Collection Development Policy

In keeping with the Christian, Catholic, Benedictine and liberal arts character of the College of Saint Benedict and St. John's University, education at both institutions is value-oriented. Students are challenged in the course of their studies to confront a broad range of human issues through open and honest dialogue and to formulate their own responses.

In this context it is a particular concern of the libraries to foster the habit of responsible inquiry. The libraries, therefore, provide materials which present the full spectrum of opinion on current and past issues.

Two goals guide the selection of materials for the libraries.

  • The first is to provide materials which directly support the academic curricula of the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University.
  • The second is to meet the broader educational, informational, spiritual and recreational needs of the entire CSB/SJU community.

In meeting both goals, the emphasis is on the selection of materials which are of high quality.

It is important to recognize that the availability of materials in the libraries does not necessarily represent an endorsement by either institution or by the library staff of the ideas or opinions they contain.

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Choice Reviews

Final Approved Version 2014; revised 10/2/2015, 6/21/2018

This policy is intended to help librarians collaborating with faculty to work towards defined goals in shaping the library’s collections. It is also intended to inform the community, including administrators, library users, and the general public as to the scope and nature of existing collections and the plan for their continuing evolution. It is a document that should be reviewed regularly and updated accordingly to reflect the current policies relating to collection development in the libraries.

You may make suggestions for adding materials or changing subscriptions using our Book Request Form or by sending e-mail to David Wuolu at [email protected].

Institutional Context

The libraries serve a cooperative partnership of the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University at the undergraduate level, the School of Theology and Seminary at the graduate level, and are also used by affiliated collocated programs and centers of learning. Both primary institutions have missions, visions, and commitments or values statements which define our raison d'être. All of the work done in developing our library collections must ultimately reflect back upon these parent institutions.

We serve the educational community founded by Benedictines in the middle of the 19 th century. Although the monastic communities are now administratively distinct from their respective schools, they share our library collections and services and inspire the intellectual and spiritual life of the community

The Hill Museum & Manuscript Library (“HMML”) is a separately funded and administered library at Saint John’s University. It operates in cooperation with Alcuin and Clemens Libraries. Materials in HMML are available to faculty, staff and all visitors to campus, although many materials are only available for use on-site (“reference”). HMML holds over 90,000 manuscript facsimiles on microfilm, about 45,000 manuscript facsimiles in digital format, and about 20,000 reference works. Materials acquired for the reference collection are intended to support the use of the manuscript facsimiles. HMML also administers the rare book and manuscript collections at Saint John’s University.

The library administers the institutional repository called Digital C[email protected]/SJU that is hosted by BE Press. Through this project the library curates and showcases locally created scholarly and creative works that reflect the intellectual and cultural life of our institutions. It also serves as a way to share video recordings of important events and speakers who come to campus.

Library Mission

We partner with the CSB/SJU academic community and other libraries to support the curriculum and further the institutional missions. Through our facilities and services we enhance learning, teaching, scholarship, and creativity within our Benedictine communities.

Environmental Assumptions

The information environment in which we operate has been shifting rapidly since the invention of the Internet as well as the advancement of mobile technology which, together, have enabled easy access to much of the world’s shared public domain information. Some, but by no means all, of the information services that libraries provided in the past has been superseded by the use of such freely available online information sources. We must look at our holdings in light of the existence of this global network of incredible complexity and richness. We proceed under the conviction that a rich liberal arts learning experience requires combining judicious use of both the freely available and library-provided resources. Some of these resources will be directly available in print and locally housed in the library. Others are electronic databases or subscriptions that are licensed on behalf of the members of the institutions. Beyond the locally available print and electronic resources available to our users, we obtain additional materials from partner libraries in one of the many library networks with whom we cooperate.

Primary Clientele and Focus of Collections

We operate two physical libraries and one joint library service that serves the students, faculty and staff of the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University. This trinity of users make up our primary clientele. We also serve the monastic communities of Saint Benedict’s Monastery and Saint John’s Abbey as well as affiliated guests and collocated programs and centers of learning in an on-site environment, but this does not extend to remote access to licensed databases.

The main emphasis of our collections and library services more broadly is on student learning, although as a secondary effort we support the research of faculty as we are capable given our financial resources. The use of Interlibrary Loan in particular is most often used for the support of faculty research beyond what our local collections can provide.

Intellectual Freedom

The library follows the intellectual freedom guidelines as articulated by the American Library Association (see Intellectual Freedom Principles for Academic Libraries). Our institutions come from a Catholic and Benedictine liberal arts background, and the library attempts to develop and provide access to a collection of materials representing a diversity of views. Indeed it is often the analysis that occurs within this diversity of views which forms the crucible to generate knowledge in a liberal arts experience.

Challenges to Materials in our Collections

In the event that somebody has an objection to certain library materials, this complaint may be reported to the Collection Development Librarian by telephone, email, or in a personal conversation. The Collection Development Librarian will work to determine the nature of the selection process for the item in question and attempt to resolve the issue, however the material will remain available on the shelf until a final determination has been made by the Collection Development Librarian or Library Director, if necessary.

Cooperative Collection Development

It is impossible for any library to have all the materials wanted by its users. We support the principles of cooperative collection development in which libraries work together to attain together what is impossible individually. There are several networks that we partner with to achieve this outcome.

  • Minitex: A publicly supported network of academic, public, state government, and special libraries improving library services in Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota. The libraries work with Minitex to gain discounts and group licenses to many resources.
  • Oberlin Group: A consortium of liberal arts colleges. The Oberlin Group has established lending agreements and cooperative licensing for its members.
  • Minnesota Theological Library Association: A consortium of the five theological libraries as part of the Minnesota Consortium of Theological Schools. The MTLA offers reciprocal borrowing for members and has partnered to deliver ebooks as a consortium and coordinate standing orders and serials.
  • SCELC: Statewide California Electronic Library Consortium: A consortium which arranges group licensing for a variety of resources.


Collection development responsibilities extend from the Collection Development Librarian to the Library Liaisons to particular departments out to Library Representatives in the departments, and ultimately out to all of the faculty, staff and students in our organization, all of whom may recommend purchases of materials and whose needs impact our delivery of services.

We primarily employ a departmental approach to satisfying needs of the scholarly community, as often the requirements of one discipline differ from those of others. Therefore a Library Liaison (a professional librarian) has been assigned to each academic department. This Library Liaison’s responsibilities are to ensure that the needs of the department are heard inside the library, and that requests are channeled to the Collection Development Librarian appropriately. Likewise, the Library Liaisons communicate out to the departments when matters of interest to them need to be shared.

From the departmental perspective, the chair may nominate a Library Representative to be the key point of contact with the library, or the chair may fill this role.

General Collection Guidelines

All materials added to the library whether print or electronic ought to support the curriculum or otherwise engage the primary clientele in a meaningful way that contributes to the intellectual, spiritual, or cultural development or enrichment.

The primary language of instruction is English, and most materials will be expected to be in English, with the exception being made in the case of languages taught here and in the area of theology.

The general audience is that of an adult learner, and with the exception of the Juvenile/Young Adult collections at Clemens Library, materials will be aimed at adults.

Under normal circumstances, highly specialized research-level materials outside of theology will only in rare cases be added if related to the curriculum or there is another justifiable reason for doing so.

Classroom materials such as textbooks and workbooks are not generally added to the library collection, as they are expensive, frequently updated, and maintaining such a collection would not be sustainable or even necessary as students are expected to buy or lease the necessary textbooks for their courses. The exception to this would be textbooks donated or written by faculty members, or in other special circumstances. The library is, however, eager to partner with faculty in the provision of multi-user ebooks which allow for courses to make use of such material and save student the cost of individual book expenses. We also seek to assist faculty with the use of open educational resources, whether it be in using those materials created by others, or the development of our own materials.

For the purposes of clarity there are several categories of material selection criteria which reflect the differing situations according to type of material. These are: Books (print and electronic), Theology, Subscriptions, Media, and Reference Materials. Though there can be overlap and particular items could occupy multiple categories, these are the primary distinctions drawn up in this policy.

Criteria for the Selection of Books (print and electronic)

Note that depending on intended use, a print or electronic book may be selected. We primarily collect in print format for firm orders of books, although this might evolve according to local reading preferences, availability from vendors, and acceptability of licensing terms.

The following will be considered in the selection of books:

  • Relevance to curriculum
  • Appropriateness to primary clientele (language, format, audience, reliability, etc.)
  • Favorable reviews
  • Included in subject bibliographies or other lists of appropriate material
  • Author/publisher reputation
  • Cost
  • Relationship to items currently in the collection or collection strengths
  • Importance to a field or discipline
  • Organization, indexing, scope, currency, and accuracy

The books we buy are typically used to support the undergraduate study level. To a lesser extent we may buy some books to support faculty and student research, although Interlibrary Loan should be the recognized means by which we support low-demand areas.

Special Statement on Ebooks

The library supports initiatives which foster long-term sustainable approaches to eBooks in academic libraries. We support both the Macalester College “E-Book Rights Advocacy” document, and the Oberlin Group Statement on Ebooks & Libraries.

Special Statement on Benedictina

The library had traditionally received monies from the Saint John’s Abbey for purchase of titles of interest to Benedictine heritage. Now that these funds are no longer available, the library must allocate money towards maintaining this special focus central to our institutional identity.

Special Statement on Open Access

The library supports efforts to create open access to scholarly information, and to the extent that it is able will encourage our faculty to do so as well.

Suggested Guidelines for Determining Rare Books

The following are possible criteria used to identify books that ought to be housed in a rare book collection:

  • European books printed before 1800
  • American books printed before 1850, especially history and travel books. Many titles printed between 1820-1850 will not be scarce or valuable so the rarity of these volumes must be determined by the rare books librarian.
  • Limited editions of fewer than 751 copies
  • Association and autographed books of significant importance to the institution
  • Important examples of first editions from nationally known authors or authors connected with the institution
  • Old and contemporary examples of fine printing, binding, and illustration
  • Art books with a value of greater than $500 or at the discretion of the subject librarian
  • Local historical materials not included in the University or Abbey/Monastery archives
  • Complete facsimile editions of manuscripts
  • Original manuscripts of any date
  • The curator of the special collection will collaborate with other librarians to identify any book which is deemed to be of significant intrinsic or artifactual value to deserve special protection
  • Any book that has either been requested for inclusion in the rare books by a subject librarian, or which requires mediated access and monitored use such as controversial works or works that may be subject to intentional defacement.

Faculty Publications

The library seeks to own any book by any author affiliated with either College of Saint Benedict or Saint John’s University, and especially faculty publications. It is greatly appreciated when authors are able to donate copies for the libraries.

Duplication between CSB and SJU, or between print and electronic

The library generally purchases one copy of academic works, in order to stretch our budget further. With our rapid (daily) delivery between campuses, this has become a practical way to blend two collections without total duplication of materials. There are a few notable exceptions to this duplication rule:

  • Liturgical Press titles are often duplicated, due to local interest
  • High-demand titles are often more cost-effective to own at both libraries
  • Important works central to our identity as Catholic, Benedictine liberal arts colleges are duplicated
  • Core, seminal works in any academic discipline taught here are duplicated
  • Key theology works are duplicated

Criteria for the Selection of Theology

Theology has always been a primary focus of collections at the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University, due to the Catholic, Benedictine nature of the institutions, and the existence of the School of Theology and Seminary at Saint John’s University. We also support an undergraduate population which has two theology classes as part of the required curriculum, as well as a theology major/minor.

Therefore, unlike in all other academic areas, in the area of theology we operate as more of a research library. We define “research level” to include all the important reference works and a wide selection of specialized monographs as well as an extensive collections of journals and databases. Traditionally, we have collected the following areas at a research level:

  • Christian Monasticism (originally comprehensive)
  • Benedictine Studies (originally comprehensive)
  • Roman Catholic Church, BX 800 – BX 4795
  • Worship, including the church year, Christian symbols, liturgy, prayer, and hymnology, BV5-BV525

Additionally, there are several areas in which we have collected materials at an “advanced study” level, appropriate for graduate and advanced undergraduate course work. This level includes a selection from currently published basic monographs both current and retrospective, complete collections of the works of more important writers, selections from the works of secondary writers, representative journals, and the reference tools and databases necessary to study at this level. We have collected the following areas at this advanced study level:

  • Christianity – BR
  • Bible & exegesis – BS
  • Doctrinal Theology – BT
  • Ecclesiastical Theology – BV 590 – BV 1650
  • Pastoral Theology BV 4000 – BV 4470
  • Practical Religion – the Christian life – BV 4485 – BV 5099
  • Church unity – Ecumenism – BX 1 – BX 9
  • Protestantism – BX 4800 – BX 9999

Demand Driven Acquisition

In many ways the standard paradigm of collection development based upon a “buy it just in case” philosophy is no longer sustainable, and in many cases not even desirable. The needs of the modern scholar are different than they were years ago. We have now a wide availability of online sources, the ability to rapidly fill Interlibrary Loan requests, and the explosion of publishing in multiple forms combined with inflation and declining budgets. This confluence of factors has rendered a “just in case” approach less than practical, and certainly unaffordable.

The primary direction our collection must evolve in the coming years is to directly respond to user needs, and a “just in time” delivery model is to be blended with a highly selective implementation of our “just in case” paradigm. The library currently uses [email protected] for demand-driven acquisition of eBooks, and we should be open to exploring alternatives for demand-driven purchase of print as well.

One such way that we have already implemented includes a “purchase on demand” through Interlibrary Loan, by which books matching certain criteria are purchased rather than borrowed from other libraries.

Criteria for the Selection of Subscriptions

This section provides a usable framework to inform decisions regarding subscriptions to databases, journals, and other licensed information sources provided by the Library. Although there are a variety of types of resources that fall under the general term “subscriptions” they are similar enough to warrant a general adherence to the principles described below.

  • The subscription is determined by the collection development librarian, liaison librarians, and faculty in the related departments, where applicable.
  • The Library will provide access to the resources that are most central to supporting the academic mission of the institution, including access to the key resources in each discipline for which a major or minor is offered, as well as interdisciplinary resources which support the academic mission.
  • Whenever possible, access to licensed resources should be available for an unlimited number of simultaneous users, exceptions being made when it is not financially or otherwise feasible. This allows for the use of the material in courses involving a number of students.
  • Whenever possible, access to licensed resources should not be burdened by the use of Digital Rights Management software (DRM) unless no alternatives to the DRM exist for the material.
  • Whenever possible, licensed resources should permit sharing within the guidelines described commonly as “fair use.”
  • The cost of the resource must be sustainable by the budget for the foreseeable future. Resources with exponential inflation rates, especially those above 4%, should be carefully evaluated to determine their overall centrality to our mission. Alternatives should be explored in such cases.
  • The mode of sale for journals known commonly as the “Big Deal” whereby packages are created inclusive of all or most content provided by the publisher should generally be avoided in preference to a selective and targeted purchase of individual journals, except in cases where it is not financially feasible based upon our usage of the package.
  • The Library will participate in a consortia license of a resource when the agreement provides an advantage over an individual subscription. Specific consortia include, but are not limited to: Minitex, Oberlin Group, MTLA, and SCELC.
  • For cumulative content such as journals the vendor should provide for archival access to the content through Portico or a similar service.
  • Priority is to be assigned to not-for-profit and society publishers, recognizing our partnership with them in the system of academic and scholarly communication.
  • In the case of third-party databases, a change of vendors will be considered when a new vendor can deliver a superior search interface, offer the same product at a significantly lower cost, or provide other key benefits over the current vendor.
  • Usage reports should be regularly examined to confirm that the product is being used adequately.
  • The uniqueness of a particular subscription will be considered in weighing its value.
  • When recommending cuts to subscriptions, alternative scenarios and the effect upon the quality of library service should be considered.

Criteria for the Selection of Reference Materials

This section provides an overview of how the library’s print and electronic reference collections are managed and developed. The document outlines general responsibilities of library staff.

The mission of the library is “to support the curriculum and further the missions of our institution. Through our facilities, collections and services we enhance learning, teaching, scholarship, and creativity within our Benedictine communities.” (Library Mission Statement, 2012) The reference collection must enhance and engage our students in their learning activities either at the undergraduate college or in the graduate school.

We define reference materials to include informational tools that are consulted in the research process, but not the primary sources used in scholarship (such as books and journals, which are more likely to be read from beginning to end).

The factors to be taken into account when selecting materials for the reference collection include:

  • Relevance to teaching, learning, or research
  • Level of the material
  • Currency of content, where appropriate
  • Value, defined as the combination of price and expected usage
  • Opportunity costs (what are we giving up?)
  • Format
  • Access model (for electronic materials)
  • Availability/quality of viable alternatives that are free or open access on the Internet

Generally, reference materials will be collected in English, except where appropriate to support the specific needs of departments instructing in other languages, such as:

  • Languages and Cultures: French, German, Greek and Latin
  • Hispanic Studies: Spanish
  • Asian Studies: Chinese, Japanese, and Korean (related to what is currently taught)
  • School of Theology/Seminary: Latin, Hebrew, Greek, Aramaic, Syriac, and other

Responsibility for selection of library reference materials rests primarily with the liaison librarians assigned to serve specific departments, in consultation with both faculty and the collection development librarian. Additional selection may be done by the collection development librarian for materials of interdisciplinary interest, or in areas where there is no assigned subject liaison.

Due to the uniqueness of the two-campus arrangement, electronic reference materials are generally preferred to print, to ensure the widest possible access. Additionally, electronic resources provide support to the large numbers of students active in study abroad programs. Efforts should be made to enhance discovery and usability of the reference collection, given available technologies. Exceptional cases, where print is the only option, or where cost is prohibitive, may lead to instances of print being selected, however this should be fairly rare, except for in the case of theology, where we are developing comprehensively.

Policy on the Repair of Damaged Materials

Library materials may become damaged. Damaged materials will be reviewed by the Collection Development Librarian for further action. Criteria to consider may include: usage stats or expected demand, uniqueness and appropriateness of the material to the collection, and scarcity of the item. Materials may either be replaced, withdrawn, or repaired. Repaired books may be done in-house or sent to a bindery.

Policy on Withdrawal of Library Materials

The library collections are evaluated on a regular basis, subject area by subject area. In the process of these evaluations, some materials will be withdrawn. The withdrawn materials may be offered for sale, either to book dealers, to the general public, or to a 3rd party such as Better World Books. Under no circumstances will library materials be withdrawn and sold apart from the formal collection evaluation process.

Weeding the Collection

The following is our joint library weeding policy for the monograph collections in our libraries. In order to make room for new acquisitions and to keep our collections current, worn-out and dated materials are removed from the collections of the joint libraries on a regular basis.

  • If subject collections are to be extensively weeded, faculty members from the appropriate departments are recruited to identify obsolete materials. Librarians may also perform this function in their subject areas.
  • A librarian will review the books selected for weeding and will identify the appropriate means of disposal. Some books are put up for sale to members of the library community, others are sent to MLAC (Minnesota Library Access Center). The library may discard books with no long-term value, with a preference towards sending to Better World Books.
  • Every attempt is made in the weeding process to consider current needs of the curriculum and to retain works of outstanding historical value, particularly to the individual institutions.
  • In all cases the library staff retains the final responsibility for weeding decisions.
  • In the case of theology materials an exception is made because with this material weeding does not take place on an ongoing basis. When theological materials appear to need weeding, whether for reasons of condition, use, datedness, or space constraints, the Collection Development librarian will make the appropriate decision in consultation with a theology faculty member in whose area of expertise the material belongs.


  • The library accepts gifts of books and other material that are appropriate to the collection. A similar procedure of evaluation will take place as with the purchase of new materials, and due to limitations of space, expense of processing, it is not automatically assumed that donated materials will be added to the collection.
  • Donated materials will be added at the sole discretion of the Collection Development Librarian in conjunction with Library Liaison and faculty, consulted as appropriate.
  • For gift books not added to the collection, we either will sell or donate the materials to a vendor such as Better World Books. Our arrangement with Better World Books targets Books for Africa as our charitable donation charity for 5% of the sale price.
  • Typical examples of gifts that we seek are:
    • One-time gifts of money to purchase digital archives
    • Book collections appropriate to a college library such as ours
    • Donations towards our building fund or cash donations to the library material fund
  • The library is not generally looking to add printed periodicals. Unlike with books (for example, through vendors such as Better World Books), we do not have a sustainable option for passing on periodicals and donated periodicals may end up being recycled.

Appendix A: Collections at College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University

Short descriptions of each distinct print collection illuminate the diversity of the library’s holdings.

Main Collections

The main collections at both Clemens and Alcuin are large, reflecting an inclusive view of the liberal arts, i.e., the notion that library users from a variety of disciplines generally want a browsable single stream of materials arranged by subject. Therefore, unless given a very good reason to do otherwise, books normally find their way into the main collections at each library as opposed to being added to a different collection of materials.

Alcuin has approximately 300,000 titles in its main collection, and Clemens almost 170,000. Differences that are related to discipline should be noted: at Clemens we generally consolidate the subjects of nursing, nutrition, chemistry, and women’s studies, while at Alcuin we consolidate computer science and biology, and maintain theology at a graduate level.

Saint John’s Rare Book Collections

The three collections comprise approximately 11,000 print titles, of which about 5000 are in Arca Artium, about 5,000 are in Saint John’s Rare Books and about 500 are in the HMML Rare Book Collection. Each collection also includes several manuscripts. The Arca Artium collection also holds about 6,000 to 7,000 works of art, as well as a reference collection of about 15,000-20,000 volumes.

Music Score Collections

Musical scores, while having a virtual “collection” in our library ILS are in practice interfiled with the main collections at both Alcuin and the BAC Music Library.

Juvenile Collection

This collection of children’s books at Clemens Library is maintained primarily to support the Education Department’s instructional program. A secondary use of the collection is for children of faculty and staff, as well as community members. In 2012 we began using Junior Library Guild as an approval plan for selected types of books, and this is augmented by selections of award-winning books as well as other materials which fit our goals to support an elementary education teacher education program.

Young Adult Collection

This collection was created to maintain materials of interest to upper middle school and high school students, as well as college students interested in (primarily) fiction for young people. It is fairly selective and does not maintain young adult fiction at the level of a public library, for example, but is also using a combination of Junior Library Guild, award-winning book selections, and review- and recommendation-based growth.

Government Documents Collection

The library owns some government documents from its many years as a participant in the Federal Depository Library Program. This collection is maintained in support of the curriculum and is integrated into the regular collection.

Media DVD & VHS Collections

Media Services maintains a growing DVD and a legacy VHS collection. While not growing as fast as in previous years, DVDs represent a cost-effective way for the library to share both educational film and entertainment with the community it serves. This collection largely grows through requests by our students, faculty, and staff.

Media Sound Recording

The library maintains a collection of CDs as well as a legacy LP collection. As in movies, with the advent of streaming music, the growth of this collection has slowed, but it represents a cost-effective way to maintain an intentional and targeted collection of recordings for use primarily by our music program.

Reference Collection

While Clemens Library largely removed the print reference collection, Alcuin still maintains a small set of reference books in print. Primarily used by theology students, there are a number of other frequently consulted materials such as style manuals and dictionaries/encyclopedias which are available for in-house use only.

Periodical Collections

The print periodical collections have experienced dramatic changes in the past decades, including the removal of many titles available online in archive sites such as JSTOR. That said, both Clemens and Alcuin house a fairly substantial run of back issues of many printed journals and magazines, as well as microfilm/microfiche in selected titles. At Clemens there is an integrated back-file, but at Alcuin the back-files are split between 1985-current and pre-1985. The current plan is to integrate these files and have one stream of periodicals, but to maintain two separate reading rooms for current general interest titles and theology.

Since we no longer generally purchase microfilm of any format, print is the preferred non-digital way of archiving important materials, and so these legacy collections should be maintained as long as they support learning and research, or in cases where they represent an important part of our cultural heritage and identity as Catholic, Benedictine institutions.

Browsing Collection

Alcuin has maintained a separate collection of materials, largely current popular fiction, but with some nonfiction mixed in. This collection represents the current five years, and materials which are older are evaluated on the basis of use and other merit to determine whether they should be moved to the main collection or sold after they exceed five years old.

Artists’ Books

The artists’ book collection will support the present and anticipated instructional and research needs of the College of Saint Benedict and St. John’s University. The collection will reach across disciplines and serve a broad range of interests. As such, the collection will represent artists’ books and their historical development.

Primary areas for the collection include artists’ books from the 20th century that are significant based on the artist or publisher. The collection will consist of books that represent artists from the 20th Century, but every effort will be made to collect the books of highest quality. The collection will include a range of types of artists’ books including fine press books, one-of-a-kind artists’ books, avant-garde books, conceptual art, photographic volumes, limited editions, handmade papers, among others. Where possible, facsimiles or rare books prior to the 20th century will be collected to complement the teaching aspect of the collection.

Readership level:

The CSB Artists’ book collection will include work appropriate to undergraduate students and basic faculty research.

Geographic level:

No geographical area will be excluded from the collection; however, particularly St. Joseph, Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota and the United States as a whole will be important for collection purposes.

Chronological level:

Chronological periods covered will primarily consist of the 20 and 21 st century.

Special subject and other emphases:

Artists’ books by women and books dealing with issues related to gender will serves as an important component to the collection.

Books that are created by artists who have some connection to the College of Saint Benedict/Saint John’s University or the surrounding area will likewise be an important part of the collection.

Artists’ books that have been commissioned by the College of Saint Benedict/Saint John’s University will be collected extensively. Artists’ books commissioned by Gray Wolf Press or fine press books sponsored by or supported by Gray Wolf Press will be collected extensively. Other possible books published by Gray Wolf Press that might be appropriate to this collection will be collected selectively.

Types of Collections:

The collection will include artists’ books of all types: unique bindings, limited editions and unique artists’ books, among others.

Trade books and reference books, museum catalogs and other monographs will not be collected as part of this special collection.

University Archives

The Archives of the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University collect, preserve and make available materials that illustrate the history, activities, programs and culture of the institutions [including SJP, HMML and the Collegeville Institute] which have enduring and significant historical or research value. These materials, which may be print or digital, include the records of administrative offices, academic departments, faculty, administrative and student committees, and faculty and student clubs; institutional and student publications; images (photographs, slides, and audiovisual materials); and memorabilia and other ephemeral materials.

Types of records include: Policy statements and decisions, accreditation reports and supporting documentation, annual budget and audit reports, agenda and minutes of meetings, annual reports, committee and task force reports, subject files concerning projects, statistical summaries, press releases, correspondence and memoranda, and materials created in the process of the institutions’ carrying out their mission.

Prep School

The Library/Media Center at the Prep School contains a collection of books which may be requested by patrons of CSB/SJU using a book form on the web site. Their collection is cataloged in MnPALS.

Clemens Special Collections

This collection will serve as a complement to the rare books collection of St. John’s University which includes illuminated books and manuscripts, books on book illustration, binding, printing and books on the history of printing.


The University of Minnesota maintains a large off-site storage area for books called MLAC, and CSB/SJU has given approximately 50,000 volumes to this space. When requests are made for materials housed in MLAC we retrieve the item and then it is cataloged in our library. So materials requested once are returned to Alcuin or Clemens.

Digital Commons @ CSB/SJU

The Institutional Repository of our community functions as a showcase and warehouse for locally created scholarly and creative works. Included currently are book galleries, publications series, lectures series, and a few specific journals. The intent is for current students, faculty, and staff to be able to contribute their works and share them on the global stage.