Special Collections

The Gerry & Anna Maier Special Collections Reading Room


The Gerry and Anna Maier Special Collections Reading Room is a non-circulating collection of published materials that are rare, valuable or which have notable cultural and historical significance. This young collection is built on a strong history of philanthropic vision and donation. Preservation, specialized handling and storage practices are required to manage this unique collection. This dedicated, environmentally controlled space ensures the longevity and growth of this collection for current and future generations.

The Gerry and Anna Maier Special Collections Reading Room was officially opened November 17, 2017. The Maiers’ beneficence provides a dedicated space for enriched academic research and teaching resources that foster innovation and collaboration opportunities for faculty, students, and the wider academic community.

Collection Overview

You can browse the records of our Special Collections materials in the Catalogue

  • Size & Scope
    There are nearly 1000 volumes with publication dates ranging from 1566 to the twenty-first century. Subject strengths are early Canadiana, pre-Confederation Canada, Catholic Studies, French early presence in Western Canada, and First Nations contact. The collection includes first editions, works of aesthetic importance, and books in languages including, but not limited to Latin, French, and German, as well as materials relevant to Mediæval studies.
  • Electronic Materials
    Explore other primary source materials available in digital format. The Library maintains a directory of Online Special Collections resources, not all of which are searchable in the library’s search system.


  • The Saint John’s Bible
    The Heritage Edition of The Saint John’s Bible (SJB) is a transformational resource, fulfilling a mission to proclaim through scholarship and art the salvation of Christ to the world. This is the first handwritten and illuminated Bible commissioned by Benedictine monks in over 500 years. The seven volumes of this glorious work display the artistry of calligraphers and illuminators who spent over 14 years bringing this gold and platinum-finished work to fruition. This treasured resource is on display in the Special Collections Reading Room.

    • To apply to display The Saint John’s Bible at an event in your church or community fill in the SJB Booking Form.

The acquisition of the seven volumes of The Saint John’s Bible for St. Mary’s University was made possible through the generous support of Gerry and Anna Maier, Stan and Marge Owerko, John Cordeau and Carolyn Philips, and two anonymous benefactors.


  • Hereford Mappa Mundi facscimile
    At 1.34 metres (5’2” by 4’4”), the original map is constructed on a single sheet of vellum (calf skin). Scholars believe it was made around the year 1300 and shows the history, geography and destiny of humanity as it was understood in Christian Europe in the late thirteenth and early fourteenth centuries.

The Hereford Mappa Mundi was acquired for the St. Basil’s Library through the generous donation of Rev. Brian Hubka.


  • Vatican Council II multi-volume set
    A rich primary source of the authoritative texts of the four sessions of the Second Vatican Council (1962 – 1965). This resource was recently acquired and has not yet been catalogued.

Reading Room Rules

Due to the delicate nature of the Special Collection materials we ask people using the Reading Room to follow the rules below:

  1. No food or drink in the room or in bags.
  2. Leave bags and backpacks on the stand by the front door.
  3. Use one item at a time.
  4. Materials must be handled carefully –
    • Hands must be washed
    • Use gloves provided
    • No pens, post-it notes, flags, paper clips, or highlighters
  5. Return books to the desk. Please do not shelve materials.
  6. No photocopying of special collections materials.
  7. Follow cell phone policy. (Turn phone to silent.)

Hours & Appointments

For the Winter 2020 term, the Reading Room is open throughout the week at the following times:

Monday – Friday 1:30 pm – 3:30 pm

Please feel free to drop by during opening hours, or book an appointment through Catherine.Carlyle@stmu.ca. You can book an appointment to:

  • view specific items in the collection;
  • arrange class visit; or
  • arrange for an in-class presentation of specific materials.

The last allowable appointment slot of the day is between 2:30 pm to 3:30 pm.

To apply to display The Saint John’s Bible at an event in your church or community please fill in the SJB Booking Form.

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