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The John Richard Allison Library is one of the major theological libraries in western Canada.

Located on the lower level of Regent College, the library is a state-of-the art facility that houses a number of significant collections and rare books. The space, renovated in 2007, offers ample natural light, comfortable seating, and computer resources.

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Beautiful and functional

Although the library is built underground, you would never know it! Natural light streams into the space through a series of skylights placed strategically above study carrels, seminar rooms, and offices. Architect Clive Grout worked with library staff and other planners to design a space that is bright and conducive to research and study. The current library was built between 2005 and 2007, and officially opened its doors on September 29, 2007.

The central element is a 40-foot-high glass wind tower, which is designed to minimize the use of electricity for heating and cooling the space. The tower features the first installation of photovoltaic art glass in North America, Lux Nova by artist Sarah Hall. 

Other art installations include two large murals—the commissioned work of calligrapher Timothy Botts—and David Robinson’s sculpture Font. The library also hosts regular art exhibitions.

A seminar room, a bibliographical instruction classroom, and three group study rooms accommodate scheduled classes and group work sessions. Rare books are properly cared for in a controlled environment. 

Learn more about the architecture of the library on our Art and Architecture page.

Library collections

At 28,500 square feet, the library houses the collections of Regent College. Furthermore, the library catalogue, Theolog, provides access to the library holdings of two other theological colleges at the University of British Columbia: Vancouver School of Theology and St. Mark’s College. It is the mission of the Allison Library to collect, organize, and make available information in all formats supporting the study of Christian theology and related topics.

The Library contains a growing collection of over 150,000 monographs, DVD, video and audiotapes, and over 450 periodical subscriptions. 

The Library is also home to several special collections, including:

  • the Houston Packer Collection of early printed works related to Puritan theology; 
  • the Heaven collection of Anglican theology primarily from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries; 
  • a significant collection of rare, nineteenth-century pamphlets amassed by Anglican Bishop Samuel Wilberforce; 
  • a complete collection of books and most articles by Christian thinker/philosopher Jacques Ellul; 
  • and the John Conway collection consisting of materials related to the study of Jewish-Christian relations and the struggle of the Christian church under Nazism.

Resources for patrons

Professional librarians are available to help patrons access the array of information resources; they provide individual reference help and periodic research seminars each term.

For additional information on the Library’s collections, services, policies, and hours of operation, visit the Library’s page

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