The Dalton McCaughey Library [formerly the name of the Joint Theological Library], Parkville

1. Profile of the Library

The Dalton McCaughey Library [formerly the Joint Theological Library] is owned and operated by the Jesuit Theological College together with the Centre for Theology and Ministry of t he Uniting Church in Australia, Synod of Victoria and Tasmania. It is the principal library services provider to the students, teachers and researchers of the United Faculty of Theology, a teaching institution of the Melbourne College of Divinity.

The Library began when soon after moving to Melbourne from Sydney in 1969 the Jesuit Theological College set up its library in facilities at Ormond College, at the invitation of the Master of the College, The Revd. Dr. Davis McCaughey. Both Ormond College, home of the Presbyterian Theological Hall, and the Jesuits were keen to explore all opportunities for ecumenical co-operation. Afterwards the two theological collections grew closer together, physically and organizationally. When the Uniting Church was established in 1975 the Library gained many books from the collections of the Methodist and Congregational theological colleges. In 2003 it incorporated the Philosophy Library of the Jesuit Theological College.

One of the rules on which the Library is based is that any new item is purchased on behalf of only one owner. However, since at least 1981, the selection of new materials has been predicated on the assumption that the Joint Theological Library is a single and unified organization.

The multi-denominational and ecumenical character of the Dalton McCaughey Library distinguishes it among Australian theological libraries and underpins its ability to maintain research collections in many areas.

The Library is housed at 1 Morrison Close with the Uniting Church's Centre for Theology and Ministry. It was formerly housed in the MacFarland Library Building in Ormond College where it commenced.

There are five positions on the staff to which are allocated the hours of 4.3 full time persons. The Library is administered by the Librarian, Mr Stephen Connelly, who is responsible to the Dalton McCaughey Library Committee. The Jesuit Theological College and the Centre for Theology and Ministry are equally represented on this Committee. The Librarian also sits on the Committee.

2. Relationship to Mission

The mission of the Joint Theological Library is to enrich the learning, teaching and research programmes of the United Faculty of Theology (and other programmes in theological education which are conducted by the Jesuit Theological College and the Centre for Theology and Ministry) by providing (responsibly and effectively) timely access to relevant scholarly information and learning materials in a range of formats to all students academic staff and researchers concerned.

This policy and the mission are seen as being very closely related to one another. Selection policy naturally influences a library's ability to meet the information needs of its users; and the mission, as conceived, has helped to define collecting levels in many subject areas covered by the policy.

3. Purpose of the Collection Development Statement

The purposes of this statement are:

These objectives are considered to be of value to present and future staff entrusted with responsibility for the management of the collection; to present and future members of the Joint Theological Library Committee and other representatives of the Library's proprietors; and to many other interested persons.

It is also very much the purpose of this statement to contribute to the MCD libraries’ joint Conspectus project. This Library holds it to be important for the libraries of the MCD to be able to share information about their collections and their selection policies in ways that have been moderated by common standards, and are intelligible to interested persons. The Conspectus method certainly has the capacity to help the MCD libraries to do this.

4. Clientele served

Any person who is prepared to comply with the Library's rules is welcome to use the resources of the Library. To borrow a person must pay the borrower’s fee ($209 p.a.) or belong to one of the exempt categories below.

5. Access to the Collection

Physical access

The Library is open for a total of 49.5 hours per week during the semester, and 42.5 hours during the weeks between. Professional reference assistance is available for the bulk of this time, but there are sections of the week when only skeletal staffing obtains.

Most of the collection is openly accessible. The stacks collection of lower use material, the Rare Books, and a Patristics collection are in areas closed to the public.

Bibliographic access

Bibliographic access to the book collection is provided by a card catalogue, which closed in 1993, and a computer catalogue that uses the Dynix automated library system. Since the closure of the card catalogue records for all new acquisitions have been put onto the computer and a great many older titles have migrated from the card catalogue through the retrospective conversion programme. The computer now contains the records of over 80,000 items, a large majority of the whole collection. It is a library objective to complete the computerization of the card catalogue within three years.

The Library uses the Pettee (or the Union Theological Seminary of New York) classification system and Library of Congress Subject Headings. Most of its computerized catalogue records have been copied onto Kinetica, the national bibliographic database. All such records for Australian holdings have been copied there.

The library subscribes to a number of services that provide bibliographic access to its periodical collection. Many of these are online and have been mounted on the Library's website. Examples are: ATLA Religion database, Religious and theological abstracts, Old Testament abstracts, New Testament abstracts, and Catholic periodical and literature index.

Access by other libraries

The Library participates fully in the Australian inter-lending scheme, and applies its standards and charges in meeting inter-library loan requests. The Library is a huge net lender in the scheme: in 2004 it satisfied 320 requests by Australian and overseas libraries; and requested 10 loans on behalf of its own users.

6. Description of the Collection

The collection is capable of offering comprehensive support to undergraduate students across all of the units described in the UFT handbook. It seeks to ensure that it owns at least one copy and oftentimes multiple copies of all titles listed in the UFT handbook and on lecturers reading lists. An indication of its strength in relation to local teaching programmes lies in the results obtained by use of the monographic checklist in the completion of this Conspectus. The Library’s holdings were checked against most of the items listed in Recommended theological texts, 1997, a compilation by the Open Book retailing enterprise of all of the texts listed in the handbooks of Australian theological institutions. Of the 1204 items considered, the Library holds 1174, which is 98%.

In certain subjects the collection is of research strength. These more comprehensive areas occur in Hebrew and Greek philology, Old and New Testament exegesis and theology, the Dead Sea Scrolls, Patristics, Historical theology, especially in the reformed tradition, the History of doctrine, Early and mediaeval church history, the Jesuits and their writings, the History of the church in France, the History of the church in Britain, Australian church history, Christian ethics and moral theology, numerous areas in Systematic theology, Sexuality and theology, numerous areas in Ecclesiology, Philosophy and Spirituality. In other areas the collection is being built up to a level of research strength. Notable subjects here are in the area of Liturgical studies.

One of the greatest strengths of the collection is its reference section of some 5000 volumes. The quality of this section is manifested in the results of another of the tests used in the completion of this work. The Library’s holdings were checked against a checklist of 280 reference works compiled from a number of sources by Dr Lawrence McIntosh, consultant to the project. 92% of these titles are held by the Library.

In 2004 approximately 2300 monograph titles were added, bringing the total count for this part of the collection to about 138,000 volumes. Non book materials, including CD ROMs, increased by only a few to about 50 items.

The comprehensiveness and depth of the collection in some measure arises from the strong commitment made by the library over time to periodical and standing order purchases. Presently the library subscribes to 415 periodicals and 310 monographic series covering most of the subjects represented in the collection, though with some bias to Biblical studies. The strength of Library’s periodical holdings is underlined by the results of a third biblio-metric test used in the creation of this report. The checklist used this time was a list of 245 periodicals compiled by the Consultant from Australasian Religion Index and Religion Index One. The Library holds 206 or 84% of these titles.

7. Budget

In 2004 the total acquisitions budget of the library is approximately $200,000. The Library does not use a formula to distribute its book vote among departments.

Whilst there is reason to suppose that the book vote will rise on an annual basis over the medium term, there is grave doubt that it can do so at a rate commensurate with the rising price of monographs and serials. Certainly the relative value of the book vote has been consistently eroded by price rises in recent years.

8. Selection Principles and Procedures

The Librarian has had responsibility for building and maintaining the collections. On strategic matters, and also on the purchase of the more expensive items, he consults with a committee of two acquisition advisors who have been appointed by the Jesuit Theological College and the Centre for Ministry and Theology.

Recommendations for new purchases are sought from a panel of Faculty members whose subject expertise ranges over the collecting interests of the Library. Students are also encouraged to suggest titles for purchase. The management of collection development policy is the responsibility of the Librarian.

9. Special collections

The Library has been the official deposit for MCD Masters and Doctoral theses for many years. There is also a special collection of Pre-1800 imprints, and another of Makor published volumes of Biblical scholarship in Hebrew.

It is not intended that the collection or rare books be increased in any systematic way. The Librarian would consult with acquisition advisors when definitive early imprints which could be considered desirable for research purposes become available.

10. Some principles of selection / Limitations

Book format

There is a general preference for paperback format when it is available. Exceptions are made in the case of books which could be considered to have special importance over the longer term future, or in the case of reference titles. The Library automatically repairs and binds paperback books which fall apart through wear.

Electronic publications

There is a general preference for electronic publications in online format if the relevant licences allow them to be integrated into the library’s internet services and where loss of access to the publication after a period may be countenanced or controlled.


Items in German and French and, to a lesser extent, Italian and Spanish are frequently selected for addition to the collection. This is necessary to maintain collecting at research level in the areas designated for this treatment. There is also a policy of collecting the works of major theologians in the original language of publication.

Multiple copies

A single copy of any new title is the rule, but exceptions are made in a small number of circumstances. Copies of a possible classic - for example, a major biblical commentary - may be purchased from the two funds. Should an item have both reference and general use, copies may be purchased for the Reference and General Collections. Faculty may also request added copies of items prescribed for courses. In such cases, one copy per 15 students is regarded as adequate.


Gifts are subject to the same criteria for inclusion as purchased items, though the criteria may be used less narrowly. Generally, books and serials are accepted when they add strength to the collections. They are not normally accepted when restrictions on their use, location or labelling are proposed. Unsolicited items are neither returned nor paid for.

Unwanted gift material is disposed of as is deemed fit: sold, sent to another library, given to students or discarded.

11. Co-operative relationships with other libraries

There are three other collections which have been taken into account in the development of collection development policy at the Joint Theological Library. Borrowers have access to each of them to a greater of lesser extent. The collections in question are the Sugden collection of Methodist books at Queen’s College, the Anglican collections at the Leeper and Mollison Libraries at Trinity College and the collections owned by The University of Melbourne Libraries.

12. Preservation activity

The journals binding programme is the largest preservation project in the library’s operations. In addition, there is a policy of renovating or replacing worn or damaged items in the circulating collection as appropriate. Monographs in poor repair are almost automatically renovated or replaced. The Library has no programme in place to deal the built in obsolescence of twentieth and twenty-first century publications that is related to the acid levels in the paper of which they are made. The new building will greatly improve atmospheric conditions in the library. The MacFarland Library building has had heating but not air conditioning. Temperature control has been poor in relation to professional standards.

13. Weeding

The collection is continuously being weeded of unnecessary duplicates. Older materials which by subject fall outside the scope of collection development policy may also be de-selected. The weeding programme may not lead to the de-selection of last copies of any title on a subject of significance to the collection.

De-selected materials are treated in the same way as unwanted gifts. See above.

14. Review of the Collection Development Policy

It is desirable that this policy be reviewed every five years, preferably in concert with the other libraries within the Melbourne College of Divinity.

Stephen Connelly


May 2005