Section I Introduction to the library and its collections

1. Profile of the Library


Whitley College belongs to the Baptist Union of Victoria and is described by the Union Constitution as one of its agencies. The College was established in 1891. In 1975 Whitley entered into a partnership with the Churches of Christ Theological College. This partnership, known as the Evangelical Theological Association (ETA) is accredited by the Melbourne College of Divinity to teach the Bachelor of Theology degree and to supervise postgraduate degrees of the MCD.

Whitley College now has three main functions:

  1. The College is the training college for candidates for the Baptist ministry

  2. It also offers theological education to all who seek it and show they can benefit by such education

  3. It is a University College, housing and offering tutorials and pastoral care to tertiary students who are studying at the University or other tertiary institution.

These 3 functions are not held to be separate but are inter-related. Together they are intended to fulfil the mission statement of the College:

"Whitley College exists to equip men and women for leadership and service in church and society."


The library plays a vital role in the academic and community life of the college. It aims to provide facilities, resources and services to meet the informational, reference and research needs of library users. Responsibility for the management of the Library rests with the Librarian who reports to the Library Committee. The Library Committee comprises the Librarian(s), a faculty representative, a residential staff member representative, the business manager, a theological student representative, and a residential student representative. The Library Committee meets approximately 4 times per year and Library Committee minutes are tabled at faculty meetings.

2. Relationship to mission

The Library's own objectives, which are listed below, support the overall mission of the College. The Library aims to:


(i) students doing theological studies at an undergraduate level (a wide range of subjects in some depth), and,

(ii) students undertaking research at post-graduate level (in selected subject fields)




3. The purpose of the collection development policy statement

The purposes of this policy statement are to:

The Librarian(s) will seek comments from faculty members and other interested parties in their preparation, writing and revision of this document. The final collection development policy statement is to be approved by the Library Committee.

4. Clientele served

The Library serves faculty, ETA theological students, residential students, postgraduate students of the MCD, ministers, private researchers and members of the general public.

All Whitley theological students have reciprocal borrowing rights with the Churches of Christ Theological College Library. Faculty and MCD postgraduate research students have borrowing rights at all of the libraries associated with the Melbourne College of Divinity.

Whitley faculty members and Whitley postgraduate research students are also eligible to access the library’s inter-library loan service.

5. Access to the Collection

While individuals undertaking private research are welcome to read, study and photocopy in the Library, borrowing privileges are restricted to the following:

Public access to the library's bibliographic records is available both on site via the public access catalogue terminals, and online at http://www.whitley.unimelb.edu.au/Library/. The library uses the Horizon (Dynix) automated library system. It also uses the Dialoc security system to help safeguard its collections.

The library subscribes to several online databases, namely ATLA Religion Database, ATLA Serials, the Religion and Philosophy Collection and ProQuest Religion. Registered borrowers may access these databases in the library or remotely by obtaining the appropriate passwords from library staff.

Those wishing to access items in one of the libraries special collections (Historical, Baptist, Alumni, Boreham and Women’s Writing Collections) need to speak first with one of the librarians as these collections are held in the locked compactus or one of several display cabinets.

In 2005, three part-time librarians (1.0 EFT) and a number of casual library assistants (~0.3 EFT in total) staff the library. The library is open 6 days a week, for extended hours during teaching weeks (Monday-Thursday 9am-8pm, Friday 9am-5pm, Saturday 9am-12noon) and Monday-Friday 9am-5pm during non-teaching weeks.

Inter-Library Loans

The Library participates in the national inter-library loan service as a means of sharing resources. This provides an effective loan service to staff and post-graduate students for items that are not in our own collection. A standard inter-library loan form must be completed for each request. Vouchers are used as payment - $13.20 for journal articles and monographs. The library absorbs charges for faculty requests. AULOTS is used to determine journal holdings in Australasian theological libraries. The State Library location service is occasionally used for locating items that may be held in non-theological libraries.

2004 Inter-Library Loan Statistics

Original items lent Photocopy items lent Total items lent

2 8 10

Original items borrowed Photocopy items borrowed Total items borrowed

0 2 2

6. Description of the collection

The Whitley College Library theological collection has general strengths in the areas of biblical studies, theology, missiology, church history, ministry and pastoral care. ETA undergraduate course offerings are well supported by this collection.

Faculty has highlighted the following subject areas as being areas of particular specialization. Collections in these areas would be considered valuable for post-graduate work and research.

Other collection strengths and/or areas that are currently being developed include:

The library also collects resources to support university undergraduate courses. These include texts for most first year and many second year courses, examination papers and specialist software, especially in the hard sciences.

Cataloguing and classification

The theological collection is classified according to the Classification of the Library of Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York (known as the Pettee system). This classification system is supplemented by the Dewey Decimal Classification Scheme, which is used for non-theological materials for university residential students.

The collection can be divided into the following broad categories: reference works (Pettee and Dewey), monographs (Pettee and Dewey), periodicals, theses, fiction, audiovisual and CD-ROM materials, archives, and the Historical, Baptist, Boreham, Alumni, and Women’s Writing collections.

All books are fully MARC catalogued and all items in the library are on the automated system. Library of Congress subject headings are used for subject cataloguing. The library uses BookWhere software to import cataloguing records from other sources.

The Reference collection contains material to be used within the Library, and includes atlases, dictionaries, directories, handbooks, yearbooks, encyclopedias, indexes and abstracts.

The monograph collection consists of the larger Pettee collection of theological material and the smaller Dewey collection, which is primarily used by residential university students.

Theses and audiovisual material are located at the end of the Theological Reference section. A small collection of videos covers a variety of subject areas including church history, pastoral care and Australian studies. CD-ROM resources available include tutor programs for biblical Hebrew and Greek. The Laxton computer in the library is dedicated for the use of CD-Rom and internet resources that are related to missiology.

The Reserve collection is a smaller collection of monographs in high demand for lecture courses.

Journals are a very important part of the collection. Almost all journals held relate to biblical and theological studies. A few journals of general interest are held (Ecos, the Economist, National Geographic, New Internationalist, Scientific American and Time). These journals are intended more for the non-theological residential students. A complete list of all journal titles and holdings information is available in the library. This list also includes all of the journals that are available via one of the library’s online database subscriptions.

The fiction collection, for recreational reading is very small. It is located close to the Dewey monograph collection.

A collection of course folders containing lecture notes, handouts, etc. for each subject is housed in the library, on the reserve shelves. The appropriate lecturer maintains these.

Databases and indexes currently available include:




Total added 2004 Total end of 2004

Monographs 1,255 30, 420

Serial volumes (bound) 120 4,330

Serial subscriptions - Total current serial titles received through either subscription or donation at end of 2004 = 175

Series currently received on standing order = 36

7. Budget

The total allocation for the library in 2005 is $135,500

Of this $ 40,500 is allocated to acquisitions.

The library's acquisitions budget is broken down into various categories as follows:

Books 24 000

Journals 12 000

Online databases 4 5000


TOTAL $ 40 500

The Library materials budget in 2005, which includes an allocation for binding, is $4000. It is anticipated that future library acquisition budgets will be maintained at the current level allowing for inflation.

8. Selection principles and procedures

The Senior Librarian, in consultation with the Library Committee and faculty has responsibility for building and maintaining the collections. The librarian(s) encourage recommendations from faculty and students of items for purchase. Publishers' catalogues are collected and made available for faculty who are encouraged to make selections from these materials. All purchase requests are first checked in the catalogue to avoid unnecessary duplication.

Most materials purchased are in either monograph or journal format. However all formats are acceptable provided they meet the requirements listed in the following evaluative selection criteria.


Duplicate copies of some high demand items may be purchased. For items often held on Reserve it is useful to have a second copy which can be in circulation.

Purchase of new editions is not automatic and will depend on the significance of the revision, level of use, frequency of new editions, price, and subject matter.

A number of series are received on standing order. This method is particularly used for the purchase of Bible commentary series that are regarded as important to the collection.

Each year the library purchases any items listed in ETA Handbook subject bibliographies that are not already in the collection.

10% of the acquisitions budget each year goes towards residential university student purchases. These purchases are generally done on the recommendation of college tutors.

The Library has a policy of collecting all staff publications.

The Library has a 'no censorship' policy and aims to have a wide range of views represented in its collection. The main priority for the library is to maintain a quality undergraduate collection, i.e. cover a wide range of subjects in some depth. In the subject areas judged to have greater relevance to the college's courses, it is aimed that a more in-depth coverage be provided. If budgetary constraints occur then priority will be given to current items likely to have long term value.


Journals are extremely important to the collection. With binding they are a major on-going budgetary consideration. The Library Committee must approve any new journal subscription or the cancellation of a current subscription. Approximately every 5 years the committee will review all journal subscriptions with the assistance of faculty. Subscription decisions will be considered in the light of the holdings of other local collections, whether the journal contents can be accessed through our indexing/abstracting services and whether they are available in full text via one of our online databases. Journal usage surveys may also be conducted with faculty and students. The journal collection should maintain a balance in its subject spread and cover a broad range of biblical and theological subject areas. The Library also aims to subscribe to any significant Australian theological journals. When funds allow it would be worthwhile to fill gaps in the journal collection and to improve areas of the collection that are currently under resourced.

Donations The library accepts gifts of money, books, journals and other materials and equipment. Gifts of books and materials are subject to the same selection criteria as are all potential new items for purchase. The library reserves the right to place donated items in the collection or dispose of them in a manner deemed appropriate by the librarian. The library regularly holds book sales. Proceeds are generally directed towards a selected special project in the library.

9. Special collections

The Historical collection includes resources that are considered too valuable or too specialized for inclusion in the main collection. Some volumes were published in the 1600's, including some facsimiles, and many date from the 18th century.

The Baptist collection includes resources on related to Baptist history and theology, especially British and Australian Baptist history, overseas Baptist missions and English Puritan writers. It includes Baptist denominational periodical holdings as well as monograph materials and complements the collections of the Archives of the Baptist Union of Victoria and the Victorian Baptist Historical Society.

The Boreham collection is a special part of the Baptist Heritage collection. It includes books by Frank Boreham (1871-1959) as well as items from his personal collection.

The Women’s Writing collection is a developing collection of written materials and other creative works that reflect the experience of women in theology.

All items in the Historical, Baptist, Boreham and Women’s Writing Collections are catalogued.

The College archives consist of material that is relevant to the history and development of the college and the library. It includes such material as minutes of meetings, photographs, college publications, student yearbooks and student files. This material dates from the foundation of the college in 1891. The material in the archival collection is not catalogued.

10. Limitations

11. Cooperative relationships with other libraries

Whitley College Library is one of a number of theological libraries in the Parkville area. Nearby libraries with theological collections include Ridley College, Queens College, Trinity College and the Joint Theological Library. Whitley is also in close proximity to the University of Melbourne. Informal co-operative relationships already exist between libraries and there is great potential for further co-operative ventures. Resource rationalization of both periodical subscriptions and monograph purchases is increasingly worth pursuing because of both escalating costs and a desire to avoid unnecessary duplication.

A reciprocal borrowing arrangement for faculty currently exists between the libraries of Whitley and Ridley Colleges. Faculty and staff members are eligible to borrow from the University of Melbourne library.

Whitley College theological students are generally able to read, use the catalogue and photocopy in the other Parkville theological libraries, but are not eligible to borrow unless they pay a membership fee.

Whitley College has also been in a partnership with the Churches of Christ Theological College in Mulgrave since 1975. ETA students are eligible for library membership at both Whitley and CCTC.

The librarians maintain links with other College Libraries and with other theological libraries through membership of ANZTLA and MCD Librarians. The librarians attend regular meetings and annual theological librarians' conferences. ANZTLA members occasionally distribute duplicate periodical lists to other libraries. This has been a means of obtaining back issues and filling gaps in our journal collection in the past. The library is also an institutional member of the American Theological Library Association (ATLA)

12. Collection evaluation

The first attempt by Whitley College Library at a comprehensive review of its collection was undertaken in 1999 as part of a larger Collection Development Policy. The Collection Development Policy Statement section of this document, which provides an introduction to the library and its collections was subsequently reviewed and updated in 2005.

13. Preservation activity

Monographs will usually be purchased in paperback. Exceptions would be when only hardback is available, or where a particular item is likely to receive very high use. All new books are covered, to protect them.

The Library's historical and Baptist collections are currently housed in a lockable compactus and the Boreham, Alumni and Women’s Writing Collections are housed in lockable display cabinets. This provides some measure of security. The library is temperature controlled which is highly advantageous in ensuring long term preservation of the collection.


It is a policy of the library that all completed volumes of scholarly journals be bound during vacation periods, generally over the summer. This ensures that the most current issues, and therefore those in highest demand, are not missing from the shelves during semester weeks when staff and students may be inconvenienced.


Non-journal material, which is valuable to the collection but in need of repair, may be bound in order to extend its life. Alternatively if the item is still in print a new copy may be purchased. The librarian will undertake minor repairs of items where possible.

14. Weeding

The last significant weeding of the collection occurred prior to automation of the library more than a decade ago. Future weeding of materials is likely to be modest. Items that may be targeted for weeding in the future include superseded editions, duplicate items receiving little or no use, or those in poor physical condition. Weeding will be done at the discretion of the librarian in consultation with the appropriate faculty members. Weeded material (and unwanted donations) may be sold, offered to faculty, students, other libraries, or discarded. This is at the discretion of the librarian. Before being discarded, items will be stamped as withdrawn, initialed and dated, and will be withdrawn from the catalogue.

15. Review of the collection development policy

This policy is intended to be flexible and subject to revision so that it can continue to meet the changing needs of the college and its library users and respond to developments in teaching and research programs. The Librarian, in consultation with the Library Committee will review the Collection Development Policy statement approximately every 2 years. Any necessary amendments will be made at this time and a revised policy produced. Responsibility for implementing the Collection Development Policy rests with the librarians who report to the Library Committee.

Kerrie Hunter

Senior Librarian

May 2005

Whitley College Library

271 Royal Parade

Parkville 3052

9340 8020