Quick Links

Social work collection policy

Revised 2013-10-12

History of the Collection

The Social Work collection dates from 1918, the year of the founding of the Department of Social Studies, precursor to the present School of Social Work.

Originally the collection is thought to have been housed with the general university collection in Redpath Hall before being moved to separate quarters in Wilson Hall. In 1982 an integrated Nursing/Social Work Library in Wilson Hall was established. The social work component was later merged with the collection in McLennan Libary Building where it now rests.

The Social Work collection is complemented by the University's collections in Sociology, Psychology, Health Sciences. Because the field is so interdisciplinary, there are significant overlaps with the Education, Political Science, and Law collections as well.

The Social Work collection includes much valuable material. The monograph collection, at one time judged to be deficient in works published in the 1980s especially in the United Kingdom, has since been brought up to strength.

The serials collection includes most of the core titles listed in Social Work Abstracts, published by the US National Association of Social Workers. In recent years, subscriptions to full-text electronic journal databases such as Sage, Taylor & Francis, Elsevier, Oxford, Springer and Wiley have enhanced the serials collections significantly.

Current Collection Development

The present goal is to build a social work collection which is as broad-based as possible in order to support the teaching and research needs of the faculty and students. An attempt is made to acquire important material which deals with the profession and with research in social work and social policy.

Areas of special interest are: the family, multicultural communities, international social work, psycho-social aspects of AIDS, native peoples of Quebec, social policy development, gerontology, mental health policy, minority groups, legal aspects of social work, and psychoanalytic theory as it relates to early childhood development. Recognition is given to the importance of journals, and the publications of associations and government.

At the present time, many titles in Social Work in e-book format are acquired automatically as part of library system subscriptions to e-book collection 'packages' such as Cambridge and Oxford University Press packages (via CKRN—see below), Harvard University Press e-Books (DeGruyter Online), University Press Content Consortium (UPCC) on Project MUSE, Elsevier/ScienceDirect, PalgraveConnect, SpringerLink, Wiley Online Library, Portico E-book Preservation Service, etc.

Academic Programmes & Liaison

The McGill School of Social Work provides a full range of courses for professional studies at the undergraduate, master's, and doctoral levels. A joint degree in social work and law (MSW/BCL/LLB) is offered as well.

The bilingual doctoral program offered in conjunction with the Université de Montréal focuses on policy development, evaluation of practice, intervention and the management of human services.

Collection development is the responsibility of the Social Work Liaison Librarian—currently, marilyn [dot] fransiszyn [at] mcgill [dot] ca (Marilyn Fransiszyn) . Liaison with the School is maintained through a faculty co-ordinator as well as through other faculty members. Regular contact with other subject liaison librarians is maintained through the sharing of relevant reviewing material.

McGill Resources

The Humanities and Social Sciences Library is the main location for the print and audio-visual Social Work collection.

For many years, the Government Information Service in McLennan was a depository for Canadian federal and Quebec government publications as well as for those of the European Union and the United Nations. Publications of Ontario and other provincial governments as well as those of many other countries were collected selectively. Reports published since 1990 by the Canadian federal and provincial governments are available on microfiche in the Government Documents Department. Although most governments now provide online access to their publications and papers, the Library's Government Information Service retains a key role for research on social policy issues and related legislation as well as for statistical and economic information. The Statistics & Data page serves the library's ever-growing body of statistical resources.

Reference Tools The library maintains an extensive collection of print and online Social Work reference tools: subject encyclopedias and dictionaries, handbooks and companions, bibliographies, article indexes and full-text databases, online film databases, statistical databases, etc.: all authoritative reference sources required for research. The liaison librarian maintains a Social Work Resource guide with links to many key online reference sources and to core and additional databases in Social Work.

The johanne [dot] hebert [at] mcgill [dot] ca (Religious Studies Liaison Librarian) selects materials on the sociological aspects of beliefs, religions and cults as well as publications relating to pastoral theology and guidance.

In addition, the following McGill Libraries and collections hold material of interest for teaching and research in Social Work.

The Life Sciences collection,of which printed matter is housed in the Schulich Library of Science and Engineering, contains extensive materials on the clinical aspects of physical and mental health problems as well as the sociology of medicine, medical care and health programs.

The Education collection is strong in all aspects of child psychology, and supports a master's and doctoral programme in educational and counselling psychology.

The Nahum Gelber Law Library provides extensive support for the legal aspects of Social Work in terms of primary legislation, case reports, journals, monographs and reference sources.

The Blackader-Lauterman Collection contains materials on urban planning and housing from a community planning as well as an architectural viewpoint.

The Management collection in the Humanities & Social Sciences Library includes material on industrial sociology, organizational behaviour, labour relations, personnel management as well as on psychological, physical and ethical conditions in the workplace.

The McGill Institute for the Study of International development documentation collection has a potentially useful collection of material on social policy and planning in third world countries.

The Dr. Henry Kravitz Library of the Institute of Community and Family Psychiatry at the Jewish General Hospital in Montreal, a McGill teaching hospital, contains books, journals and audio-visual materials related to family therapy (interdisciplinary).

Regional Resources

The Université de Montréal Bibliothèque des lettres et sciences humaines has an extensive collection of monographs and periodicals for Social Work and related disciplines published in English and French. It is especially strong in research materials which deal with Quebéc, multiculturalism, women, demography, criminology, drug abuse and alcoholism. This collection includes some English and French language serials not held at McGill.

Concordia University Libraries and the documentation centre of the Simone de Beauvoir Institute have an excellent collection of women's studies materials as well as an extensive microfiche collection of documents and reports published by Canadian provincial governments.

Université du Québec à Montréal Bibliothèque Centrale has strong collections in women's studies, immigration, ethnic relations, labour relations, sexology and thanatology.

The Bibliothèque et archives nationales du Québec in Montréal provides local access to social work and related materials published in Quebec.

Consortia and Document Delivery

The Center for Research Libraries, a consortium to which McGill belongs, owns several collections of potential interest for Social Work such as American and international government documents including census materials; foreign doctoral dissertations and foreign newspapers; social work administration, education and work with children and older people in Indonesia, etc. the holdings of which may be viewed on the CRL catalog..

McGill Library is also a member of the Canadian Knowledge Research Network (CKRN) consortium through which partnership with other libraries across Canada McGill acquires access to an ever-expanding range of digital resources through economies of scale.

All McGill users may borrow resources not owned by McGill libraries via the fully subsidized COLOMBO Interlibrary Loan Service or directly from CREPUQ consortium libraries and beyond with a valid CREPUQ card.

General Collection Guidelines

English is the primary language of the collection. French language material is purchased selectively since we rely heavily on the Université de Montréal, the Université du Québec and the Bibliothèque nationale du Québec for materials published in French.

Chronological Coverage
The emphasis is generally on contemporary issues and scholarship.

Geographical Coverage
There is an emphasis on material which deals with Canada, the United States, the Middle East, and Indonesia, although social work theory and practice in Great Britain and the Scandinavian countries are of considerable interest. We tend to rely on the Université de Montréal and UQAM for materials concerning francophone countries.

Treatment of the Subject
The goal is to acquire a broad selection of both the theoretical and professional literature.

Date of Publication
The emphasis is on current publications while retrospective materials are acquired in response to a need to build previously neglected areas and to replace important books which have been damaged or lost. Retention of superceded editions is considered important for research in shifting treatment foci and methods.

Electronic format is preferred for all media but never the determining factor in the selection of any title.

Subjects and Levels of Collecting

Collection Levels are derived from the American Library Association's Guide for Written Collection Policy Statements, 2d. ed., 1996. The subject arrangement is based on that of Social Work Abstracts and Sociolological Abstracts  published by the National Association of Social Workers, Washington, D.C.

The theory and practice of Social Work touches on several academic disciplines as well as on the interests and practices of other human service professions. This policy attempts to identify the primary collecting responsibilities among the McGill libraries for the various topics and fields of service, while recognizing that some overlapping is inevitable.

Material on any topic which is aimed primarily at a social work audience is considered for purchase by the Social Work liaison librarian while material of interest to social work but aimed at a medical, legal or educational audience will usually be acquired by Life Sciences liaison librarians, Law liaison librarians, or the Education liaison librarian. Given McGill Library's burgeoning e-book and e-journal collections, specific acquisition policies refer largely to behind-the-scenes funding while access is universal.

Co-ordination of the Social Work collections policy with those for Sociology, Psychology, and Health Sciences is an ongoing process in order to ensure the necessary breadth and depth of coverage of the library resources for these disciplines.

For explanation of numerical designations, see http://www.mcgill.ca/library/library-about/collection-policies/levels
Social Work Profession
    Education and Training 3a 4
    Ethics and Values 3b 4
    History 3a  
    Interprofessional Relationships 2  
    Personnel Issues 3a  
    Quality Assurance/Standards/Evaluation 3b 4
Theory and Practice
    Administration Management 3a  
    Case Management 3a  
    Casework/Psychotherapy 3a  
    Family and Couples Therapy 4  
    Consultation/Supervision 3a  
    Group Work/Group Therapy 3b 4
    Research Methodology (with Sociology liaison librarian) 4 4
    Theory/Conceptual Frameworks 3b 4
Areas of Service
    Aging and the Aged 3b  
    Children and Families/Child and Family Welfare 3b 4
    Crime/ Delinquency/Justice (with Law Library) 3b  
    Developmental Disabilities/Mental Retardation (largely in Education Library) 2  
    Education/Schools (career guidance and psychological counselling in Education Library)    
    Health and Health Care (largely in Health Sciences Library) 2  
    Mental Health/Mental Illness (the latter largely collected in Health Sciences Library) 3a 3b
    Occupational/Industrial Services (largely collected by the Management liaison librarian)    
    Substance Use and Abuse/Alcoholism (clinical materials in Health Sciences Library) 3a  
Social Development
    Social development/modernization 3a 3b
    Activism/action research/citizen 2 3a
    Community development 3b 4
    International Social Work 3a 4
    Collectivism/Voluntarism 1 3a
    Public sector and/or private sector activities in social development 3a  
    Rural development (largely collected by MacDonald College Library)    
    Urban development (Housing aspects collected by Architecture and Urban Studies Liaison Librarians) 2  
    Economic development/industrialization (collected by Economics, Political Science and Management liaison librarians)    
    Education for social development (collected by Education)    
Canada (with emphasis on Quebec and the North) 3b 4
United States 3b  
United Kingdom 3a  
Middle East 3a 3b
Indonesia 3a 3b
Other: For other countries the emphasis is largely on various social policy issues, e.g. child welfare, aging, and multicultural societies. 3a  

Co-ordination and Co-operation with liaison librarians for other disciplines

Studies on ethnicity and ethnic communities are of common interest.

Common interest in the economics of social welfare, regional planning, urban renewal and urban economics.

Common interest in children and adolescents, developmental psychology, mental retardation, deviance and other behaviourial problems, as well as in psychological counselling.

Common interest in the social problems of Western and Third World countries.

Health Sciences
Regular communication is maintained concerning areas of mutual interests such as gerontology, mental health, childhood development, adolescence, neuropsychology and psychoanalytic theory. The life sciences collection in the Schulich Library of Science & Engineering is the prime location for print materials on health systems, as well as for clinical publications relating to physical and mental health.

The Nahum Gelber Law Library is the primary location for print legal materials, however material relating to the legal aspects of social work written specifically for social workers is purchased for the Humanities and Social Sciences Library collection.

Common areas of interest with the Management collection in the Humanities and Social Sciences Library are industrial sociology and psychology, organizational behaviour, employee assistance programmes, leadership.

Information Service
Recommendations for the purchase of reference works are forwarded to the appropriate liaison librarian.

Political Science
Areas of mutal interest are social policy, policy studies on race, community, and urbanism studies.

Deviant and criminal behaviour, social psychology, gender roles, human development, the family and psychotherapies are areas of common interest.

Areas of common interest are extensive: gerontology, marital and family problems, violence towards women and children, homelessness, social control, substance abuse, crime and public safety, including police, penology and correctional problems; urban sociology, juvenile delinquency, family and child welfare, sociology of the child, birth control, abortion and contraception, sociology of sexual behaviour, problems of minorities.

Priorities for Further Development

Specific areas of the collection such as the family and multicultural communities require continuing attention in order to provide excellent support for research at the Masters and Doctoral levels.

Particular attention is being focused on acquiring additional resources to support the new Masters Program in Couple and Family Therapy (MSc (A)Couple and Family Therapy ), a collaborative project between McGill School of Social Work and the Couple and Family Training Program/Jewish General Hospital.

Continued access to a high level of funding is required for specialized research materials to support the joint doctoral programme with the Université de Montréal and to broaden our coverage of international publications in order to support the School's international programmes in developing countries.

Descriptions of the Collection

A list of current serials is maintained by and available from the liaison librarian, as well as a list of social work-related audio-visual material.

Note The titles in the following list are no longer available but retained for historical purposes only.

Cohen, Martin. Social Work Monograph Collection. Unpublished Report. May 1991.

Garlock, Gayle. Survey of Library Resources Available to Support the Proposed Ph.D. in Social Work at McGill University. Unpublished report. June 1991.

Lawlor, Jeannine. Social Work: A Guide to Reference Sources Montreal, McGill University Nursing/Social Work Library, 1988.

Fransiszyn, Marilyn. Library Guide: Social Work [Reference Sources]. Montreal, McGill University Humanities and Social Sciences Library, 2002.

Back to top

Questions? Ask Us!  Email • Chat • Phone            Send feedback    Report a problem