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Religion and Culture

Policy Last Updated: June 23, 2019


The Collection Development policy is used as a guide to shape relevant collections and to ensure consistency in collection development. The decision to purchase library materials is primarily the responsibility of the Collections Librarian in consultation with faculty in the Department.

This policy has been developed by Greg Sennema in cooperation with Dr. Ashley Lebner.


To support teaching, study and research up to the doctorate level, as well as to support faculty research


  • Language: emphasis is on English, French and German. Secondary emphasis is on other western languages.
  • Place of Publication: primarily North American, European, Indian and Far Eastern sources are collected. Publications from other countries are acquired as necessary.
  • Dates of Publication: emphasis is placed on recently published works
  • Chronological Period: both contemporary and historical works are acquired
  • Geographical Areas: no area is excluded
  • Publishers: works from scholarly and academic publishers are emphasized

Types, formats, and readership of materials collected

  • Materials with academic-level readership are selected
  • Web-based formats for reference sources, journals and indexing sources are preferred. Print and microform are considered for reason of cost, availability,expected use or long term access.
  • Single copies of books in print formats are generally selected. Web-based formats are selected on a title by title basis, especially if the title is of interest to users at multiple Laurier campuses. Duplication of print across Laurier campuses is generally avoided.
  • Excluded types include textbooks, abridgements, study aids, limited editions,works by vanity presses, reprints and partial contents (eg. single issues of journals, electronic versions of single chapters of books).

Subjects collected and collecting priorities

Collecting priorities are categorized into 3 levels:

A - highest emphasis
The collection includes major published materials required to support the core teaching and research at the highest degree level offered by the Department.
B - secondary emphasis
The collection includes a selection of materials to complement the discipline as a whole, although it may not be a primary focus for courses.
C - selective emphasis
Materials, including reference materials and basic journals and indexes are collected to introduce and define an area.
Subjects collected Classification Collecting priority
History of religion, general BL75-BL87; BL96-BL98 B
Methodology in the study of religion BL41 B
Early Near Eastern religion and mythology BL1610-BL1710 C
Greek and Roman religion and mythology (also collected by Classics Department) BL780-BL820.V8 C
Jewish religious history and thought, general BM150-BM155.3 B
Old Testament/Hebrew Bible BM165-BM175 B
Extra-Biblical Literature BM480-488.8; BS1691-BS1830 C
Inter-Testamental, Talmudic BS1830.T74 C
Medieval Judaism BM180-BM185.4.S533Z C
Modern Judaism BM190-BM199 C
Islam, general BP1-BP63 A
Islamic history, theology and philosophy BP50-68; BP166-BP166.94; BP100-BP134.W6; BP188-BP190 A
Contemporary issues in Islam BP60 A
Iranian religion, ancient BL2270-BL2280 C
Baha'i BP300-BP395 B
Christianity, general BR1-BR55 A
History, History of religious thought (also collected by Seminary Department) BR160-1725 A
New Testament BS1901-BS2970 A
Contemporary religious issues BR115 A
African Religions and Caribbean Religions, general BL2390-BL2490; BL2550-BL2592.X36 A
African Diaspora and other Diasporic Studies DT16.5 A
Caribbean Religion and Culture BL2565; GN564 B
African-American Religion and Culture BL2490; BR563.N4; E185.86 B
African-Canadian Religion and Culture FC106 B
Modern religious movements (cults and sects), non-Christian (emphasis on North America, Europe, South America, Africa, India and the Far East) BL2700-2780; BL550-BL619 B
Asian Religions, general BL1000-BL1035 B
Buddhism, emphasizing origins, South East Asia, East Asia, history, and development BQ251-BQ799; BQ4000-BQ4060 B
Confucianism and Taoism BL1830-BL1942.85.X58 C
Shintoism and modern Japanese Religions BL2200-BL2228 C
Jainism, Parseesm (Zoroastrianism) and Sikhism BL1300-BL1380; BL1500-BL1590; BL2017-BL2018.7; BL2520-BL2525 A
Asian religions in North America BL2520-BL2525 A
Indian Religions    
Hinduism, emphasizing classical period and modern Reform movements BL1152.3-BL1153.5 B
Devotional movements, Tamil studies PL4758 B
Temple tradition, temple art, Indian art BL1243.72 B
Gandhian studies DS481 B
Indigenous Religions BL380 A
Native North American E98 B
Hispanic religions BL2540 C
Special Topics    
Anthropology/Ethnography of Religion BL41; BL256 A
Medical Anthropology, Religion and Healing GN296 C
Mysticism BL625 C
Myth, Ritual, Symbol and Imagination BL603 A
New Immigrants and Religion BL2525 A
Psychology of Religion BL53 B
Religion and Contemporary Society (Racism, economic relations, technology, politics, ecology, violence, etc) BT734-BT734.3; BR115 A
Religion and Gender Studies BL65 A
Religion and the Arts N72.R4 B
Religion and Popular Culture BR115 A
Religion and Science BL289-BL290 B
Religion and Sexuality BT708; BL65.S4 C
Religion and Therapy RC489 C
Ritual Studies, especially rites of passage BL600 A
Spirituality BX1407.S66(US) B
Women and Religion BL458 A
Ethics (also collected by Philosophy Department, Seminary) BJ1188-BJ1395 C

Related programs and support

Consortial purchases with the Ontario Council of University Libraries, and on a national level, are pursued.

Efforts are made to coordinate Religion and Culture collections with those purchased by other departments/schools at Wilfrid Laurier University, including Classics, History, Philosophy, Psychology, Anthropology, Sociology, Social Work, and Waterloo Lutheran seminary. In those disciplines, the university offers programs at the graduate level in History, Philosophy, psychology, Social Work, and Waterloo Lutheran Seminary.

The University of Waterloo library collection supports programs to the Ph.D. level in Religious Studies. In addition, library holdings of St. Jerome’s University, Conrad Grebel, University College, and Renison College, which are affiliated with the University of Waterloo, are also included in Omni.