Building a strong collection in any subject area is not a simple task. Librarians must consider what is needed now with what might be needed by historians in the future, and must meet those needs within our budgets.
To build collections, librarians rely heavily on approval plans, reviews in relevant magazine and journals (such as the American Review of Canadian Studies journal), as well as analysis and comparison of collections with those of other libraries. However, we also rely on word-of-mouth from faculty, students, or staff about materials that might be suitable for the collection. These suggestions can be invaluable, for they may not only help confirm that we are collecting in the right area, they may also inform us about new areas of interest, be it for research, recreational reading, or a combination of the two.
Recently, I received a suggestion from a faculty member in Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences at UWT. Would the Libraries consider purchasing Stanley Evans’ Silas Seaweed mystery series? The faculty member explained that although they are probably more public library fare, they are set on Vancouver Island, feature a protagonist of First Nations descent, and offer insight into Pacific Northwest issues. Although the Libraries does not routinely purchase novels in the mystery genre, materials with a Canadian, First Nations or Pacific Northwest themes are always of interest to Canadian Studies. Such a series would be relevant to those interested in studying contemporary Canadian popular literature, or interested in analyzing the portrayal of First Nations characters in literature over the years. I agreed to purchase the series and let the faculty member know.
Got a purchase idea? Your feedback and suggestions are always welcome. Use our purchase suggestion form or feel free to contact me or any of my colleagues directly.
Siôn was appointed Canadian Studies Librarian in 2005. His degree is from the School of Library, Archival and Information Studies at the University of British Columbia with a research focus in First Nations library services. Siôn oversees the Libraries’ Subject Guide on Canada, provides a monthly notice of new Canadian Studies acquisitions, and serves as the Library representative on the Executive Council for the Pacific Northwest Canadian Studies Consortium.