About the Library

About the Library


During the Fall and Winter terms, the library is open 68 hours each week for students to access material resources, reference assistance and class-specific, assignment-based library instruction. Students and faculty have access to the following library services:

  • Borrowing
    StMU Library provides access to over 30,000 items in its physical collection. This includes books, reference materials, academic journals, and audio-visual materials. With some restrictions most of these materials are available for lending to faculty and students. Community users may also borrow some materials provided they apply for a community card.
  • Course Reserves
    StMU Library provides a service that allows faculty to place materials important to the course they are teaching on special reserve for students registered in their courses. These materials are given a shorter loan period for a limited period of time (usually one term or semester) to ensure that all the students enrolled in particular course have an opportunity to use them.
  • Inter-Library Loans (ILL)
    StMU Library offers an ILL service for our users to obtain books and articles from journals not currently in the library’s collections or which are not available from within the ILS consortium. ILL requests can be made for materials in other libraries throughout the province of Alberta. In addition, the library processes ILL requests from faculty and students for materials from outside the province of Alberta and outside Canada. Students and faculty can locate materials in other Alberta libraries using TAL Online (a web-based federated search engine providing access to over 25 million items in 258 Alberta libraries) and to supplement bibliographic utilities within the Library.
  • Information Literacy Instruction (ILI)
    Effective ILI is a key service for students at St. Mary’s University. In consultation with faculty and aligned with course objectives, the Library delivers library instruction sessions incorporating the requirements of specific course assignments. The sessions typically occur during class time, day or evening. Please see the Sessions Schedule for a complete list of current sessions. Course Research Guides are posted on the library’s website to allow students to access information literacy tools and information directly related to specific course.
  • Reference Help
    The Library has knowledgeable library staff members ready to answer your questions and help you find the information and resources you are looking for, as well as provide one-on-one research help & instruction.



The Library is an integrated learning environment that provides students with the information research skills to identify, access and effectively use information. In addition to an expanding array of full-text academic electronic resource, the Library provides students with access to a growing collection of over 30,000 titles: books, journals, and audio-visual materials:

Physical Collection

  • monographs (books) – 32,057 volumes;
  • journals/serials (print) – 181 titles;
  • reference materials (print) – 1,161 volumes;
  • audio/visual materials – 1,276 volumes;
  • atlas/cartographic materials – 29 volumes;
  • special collections materials – 961 volumes.

Electronic Resources

  • licensed electronic databases (full text) – 72 titles
  • licensed electronic databases (bibliographic) – 8 titles
  • online reference resources (creative commons, open access, public domain) – 180 titles
  • free electronic databases (creative commons, open access, public domain) – 200 titles
  • electronic books – 13,722,962 titles
    • licensed – 299,101 titles;
    • creative commons – 360 titles;
    • open access – 139,108 titles;
    • public domain – 13,284,393 titles;

Collection Strengths

Mediæval Studies

With a strong focus on institutional history, particularly monasticism and Cistercian studies, St. Mary’s University Library’s houses a comprehensive collection of mediæval studies. The collection includes not only primary source materials but mediæval philosophy and art history and materials in mediæval literature:

  • Latin;
  • Celtic languages;
  • French;
  • German; and
  • Italian.

Canadian History

The collection at St. Mary’s University Library is especially strong in Canadian history, social and religious studies. The collection offers students comprehensive research material on the years before and after confederation with a particular emphasis on the formation and development of western Canada.

English Literature

The collection at St. Mary’s University Library offers researchers a growing collection of materials related to theory and criticism, classical studies, drama, and American Literatures. Contemporary Canadian literature is also represented by a collection of poetry and fiction by established authors.

Electronic Resources

The Library’s subscriptions to electronic databases provide students with access to information in all areas of study offered at the University. Students have access to these electronic databases on the computer workstations in the Library and in the two adjacent Computer Labs. Available in the directory is a robust set of Full-Text Databases, a vareity of full-text online libraries, and online reference resources.


For students looking for a quiet place to work, individually or in a group, the Library has individual study carrels and group work areas. The library has a total of 64 workstations and one audio-visual station:

  • Library research computers
    The library has 8 research computers with access to the library catalogue, electronic databases, CD-ROM databases and the internet. Students may use these workstations for e-mail and software applications.
  • Library computer labs
    The computer labs in the library (B104 and B105) contain a total of 56 workstations. During the Library’s open hours and when not booked for classes, the computer labs are available to students for e-mail, software use and library research.
  • Audio-visual station
    Right next to the Audio/Visual (A/V) collection, the library maintains one audiovisual viewing station. This station fully supports VHS and DVD formats. As well, students and faculty can view DVD’s on any of the 64 workstations housed in the library.


St. Mary’s University Library is involved is a number of partnerships and organizations that add to and extend the Library’s resources and services:

  • Southern Alberta Integrated Libraries (SAIL)
    The Library is a member of the SAIL, an integrated Library System partner ship with the University of Calgary, Bow Valley College, and Ambrose University (AU). This provides St. Mary’s students with access and borrowing privileges to the collections of our partners in this consortium.
  • The Alberta Library (TAL)
    The Library is a member of The Alberta Library (TAL) giving our students access to resources in academic libraries throughout Alberta. In addition to borrowing privileges at these libraries, students of St. Mary’s University have on-site access to the resources, both traditional and electronic, that these libraries offer. Local TAL partners are the University of Calgary libraries, the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT), the Alberta College of Art and Design (ACAD) and the Calgary Public Library. For resources not available in Calgary, our Interlibrary Loan Service will acquire the materials our students require.
  • Alberta Association of Academic Libraries (AAAL)
    The AAAL provides a forum in which library personnel from Alberta college, university & technical institute. It facilitates communication, planning and cooperation to share resources and information on library issues and concerns.
  • Lois Hole Campus Alberta Digital Library (LHCADL)
    St. Mary’s University Library is a participant in the LHCADL. Participation in this endeavour will provide access to a significant number of full-text electronic resources that support St. Mary’s University programs. It provides participating post-secondary institutions with digital information resources for teaching, learning and research. Currenlty the LHCADL contains over 4.5 million licensed items, including 900 000 full-text items supporting subject areas such as science and technology, fine arts, humanities, and the social sciences.


The St. Mary’s University campus is located just east across McLeod Trail from the Fish Creek / Lacombe LRT station, and is accessible via the cross walk.

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Campus Map

St. Mary’s University Library is located on the South end of the campus in a direct line south of the big red water tower.

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Library Policies

The Library’s policies are intended to facilitate a positive and productive learning environment as well ensure the protection and preservation of library materials, equipment, and furnishings.

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