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About Cardinal Beran Library  

Here you will find basic information about the Beran Library
Last Updated: Feb 20, 2017 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

Collection Development Print Page

Collection Development




Updated Summer 2013
Prior versions 2008, 2005, 1998, 1992, 1989



Collection Development Responsibilities

 The Library Chair is responsible for maintaining an overall view of the total collection, especially with respect to curriculum resources.  The library staff research gaps in the collection and input from the faculty with expertise in a specific area is sought.  Collection guides and bibliographies in the specific areas are consulted when new courses are added.  The Library Chair works with the faculty member involved in the course to identify core titles.

 The Library Chair sets the broad collection priorities; faculty, staff, and users make recommendations to the Library Chair who has the final responsibility for selection.  The Library Chair in consultation with the Dean of Libraries or Rector if necessary resolves conflicts.


Satisfying its mission, the objective of collection development for the Cardinal Beran Library is to acquire materials, regardless of format, that support and supplement the academic objectives and programs of the University of St. Thomas School of Theology, Center for Pastoral Studies and the formation programs of St. Mary’s Seminary.  Areas of emphasis reflect academic and formation needs:  scripture, sacraments, church history, systematic and moral theology, Middle Eastern & Eastern religions, dogma, homiletics, liturgy, chaplaincy, counseling, ethics & social justice, pastoral & spiritual formation, and catechesis.

Scope of Coverage

For both books and periodicals (serials), the primary language acquired is English.  Theological titles in Spanish are acquired as a second priority.  Additionally, relevant titles in Latin, French, German, Italian, Greek, and Vietnamese are purchased.


Traditionally, the library has focused on paper resources.  Cost and usability of electronic resources in web-based formats are considered before purchase.  Accessibility to both on- and off-campus users is now an important factor as the USTST expands the diaconal program.  Electronic resources are an increasing aspect of the collection.

Full membership subscription in the USCCB provides the library with a large collection of pamphlets on relevant Roman Catholic topics.  NCEA is a source of pamphlets relating to Catholic education.  Additional pamphlets are not intentionally acquired.  When the format of a useful item is a pamphlet, it is included in the pamphlet collection.

Video (tapes or DVD) are acquired at the request of the faculty.  They are primarily used to supplement teaching.   A few theatrical movies with religious themes are added for general use or in connection with the Catholic Intellectual Tradition programs. 

Laboratory manuals, workbooks, games, tests, AV materials, microforms or kits are not intentionally collected. Obsolete formats are no longer being supported.

Periodical Collection

In 1982/83, the Library Committee undertook an extensive review and evaluation of the periodical collection with the objective of eliminating titles which were deemed of little or no value for our academic programs, or which duplicated titles held by and/or more useful to Doherty Library.  In 2008, the titles were again screened by the Library staff.  Indexing was a key factor in retention.  The availability of full text online resources was a new factor for this review.  In 2013 the bound periodical collection was weeded of non-theological titles.  The bound periodical collection is now perceived as mainly a repository for print versions of Catholic periodicals. 

Recommendations for titles are encouraged, and Faculty input is sought.  New titles require a review by library staff, to ascertain indexing or appropriateness.  Faculty, staff, and students make suggestions.  Representative local, national and international newspapers that reflect formation and academic needs are acquired.  The Library primarily relies on Ebsco, and Harrassowitz to manage serial and standing orders.  Back issues of most indexed titles are bound.


The library acquires and preserves material relating to the history, development and character of the Cardinal Beran Library at St. Mary’s Seminary. Secondarily, the archives may collect materials relating to St. Mary’s Seminary. The primary repository for these materials is the archives of the Galveston Houston Archdiocese. Refer to the archives collection policy for more information.  


Recommendations are welcome from all users of the library. Materials are acquired at the discretion of the Library Chair with consideration of the collection development policy. Faculty in their particular area of study, as well as the Dean of the School of Theology and/or the Rector are consulted as needed, and all Faculty (Academic and Formation) are encouraged to make recommendations. 

Criteria for Selection

There are various points to consider in deciding on titles to acquire for purchase.  These are also issues to weigh when deciding on accepting gifts, or deciding to withdraw titles. Among them are: author, content, publisher, reviews, inclusion in bibliographies, price and availability, potential use, relationship to other items in the collection, availability in other locations, format, ease of use, space and ongoing expenses, including maintenance and equipment.

Bibliographic Selection Resources

Various different resources aid in the selection of materials.  Some useful print titles for retrospective collection checking:

Dulles, Avery and Patrick Granfield.  The Theology of the Church:  A Bibliography. New York:  Paulist Press. 1998.

Gorman, G. E. and Lyn.  Theological and Religious Reference Materials. 3 vol. Westport Connecticut:  Greenwood. 1984.

Johnston, William M.  Recent Reference Books in Religion; a guide for students, scholars, researchers, buyers, & readers. Downers Grove, Illinois:  Intervarsity Pr. 1996.

McCabe, James Patrick.  Critical Guide to Catholic Reference Books. 3rd ed Englewood, Colorado: Libraries Unlimited. 1989.

Stewart, David R.  The Literature of Theology: A Guide for Students and Pastors.  Rev. and updated. Louisville: Westminister John Knox Press. 2003.


The library seeks to provide opposing sides of controversial issues, as advocated by the American Library Association. Resources are acquired with the awareness that it is important to understand opposing viewpoints in order to engage in theological dialogue.


Donations are accepted with the understanding on the part of the donor that the Library Chair will decide which titles are to be added to the collection, and that duplicate titles, or those not suitable for addition to the collection will be disposed of in an appropriate manner.  If they request, donors receive a statement identifying the size of the donation, but not the value.


Background note

The library began a retro conversion of its print catalog to marc records in 1995.  The final phase of this project was completed in 2004-05.  In 2006-07, the library initiated an on-going inventory project.  The process involved a comparison of the computer record, the shelf list, and the items on the shelf.  The Shelf List was closed at the conclusion of the 2006-07 academic year.   Weeding that occurred was primarily based on duplication and physical condition of the material.  Other considerations were age and relevancy of information.  Beginning in the summer of 2012 almost all duplicates were removed from the collection unless the material showed a pattern of significant use.  This gave the library one to two years of growth space. 

The Beran Library is the primary graduate Catholic theological library in this region.  As such, it has a responsibility to acquire and maintain materials that might be of historical value to a researcher.  Thus, the Beran Library may retain titles that are not current, but reflect the trends and attitudes of the relevant period.  Availability of the resource in the region is also a factor.  This is an important factor in a decision to withdraw or retain an item in the collection.

The following are criteria for consideration to weed, withdraw, update, or replace items in the collection.  No one criterion is necessarily the determining factor.

·         Value and relationship to the collection 

·         Physical condition of the item

·         Prominence of author or publisher in the field

·         Historical significance of the information

·         Primary source material

·         Duplication of information


Cardinal Beran Library - 9845 Memorial Drive - Houston, Texas 77024 - 713-686-4345 x 265

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