Overview of the Collection

The Library’s collection includes 1,069,744 printed monographs and 811,272 e-books, and licensed access to 72,709 electronic journals. In addition, the Library has substantial collections of government documents and other resources, maps, data, rare books and other special research collections, printed journals, archives, theses, multimedia resources (audio, DVD, streaming video), musical scores, computer games, as well as licensed access to a broad range of fulltext and indexing databases. For a snapshot of details, see the Collection Trends at a Glance.

Subject specialists and liaison librarians, working with faculty members and coordinated by the Head of Collection Development and Acquisitions, build and maintain the Library’s collection by developing subject-specific collection policies which guide the systematic selection of materials. The Library also provides a request form on its website where a user may suggest a book or other item for purchase. Although the majority of monographs are collected in print format, the library is increasing its e-book collections. Students and faculty already have access to many e-books in a wide range of subjects and disciplines.

In order to enhance its purchasing power (particularly for electronic resources), the Library is an active member of two major cooperative partnerships: the Ontario Council of University Libraries (OCUL), a consortium of the 21 academic libraries in the province; and the Canadian Research Knowledge Network (CRKN), a consortium of 75 academic libraries across the country.

The Library’s annual acquisitions budget for the 2016/2017 fiscal year is $6 million, and its staffing and operating budget is $10.9 million.   

The Library acquisitions budget is not protected from inflation, exchange rates, or cuts, which often challenges the Library’s ability to provide all the necessary resources in support of teaching, learning, and research at Carleton. Consideration of the funds necessary for the Library’s acquisitions budget is part of the academic planning and Quality Assurance processes for new programs. In relation to other Canadian academic libraries, Carleton’s acquisitions budget is small, and comparisons on specific metrics also generally place Carleton at the back. Carleton’s budget has increased by about 36% since 1999/2000 – slightly less than the increase in the national average of academic library budgets over the same period. But the the main problem is that Carleton’s dollar amount is historically small in comparison to the national average, and since 1999/2000 it has not been catching up: it remains at about 52% (Carleton = about $5.4 million and the national average = about $10.3 million as of 2013/2014, the latest year for which comparative figures are available).  The Library is dedicated to regular assessment of its resources and services. Staff use an assortment of qualitative and quantitative techniques to evaluate collections and services in order to make sound decisions within budget parameters. 

Also available are the Collection Development Policy and Departmental Subject Profiles

Collection Facts

Print Volumes 1.8 million
Manuscript and Archives 1659.4 linear metres
Percentage of Total Collection Budget Allocated to E-Resources 81%
Cartographic Materials 162,000
E-Books 811,272
E-Journals 72,709

Rankings and Comparisons

Globe & Mail Canadian University Report (2016)
Library Resource Spending Average        
Maclean’s - Comprehensive Universities (2016)
Library Expenses  5th/15
Library Acquisitions 14th/15
Carleton Satisfaction Survey for Students
Suitability of the Library Collection -2016 8.4/10
Suitability of the Library Collection - 2014 8.3/10
Suitability of the Library Collection - 2011 7.8/10
Carleton Satisfaction Survey for Staff
Ability of library resources and collections to meet my needs - 2015 8.1/10
Ability of library resources and collections to meet my needs - 2012 7.9/10


Library collection expenditures, 2013/14 (CARL - latest figures)
Carleton =

National Average = $10,389,197

Library collections expenditures as a percentage of University budget, 2013/2014 (CARL- latest figures)
Carleton =

National Average = 1.75%