiring installation of software, the responsibility for installing the software rests with the Library.

The Library retains a percentage of the total acquisition budget to maintain and develop the collection, to pay for numerous electronic resources, and to purchase reference and interdisciplinary materials. An expensive item, costing $500 or more, is not automatically ordered. Normally, an expensive item will be acquired only if:

  • Adequate funds are available
  • The item is not available at another Novanet library
  • The cost is justified by student or faculty need

Electronic information sources (full-text materials, indexes, abstracts, or raw data) are acquired subject to the Library's ability to support leasing and software requirements. All electronic databases acquired with University funds must be approved by the Library in advance of purchase.

Books ordered as RUSH requests are normally acquired from Amazon and given priority processing. The requestor will be notified by e-mail when the book is available to borrow.

When available for individual purchase, books in electronic format may also be ordered as RUSH requests. The requestor will be notified when the e-book is accessible.

The Library offers an email notification service to let Faculty know when a book arrives in the Library. Faculty may ask to be alerted about all the books they order or only selected titles.

Alternatively, Faculty may prefer to request that Holds be placed on all the books they order or on selected titles. Faculty will be notified by email when each book is on the Hold Shelf and available to borrow.

To take advantage of the notification service, please contact the department/program’s Library Collection Liaison.


To allow for monograph purchases, it is recommended that no more than 75% of a department/program budget be committed to serial and standing order subscriptions. Over time the number of subscriptions may begin to take over the majority of a department/program’s budget. Subscriptions should be reviewed periodically to avoid this situation.

When new serial and standing order subscriptions are requested, ongoing funds must be identified to support them.  A department/program may need to cancel one or more existing subscriptions of equal or greater dollar value to leave funds for monograph purchases. Requests for new subscriptions should be received no later than May to acquire all issues in the current year.

The University Librarian has final approval of all requests for new serial subscriptions. 

Requests for subscription cancelations must be received by August 31 to release funds in the current budget year.  The University Librarian has final approval of all requests for subscription cancelations.

In addition to budgets, several factors are considered when making a decision to order or to cancel a subscription:

  • Relevance of the serial to the academic program
  • Availability of the serial at another local library
  • Access to electronic full-text of the serial

If a department/program is unable to supply sufficient orders to expend its allotted budget, the Library Collection Liaison will select and order materials in the discipline. Unspent funds may also be redistributed.

The Patrick Power Library is pleased to receive gifts that contribute to the growth and development of the Library’s collection. For a copy of the Gift Policy, please contact Library Administration (420-5534) or visit the Library website:

For more details about Library collections, please contact Terri Winchcombe, Manager of Acquisitions Services ( / 420-5535).