“The Pontifical Institute
has long appeared to observers to be the most substantial centre of
medieval scholarship in North America.”
—GEORGE HOLMES, Chichele Professor of Medieval History, All Souls
The Institute Library, which opened in 1929 with a mere 3,000 titles
donated by St Michael’s College, today has holdings of about 120,000
volumes whose lustre is enhanced and complemented by specialized
collections of 9,000 reels of microfilm and 50,000 slides.
The Institute’s Academic Council alone exercises control and authority
over Library policies and use. Access to the Library is normally granted
to professors and graduate students of the University of Toronto who
work in areas allied to the Library’s resources and, on a more restricted
basis, to other members of the University of Toronto who need to
consult unique copies or materials not otherwise available at the
University of Toronto. Every reasonable opportunity to use the Library
is also granted to Guests of the Institute and other visiting scholars.
The Institute Library is located on the fourth floor of the John
M. Kelly Library of St
Michael’s College at 113 St Joseph Street, Toronto. The
Institute Council alone exercises control and authority over Library policies
and use. Access to the library is normally granted to those professors
and graduate students of the University of Toronto who need to consult
unique copies or materials not otherwise accessible. Every reasonable
opportunity to use the library is also given to visiting scholars, particularly
Guests of the Institute.
Please note the following schedule. While every effort is made to keep
information current, patrons are requested to confirm opening hours and
any other matters relating to access or to the collections directly with the library
staff (see below).
- Regular hours:
Starting 9 September 2013, the Institute Library will be open from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm,
Monday to Friday, and from 1:00 pm to 6:00 pm, Saturday and Sunday. As of 6 January 2014,
regular hours will be 9:30 am to 6:30 pm, Monday to Friday; weekend hours will be unchanged.
- Holiday closings:
The Library will be closed on Monday, 14 October for Thanksgiving, and will
close Friday, 20 December at 4:45 pm for the Christmas/New Year holidays. Regular hours will resume
on Monday, 6 January 2014.
- Summer hours:
Starting 1 May 2014, the Library will be open Monday to Friday, 9:00 am to 4:45 pm.
For questions regarding policy and acquisitions, please contact the Librarian, Dr
Greti Dinkova-Bruun. To consult rare books and manuscripts, please
contact James K. Farge, CSB, Curator of the Rare Book Room, at 416 926 7283. To consult the collections,
and for general information, please write to
or telephone 416 926 7146. Reference questions should
be directed to
Edwards at 416 926 1300, ext 3423.
Policies and Regulations
The Library is owned and operated by the Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies,
which alone exercises authority over its policies and use. It functions as
a research library.
Admission to the Library is by a PIMS Library pass, valid for one year,
signed by the Librarian. An up-to-date Registration Form must be on
file for every pass holder and occasional user. The user's signature on
the pass signifies agreement to abide by the regulations.
PIMS Library Passes are normally limited to the following:
- Fellows, Associates, Guests, and Staff of the Pontifical Institute.
- Professors and Graduate Students in the Centre for Medieval Studies or
other Departments of the University of Toronto who are working in medieval studies.
- Undergraduate Students Majoring in Medieval Studies at St Michael's College.
- Visiting Professors and Graduate Students from other universities
working in medieval studies. Please provide reference on university letterhead.
- Private scholars working in medieval studies.
- Others needing materials held uniquely in this library may be given
access for the day.
The Library Pass must be shown to the door monitor upon entry.
Please sign the register. Although access is gratis, salaried card holders
are urged to help support the Library by becoming members of the
Friends of the Library.
- Library materials do not circulate.
- Only materials for research (notes, paper, laptops or writing materials)
may be brought into the Library. All other materials (such as briefcases,
large purses, bags, and books from St Michael's College Library that have
not been checked out) are to be consigned to the coin-return lockers provided.
- Sixty personal lockers inside the library are available for an annual
fee ($5.00) and a key-return fee ($15.00). They are suitable for purses,
laptops, notes, and microfilms.
- When photocopying, please avoid pressing on the book spine. Books likely
to be photocopied by multiple users in a course should be copied one time
only, and that master copied provided for re-copying by others.
- For reasons of conservation, Folio and Oversize books MAY NOT BE PHOTOCOPIED.
The latter should be consulted on the reading stands.
- Bound journals and books in the Reference and Palaeography Rooms should be
returned to the shelves daily by the user. All other books should be returned
daily to the re-shelving trolley at the entrance to the stacks.
- Please exit the Library for conversations. Please do not engage the door
monitor in conversation.
- No food, drink, or use of cell phones is permitted in the Library.
- Notices posted on the bulletin boards are subject to the approval of
- Refusal or failure to observe these regulations may result in loss of
The entire collection is non-circulating. For a description of its resources,
see A Conspectus
of the Collections. The library maintains separate catalogues
for its holdings of printed books, microfilms, and many of its slides.
Its catalogue of printed books is now searchable through the University
of Toronto's computerized Library
Catalogue but the shelf-list of manuscripts on microfilm, the
microfiches of the Vatican Palatine Collection of early printed books,
and journal holdings have not been entered into the on-line catalogue.
In addition to the principal collections of sources indispensable to
any research on the Middle Ages (such as the Patrologia Graeca, Patrologia
Latina, the Corpus Christianorum in its various series, the Monumenta
Germaniae Historica, the volumes of the Acta Sanctorum) and major reference
works (such as the Pauly-Wissowa and Der neue Pauly, the Italia Sacra,
and the Gallia Christiana), patrons also have access to CD–ROM databases
of the Corpus Christianorum series (CETEDOC), the Catalogue of Latin Incipits,
and Thomas Aquinas’ Opera omnia (for further details, see
A Conspectus of the Collections). The Institute library contains
seminar rooms, six individual offices (wired for network access), open
study carrels, microfilm readers, a microfilm digital reader-printer with
greyscale capabilities for enhancing images, as well as computing and
The Library now provides full-colour scanning service of most of its
collection. This requires that scans be sent to the patron’s email address
as an electronic copy (JPG/TIFF/PDF). We aim to have the electronic copy
sent within 24 hours of request (with the exception of weekends and holidays).
The cost for this service is $0.25/page. Requests must be made in person
as payment is required prior to the scanning. Further details and
the scanning request form are available.
Report from the
During the past two years the Library added about 5760 titles, 900 of which were received from Dr Gerald Guest in 2007-2008 but which were only catalogued in 2009. We want to acknowledge the invaluable assistance of the Kelly Library staff, which catalogued 2260 of the 5760 titles.
Although we have no exact count of our total resources, we estimate that we have about 160,000 items (not counting about 60,000 slides). Printed books amount to about 130,000 titles; books on microfiche or microfilm 15,000; reels of microfilm 9000; CD-ROMs and DVDs about 700. We subscribe to around 200 scholarly journals in 10 different languages. We hold 25 manuscript codices and over 4100 off-prints and pamphlets. We also help purchase online resources that are available to everyone in the U of T system.
During the past two years we had 1385 different readers, about half of whom received passes for the year. This was an increase of around 5% over previous years. Most of them (1245) were Canadians from 9 different provinces and at least 34 different universities or colleges, or were private scholars. From the USA 85 users came from at least 21 different states and 19 different universities. Fifty-five patrons from overseas used the Library.
James K. Farge, CSB
On the average we serve 20 to 30 patrons each day. We shelved over 15,000 books that they used and provided access to over 600 microfilms / microfiches and around 300 items from the Joseph Pope Rare Book Room. We gave many tours of the Library to individuals, classes, and other groups, the largest of which was the Bibliographical Society of Canada (25 persons).
Some sections of the Library were moved or otherwise reorganized. Due to lack of space in the Rare Book Room, half of the rare folio and oversize volumes were moved into the locked glass display wall in the Reference Room. The Guest Collection (which now houses about 4000 books and 8 file drawers of miscellaneous pamphlets and articles) was shifted to the former Beneventan project room, and the Gilson and Maritain Collections exchanged location with the Slide Collection. The Gilson Collection is currently being reorganized to integrate uncatalogued materials, rearrange collections by publication date, integrate association copies, and generally make the collection more accessible and better known. The same will eventually be done for the Maritain Collection.
With funds from the Hatch Foundation and the Friends of the Library, we were able to digitize about 5,000 colour slides, making them easily accessible on the Fine Arts Digital Imaging System (FADIS) of the University of Toronto and to Powerpoint presentations. We are in the process of continuing this project with the 12,000 slides from the Guest Collection on English monastic architecture and archaeology.
Mr John McQuillen, a doctoral candidate in Art and Book History, compiled for the first time a detailed catalogue of the Library's 39 incunables (books printed prior to 1501). The records are accessible on the University of Toronto library catalogue, as well as the OCLC Worldcat catalogue.
The most significant single event in the Library in the past two years was the gift of seven medieval manuscript codices from the curator of the Bergendal Collection, making a total of eighteen that he has donated over the past three years. Reception of this number of outstanding manuscripts lifts the PIMS Library, already a world-famous resource for scholars, into a still higher echelon of research libraries. We are very grateful to the donor for his continuing gifts of outstanding works to us. The manuscripts were particularly valuable for the Summer School in Latin Palaeography, for which the Library was the host.
We are grateful to the Janet E. Hutchison Foundation, Father Edward Jackman, the Friends of the Library, and friends and colleagues of the late Virginia Brown and the late Caroline Suma-Valenzuela for contributions to our acquisitions funds. A gift from Mr Leonard Gillis made possible the conservation of several books in the Joseph Pope Rare Book Room. Other contributions were received from Father Conrad Harkins, OFM, Robert Henry, John McErlean, Myra Nan Rosenfeld, Penny Cole, and Erika Rummel. The value of gifts in kind - manuscripts and printed works - amounted to nearly $700,000 over the two years.
Father Edouard Jeauneau gave about 350 books from his libraries in Paris and Coudray-au-Perche - many of them rare items published prior to 1800. A donation from Lucille Wakelin made possible the shipment of those books to Toronto. Large numbers of books were also donated by Diane Bennett, Anne and Derrick Crawley, Margot King, Chris McDonough, David Sehl, and Robert Siebelhoff. James Carley gave two costly items that would have been hard to acquire under our budget. Father James K. McConica, CSB and Jonathan Bengtson presented collections of books on Oxford University, its colleges and libraries.
Other gifts in kind came from Katie Anderson, Adelina Angu-sheva-Tihanov, the late Virginia Brown, Sheila Campbell, Shane Carmody, Marc Cels, Isabel Cochelin, Dana Cushing, Father Martin Dimnik, CSB, Greti Dinkova-Bruun, Michael Elliot, Margaret English, Karen Evans, Gerrit Gerrits, Joseph Goering, Paul Grendler, James Hankins, Daniel Hobbins, Ann Hutchison, Bernice Kaczynski (for The Journal of Medieval Latin), Nicole Lemaitre, Father Robert Madden, CSB, John McErlean, Brian Merillees, Mark Meyerson, Laura Mitchell, Maria Parani, Martin Pickavé, Father William Sheehan, CSB, Evangelina Spyrakou, Brian Stock, Ron B. Thomson, Catherine Ukas, and Jill Webster. We extend apologies to any donors whose names may have been inadvertently omitted from these acknowledgments.
JAMES K. FARGE, CSB
Librarian (2010– )
Note from James Farge: As I make my final report as Librarian of the Institute,
I wish to acknowledge the services to the Library by the late Caroline Suma-Valenzuela,
who provided technical services for over 20 years and who died in December 2009.
I also wish to thank William Edwards and Michael Sloan who have worked so well with me
in making the resources of the Library available and readily accessible to all who come here to study.