The Institute Library, which opened in 1929 with a mere 3,000 titles donated by St Michael’s College, today has holdings of about 150,000 volumes whose lustre is enhanced and complemented by specialized collections of 2,550 rare books, 10,000 manuscripts on microfilm and 60,000 slides.
Location and Access
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.
The PIMS Library is closed as of 5 PM on Monday 16 March as part of ongoing efforts to keep our community safe in response to COVID-19. The closure will extend until further notice. Please see the U of T COVID-19 information page, which will include updated information as necessary.
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).
- Winter hours (9 September 2019 – 26 April 2020):
- Mon–Thursday: 9:30–7:00
- Friday: 9:30–5:00
- Saturday: 12:00–5:00
- Sunday: closed
- Summer hours (29 April 2019 – 3 September 2019):
- Mon–Thurs: 9:30–5:00
- Friday: 9:30–4:30
- Sat–Sun: closed
- Annual Summer Closure: Monday August 19 – Friday August 23, 2019
- Holiday closings:
- Thanksgiving Day: Monday, October 14, 2019
- Christmas/New Year: Friday, December 20, 2019 to Sunday, January 5, 2020 inclusive
- Family Day: Monday, February 17, 2020
- Good Friday: Friday, April 10, 2020
- Victoria Day: Monday, May 18, 2020
- Canada Day: Wednesday, July 1, 2020
- Civic Holiday: Monday, August 3, 2020
- Labour Day: Monday, September 7, 2020
For questions regarding policy and acquisitions, and to consult rare books and manuscripts, please contact the Librarian, Dr Greti Dinkova-Bruun, or James K. Farge, CSB, Curator of the Rare Book Room. To consult the collections, and for general information, please write to Michael Sloan or telephone 416 926 7146. Reference questions should be directed to William Edwards at 416 926 2094.
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 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 the Librarian.
- Refusal or failure to observe these regulations may result in loss of library access.
Catalogues and Facilities
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 photocopying facilities.
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 Librarian, July 2016–June 2018
During the period July 2016 – June 2018 the Library has acquired about 5,600 new volumes (3,600 purchased and 2,000 donated). Among these new arrivals over 100 were volumes and fascicles of new periodicals which were added to the collection: Meister Eckhart Jarhbuch; Medieval Warfare; Exemplaria; Rhetorica and S.M.A.R.T. (Studies in Medieval and Renaissance Teaching). Other notable purchases include: the four-volume bio-bibliographical handbook on Poets Laureate in the Holy Roman Empire; a 1738 edition of the Vie et miracles de Saint Antoine; two facsimiles from the Folio Society: The Pearl Manuscript and the Winchester Psalter; a 1551 edition of the abbreviated history of Justinus; a 1607 edition of Claudianus; and a 1720 edition of Martial with commentary. We also filled gaps in a number of series and encyclopaedias, most notably, the Lincoln Record Society (50 volumes) and the Wiltshire Society (18 volumes); MGH: Scriptores in usum scholarum; Das Reallexikon für Antike und Christentum; Bibliografia dei manoscritti in scrittura beneventana; and Victoria County History.
We estimate that consist of about 97,600 titles or over 150,000 individual volumes (not counting the 20,000 books on microfiche or microfilm); rare books ca. 2,550 (38 incunabula); 43 manuscripts mostly in Latin, but some also in Greek and different vernacular languages; 50 single manuscript pages; ca. 200 parchment documents from a French family archive; ca. 10,000 manuscripts on microfilm; and about 1,900 CD-ROMs and DVDs of papal registers preserved in the Vatican Archive. The Library collection comprises as many as 440 scholarly journals in 10 different languages. We currently subscribe to 170 periodicals, of which 89 represent the only Toronto holdings. Forty-one of these periodicals are received in exchange for the Institute’s prestigious journal Mediaeval Studies. We also hold around 9,965 offprints of scholarly articles and pamphlets and about 60,000 colour slides, 10,000 of which have been digitized. The PIMS Library contributes to the Central Library’s purchases of the on-line resource Brepolis which is made available to everyone with access to the U of T system.
During the past two years (up to 25 April 2018) we had 950 registered readers. Most of them (801) were Canadians from 8 different provinces and 29 different academic institutions. From the USA 69 users came from at least 20 different states and 23 different universities. Eighty-two patrons from overseas used the library, of which 27 were from the United Kingdom. On the average we serve 20-25 patrons each day. We provided access to 102 microfilms/microfiches and CD-ROMS, and 130 items from the “Joseph Pope Rare Book Room” were given to consultation. We received 198 requests for Inter Library Loans; of them 56 could be filled by pdf files of the requested materials. The revenue generated from this activity was used for new acquisitions. Father Farge and the Librarian gave many tours of the Library to individuals, classes, and students from numerous universities and programs as well as to members of various professional and religious organizations. We lent ten of our facsimiles, among which the St. Louis Bible, the Genealogy of Christ scroll, the Book of Kells, and the Pamplona Bible, to Steven Bednarski from the St. Jerome’s University in the University of Waterloo for their event called Evening with the Book: Sacred Beauty Bound (13-17 November 2017).
We are grateful to the Janet E. Hutchison Foundation, Jonathan and Deborah Black, Maruja Jackman, William Edwards, James Estes, Jennifer and George Rigg, and Jill Webster, for their generous monetary contributions to our acquisition funds and special projects. As always, we are thankful to the Friends of the Library (FOTL) for their numerous initiatives and continuous support. We would like to express our thanks to everybody who has donated money for the Library through FOTL.
The value of the gifts in kind (i.e. books, microfilms, and facsimiles) to the Library amounted to over $100,000 over the years covered by this report. We would like to acknowledge in particular the significant donations of Guy Métraux, Professor Emeritus from the Department of Classics at York, who provided the library with the nine-volume Enciclopedia dell'arte antica, classica ed orientale; Hartwig Mayer who gave us fifteen volumes of a German series of facsimile reproductions of medieval manuscripts; Lorna Day who donated a rare 1747 Bible in Icelandic; Enzo DelZotto from whom we received the twelve-volume facsimile edition of Il Codice Atlantico della Biblioteca Ambrosiana di Milano which contains the sketches of Leonardo da Vinci together with the twelve smaller accompanying volumes of descriptions and explanations of the drawings; and finally, the now closed bookstore David Mirvish Books on Art which gave the library a large number of art historical books. Still, the most notable addition to our holdings in the past two years was the Peter Brieger Archive of Biblical Images which was moved from the Department of Art Library to PIMS in April of 2017. The Archive, comprising 256 boxes of photographs from medieval Bibles, is now housed in a designated room in the library.
We received particularly large numbers of books from the libraries of Robert Bothwell, Maureen Boulton, Jennifer Brown, Penelope Doob, Gerald Guest, Erika Rummel, and John Osborne. Microfilms of medieval manuscripts were donated to by Joe Goering, Hartwig Mayer, David Townsend, Pauline Thompson, and Ron Thomson. Other gifts in kind (primarily books) and donations for journal adoptions came from Alexander Andrée, Frances Beer, Jonathan Bolton, Anna Burko, William Callahan, James Carley, Adam Cohen, Albrecht Diem, Father Martin Dimnik, Greti Dinkova-Bruun, Matthew Doyle, Stephen Dumont, William Edwards, Konrad Eisenbichler, Joanne Findon, Joe Goering, Carl Hammer, James Hankins, Toni Healy, Michael Herren, Charles Hilkin, Ann Hutchison, Maruja Jackman, Alexandra Johnston, Peter Konieczny, Christine Kralik, Dorothea Kullmann, Father James McConica, John McErlean, Tina Marshall, Michèle Mulchahey, Michael O’Connor, Martin Pickavé, Jaclyn Piudik, Heather Darling Pigat, Olga Pugliese, Myra Rosenfeld-Little, Erika Rummel, Walid Saleh, Brian Stock, David Townsend, Pauline Thompson, Ron Thomson, Michael Vaughn, Jill Webster, and Germaine Warkentin. Our apologies to any donors whose names we have failed to record. The generosity of all our supporters is truly appreciated.
We wish to acknowledge the work of our staff, Michael Sloan and William Edwards, who work tirelessly in ordering and cataloguing our new acquisitions. We are also aided by our dedicated student-monitors who provide invaluable assistance to many of our readers. Finally, we would like to acknowledge our fruitful collaboration with Margaret English from the Department of Art Library, Mary Reynolds from Regis College Library, and Natalie Oeltjen from the Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies.
GRETI DINKOVA-BRUUN, Librarian (2012–)
JAMES K. FARGE, CSB, Curator of Rare Books and Special Collections (2012–)