Samuel and Frances Belzberg Library collections policy

Purpose of the collection

The Belzberg Library collection serves the students, faculty and staff of Simon Fraser University’s satellite Vancouver campus.  Opened in 1989, SFU Vancouver manifests the university’s commitment to life-long learning and meeting the advanced mid-career education needs of the downtown community.

SFU Vancouver offers a mix of graduate, undergraduate, and non-credit teaching programs, in a wide range of disciplines, primarily in the liberal arts, applied, professional and interdisciplinary fields.  These are supplemented by public education initiatives such as short courses, lectures and conferences.  Future directions envision a greater emphasis on professional masters programs.

A number of university research centres and institutes are currently based at SFU Vancouver.  The TIME (Technology, Innovation, Management, and Entrepreneurship) Centre provides research and instruction in high technology areas.  The Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue provides additional meeting space and increases the public policy and international activities of the campus. The Segal Graduate School of Business opened at 500 Granville Street and all graduate business programs have relocated there. The School for Contemporary Arts moved to the redeveloped Woodward's building in 2010.

A full description of programs, courses and events at SFU Vancouver can be found on its website.  The following are the major teaching and research areas of the campus.

Graduate programs

  • Executive Master of Business Administration (weeknight and weekend programs)
  • Graduate Diploma in Business Administration
  • Graduate Diploma in Gerontology
  • Graduate Diploma in Urban Studies
  • Master of Arts in Comparative Media Arts
  • Master of Arts in Gerontology
  • Master of Arts and PhD in Liberal Studies
  • Master of Business Administration in Management of Technology
  • Master of Business Administration in Global Asset and Wealth Management
  • Master of Financial Risk Management
  • Master of Fine Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies
  • Master of International Studies
  • Master of Public Policy
  • Master of Publishing
  • Master of Urban Studies

Undergraduate programs 

Approximately 100 undergraduate courses in a wide range of disciplines are offered each semester at SFU Vancouver.  The courses vary from semester to semester, and may also be offered at the Burnaby and Surrey campuses or through the Centre for Distance Education.

There are regular, significant course offerings by the following departments:

  • Communications
  • Economics
  • English
  • Fine and Performing Arts
  • Geography
  • Gerontology
  • History
  • International Studies
  • Kinesiology
  • Languages
  • Sociology and Anthropology

SFU NOW: Nights or Weekends will provide flexibility for part-time study for working adults through regular SFU courses offered in the evenings and on weekends.

The Semester in Dialogue addresses one of the principal challenges for contemporary education: to inspire students with a sense of civic responsibility, encourage their passion to improve Canadian society, and develop innovative intellectual tools for effective problem solving. Each semester, the program develops an original and intensive learning experience that uses dialogue to focus student education on public issues.

Non-credit programs

The Vancouver campus is the venue for the majority of SFU’s non-credit programs.  Courses range from one day to over a year in length and focus on the following subject areas:

  • Arts, Culture and Education
  • Business and Management Development
  • Dialogue
  • Health Studies
  • Interpretation and Translation
  • Languages and Cross-cultural Communication
  • Object Technology Program
  • Professional Designation Programs
  • Science and Technology
  • Seniors Programs
  • Urban Issues
  • Writing and Publishing

Research centres and institutes

In addition to the instructional activities of SFU Vancouver, the campus is home to a number of research centres and institutes.

SFU resources

The Samuel and Frances Belzberg Library aims to provide a core collection to support the teaching and research of the Vancouver campus.  However, the majority of the collection is held at the W.A.C. Bennett Library in Burnaby.  Books and journal articles are transferred between libraries via a daily courier delivery and electronic document delivery.  Electronic sources, which are available at all the branches and more widely to members of the SFU community, are an important element of the collection.

Collection development is the responsibility of the Head, Belzberg Library in consultation with the Belzberg reference librarians.  There are separate collections policies to support the Gerontology, Liberal Studies, Urban Studies, Public Policy International Studies, Contemporary Arts and Publishing programs at Vancouver.  These policies and the attendant budgets are the responsibilities of the Belzberg liaison librarians for those departments.

Liaison with SFU Vancouver programs is maintained through personal contact with program directors, faculty and staff, regular meetings with the Executive Director, SFU Vancouver, and participation in the SFU Vancouver Services Committee.

Regional resources

The Vancouver Public Library, government and organizational libraries in downtown Vancouver, and the University of British Columbia Library provide important additional collections of interest to Belzberg patrons.

Consortia and document delivery

Document delivery and interlibrary loan to Belzberg Library patrons is coordinated by Document Delivery Services at the W.A.C. Bennett Library.  SFU belongs to three consortia (Electronic Library Network; Council of Prairie and Pacific University Libraries; and the Canadian Association of Research libraries).  Document delivery agreements exist with all three of these consortia which allow delivery of journal articles and books from these libraries in a timely manner.  Holdings and direct requesting from over 40 libraries are accessible for patrons at SFU Vancouver.

General collection guidelines

Languages:  the emphasis is on the acquisition of materials in English.
Chronological guidelines:  not applicable.
Geographical guidelines:  not applicable.
Treatment of subject:  selection will be primarily from – Coutts subject profiles, bibliographies, reference works, reviewing sources, requests from faculty, staff and students, etc.
Types of materials:  collecting is split among books, journals, newspapers, electronic and web resources.  Some audio and home use video materials are collected.
Date of publication:  emphasis is on current publications.
Coordination and cooperation with other campus resources:  There are small collections of materials heavily used by researchers at SFU Vancouver, including the CPROST report collection, the Publishers’ Archives, Publishing Department, Gerontology Research Centre, and Liberal Studies Reading Room.  Some of these collections have been organized with the assistance of the library and the databases are accessible from the library web site. 
Other factors for consideration:  Since most of the SFU Library collections budget is allocated by faculty or department, it is often problematic to determine which funds should support a particular purchase or subscription.  At Belzberg there is a general Belzberg Library acquisitions budget and separate funds for credit programs, which are based at SFU Vancouver.  In addition, courses relating to areas such as business and communication are frequently taught at SFU Vancouver, yet have separate departmental budgets controlled at Bennett Library to support departments based in Burnaby.  Finally, databases are often funded from the general library budget, even though they are accessible university-wide.  The difficulty can be illustrated by the example of a book or journal related to publishing.  The budget that would fund this purchase could vary depending on whether the item supported the Master of Publishing program, an undergraduate course in Communications at SFU Vancouver, a non-credit course in writing and publishing, or researchers and faculty at the Canadian Centre for Studies in Publishing.  An additional factor for consideration is that although new courses at the university are required to allocate funds for library support, this process does not apply when existing courses or programs are moved to SFU Vancouver, when new research units are established or moved, or when the library in general can support the course, even though the resources may be at Bennett Library.

Reference collection

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The reference collection at Belzberg Library is a separate part of the library collection, located on designated shelves and behind the information desk.  Reference works are defined as those which are meant to be consulted or referred to for some definite piece of information. They are characterized by being seldom, if ever, read in their entirety and are non-narrative in structure.   A reference collection centralizes these materials and facilitates their use. The reference collection at Belzberg is an active and relevant collection.  Active, in that the books in it are used regularly, and it is relevant to programs at SFU Vancouver and its community of students, faculty and staff.   An active acquisitions and weeding program keeps the collection current and responsive to changes in curricula and research needs.  All decisions regarding the purchase, retention and weeding of the collection are made by the Belzberg librarians. 

Where there are online versions of reference materials available, the print version(s) will normally be made available for circulation.  Materials in microfilm and cd rom are not usually collected.  Types of materials in the collection include:  almanacs and yearbooks, geographical atlases, language dictionaries, subject/topical dictionaries, biographical dictionaries, subject/topical directories, general encyclopedias, subject/topical encyclopedias. 

Reserve collection

Belzberg Library contains materials placed on reserve for courses taught at SFU Vancouver.  These include books, photocopied articles and professor’s copies.  Belzberg patrons can also obtain access to online reserves and recorded lectures.


The subjects collected by Belzberg Library are defined by the programs and courses associated with SFU Vancouver. Most of the programs and courses taught at this campus have a number of core concepts on which they are based. A sample of some of these core concepts includes: globalization, transportation and urbanization, but there are far too many of these concepts to list here. Within these core concepts, books which offer alternative points of view or question the status quo will be used by the SFU Vancouver community. The library aims to have a core collection of the most important works to support graduate and undergraduate programs with the majority of material delivered from Bennett and other university libraries or accessible electronically.  Belzberg Library is the primary site for collections for the Gerontology, International Studies, Liberal Studies, Public Policy, Publishing, and Urban Studies programs.  In addition, the following subjects are strongly supported, usually by duplicate copies:  business and management, communications, contemporary arts, cross-cultural issues, First Nations studies, kinesiology, urban issues, women's studies, academic writing and research techniques, and student support (resume writing, career planning, scholarships and funding).