Changes to Library services during the COVID-19 lockdown.

Overview of the Collection

The Library’s collection includes over 1,069,744 printed monographs and 872,396 e-books, and licensed access to 78,408 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 full-text and indexing databases. For a snapshot of details, see the Collection Trends at a Glance below.

Subject specialists and liaison librarians, working with faculty members and coordinated by the Head of Collections and Assessment, 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 2018/2019 fiscal year is $7 million, and its staffing and operating budget is $11.8 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 $6.4 million and the national average = about $11.6 million as of 2016/2017, 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 1680.2 linear metres
Percentage of Total Collection Budget Allocated to E-Resources 82%
Cartographic Materials 161,396
E-Books 872,396
E-Journals 78,408

Rankings and Comparisons

Globe & Mail Canadian University Report (2018)
Library Resource Spending Average        
Maclean’s - Comprehensive Universities (2018)
Library Expenses  8th/15
Library Acquisitions 14th/15
Carleton Satisfaction Survey for Students
Suitability of the Library Collection -2016 8.5/10
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 8.6/10
Ability of library resources and collections to meet my needs - 2012 7.9/10


Library collection expenditures, 2016/17 (latest figures)
Carleton =

National Average = $11,672,014

Library collections expenditures as a percentage of University budget, 2014/2015 (latest figures)
Carleton =

National Average = 1.82%

Library collections expenditures per FTE student enrollment, 2016/17 (latest figures) Carleton =
National Average= $400.21


Content last updated: February 21, 2020