About the Collections

The library was originally established solely for the use of Franciscan friars in their research needs, general reading and for seminarians studying for the priesthood. Now, it has also become the main library for theological students of the Yarra Theological Union. However, the first priority of the library remains the main repository of Franciscan material in the Franciscan Province of the Holy Spirit, and the development of the collection in accordance with the wishes and approval of the Franciscan friars.

The collection comprises one of the largest collections of Catholic theological material in Australia, especially in relation to medieval scholarship. There is also a very valuable collection of pre-Vatican II canon law material, which remains the basis for decisions today. As well, there is a number of special collections which include the Celsus Kelly collection, a very important legacy to the contribution which the Franciscan order made towards establishing the Catholic faith in the southeast Pacific region of the world. It is also a tribute to Franciscan research and scholarship. The rare books collection is a valuable historical asset to the Order and of interest to such institutions as the State Library of Victoria which accommodates the Franciscan manuscript Codex Sancti Paschalis (ca 1275) on behalf of the library.

This collection management and development policy has been approved by the Library Committee. It was decided in 2001 that the collection should become purely theological and support courses taught at the Yarra Theological Union, with Franciscana remaining of major significance. Emphasis is now being given to material written in English whilst the importance and value of foreign language material is not minimized or neglected. We also aim to maintain a mutual consultative process with other Melbourne theological libraries so that expensive duplication does not occur within a relatively small geographic radius.

There is a substantial serial collection of over two hundred journals, details of which are published in AULOTS and therefore available to other libraries. We are frequently asked for inter-library loans. Standard conditions and fees apply.

The Yarra Theological Union library collection was integrated into the collection in 1995 and the Divine Word Missionaries' missiology collection is also held within the collection.