Collection Development - English

Collections Librarian : Jenifer Bartle (x3757)

The collection development policy for English guides the development and management of materials relating to English and American literature in the Wellesley College Library. This policy is for the use of the Wellesley community and the English collections librarian. Faculty and students are encouraged to provide recommendations for library materials.

General purpose of the collection

The English collection of the Wellesley College Library reflects the interests and curriculum of the Department of English, and serves the needs of other library users of English literature and language studies as well. The literature collection includes primary source materials and a large body of supporting critical material. We attempt to acquire the complete works of major authors and critics from all relevant periods and genres, and representative collections of the works of secondary authors. Supporting materials include biographical, bibliographical, and critical works about these major and minor writers, as well as bibliographical and critical studies of the periods and genres in which they wrote. We subscribe to a number of journals that present the current range of literary scholarship, primarily in period and genre studies. We acquire literary works by contemporary authors whose writings have won critical attention or who have made significant cultural contributions. We also maintain a selective collection of literary magazines that offer coverage of significant schools and figures in contemporary writing. In addition, selected research monographs, journals, and reference materials are acquired to support courses in composition and in language.

The Department of English offers a major and minor in English. Both introductory and advanced courses explore major writers, historical periods, genres, and a variety of social and political themes in literature written in English across the centuries and across the world. Courses are offered in creative writing, including prose, fiction, and screenwriting. Some faculty also teach in the interdisciplinary core curriculum in American Studies, Cinema & Media Studies, and Comparative Literature. In addition, the larger College community relies upon the literature collection to support research and instructional needs, and for recreational reading.

Scope of coverage

Languages collected (primary and selective) or excluded: The library's collection of literature and criticism is primarily of modern English materials. Items in Old and Middle English by major English authors, with the exception of Chaucer, are selectively acquired, in the original and in translation if possible; editions of the works of Chaucer, in Middle English and modern translation, are actively collected. Materials written in French, German, Italian, or Spanish are acquired on a very selective basis, usually by request.

Geographical areas covered by the collections in terms of intellectual content, publication sources, or both, and specific areas excluded, as appropriate: The primary geographical areas covered by acquisitions are the U.S. and Great Britain. Significant works from the Republic of Ireland, English-speaking Canada, Australia and New Zealand, India, and the English-speaking Caribbean also are acquired. Works about British or American literature, but published in English in countries other than those listed above, are very selectively acquired.

Chronological periods covered by the collection in terms of intellectual content, movements or schools, and specific periods excluded, as appropriate: There are no chronological limitations in the selection of English and American language and literature materials.

Chronological periods collected in terms of publication dates, and specific periods excluded, as appropriate: Current publications are of primary importance. Retrospective purchases are made on a selective basis for the circulating and reference collections to fill in a series gap, to replace a significant work that is missing or damaged, or in response to faculty and student recommendations.

Subject boundaries and shelving locations

The subject scope of the English literature collection is primarily determined by the Library of Congress class PR. The subject scope of the American literature collection is PS. Coverage also includes PE, the Library of Congress class for English philology and language. Within the PN call number range, we acquire selectively in several subject areas, i.e., Literature (General), Poetry, Prose and Prose fiction, Oratory, and Collections of general literature. We also acquire selectively within the Bibliography (Z) class in Fiction, in Literature, and in National and Personal Bibliography.

PR English Literature
PS American Literature

Collected Selectively:
P 301 Style. Composition. Rhetoric
PB 1201-3029 Celtic Language and Literature
PE English Philology and Language
PN 1-995 Literature (General)
PN 1010-1389 Poetry
PN 3311-3448 Prose and Prose Fiction
PN 4001-4355 Oratory
PN 6010-6790 Collections of general literature
Z 1201-4980.A-.Z National Bibliography
Z 5916-5918 Fiction Bibliography
Z 6511-6523 Literature Bibliography
Z 8001-8999 Personal Bibliography

The majority of English language literature is housed in the circulating collection of Clapp Library. Other locations within Clapp are:

Reference: The reference collection for English follows the general subject parameters of the circulating collection, providing resources generally on authors and literatures from all relevant periods and genres, with particular emphasis on 19th and 20th century British and American literature. The collection includes, but is not limited to, encyclopedias, biographical and subject-specific dictionaries, major author guides (e.g. All Things Austen ), some compilations of criticism, and indexing and abstracting databases for periodical articles and reviews. Research guides and bibliographies are collected very selectively; these bibliographies would be collected primarily for major authors, periods, genres, or regions. Reference works may be acquired in print or online, with online generally preferred when available. English is the preferred language for reference works. Reference materials are selected by the Research and Instruction Group librarian for English, who may collaborate with the collections librarian for English.

Special Collections: Contains an extensive collection of rare books-including English incunabula-and manuscripts: over 6,000 volumes of first editions of major authors, and 12,000 volumes of original works of English poetry by such greats as Robert & Elizabeth Barrett Browning, William Blake, Percy Bysshe Shelley, and Lord Tennyson.

Brackett Reading Room: Contains current journals, and the Recreational Reading Collection, which includes popular fiction-mysteries, humor, science fiction. (Note: The Recreational Reading Collection is arranged alphabetically by name of author, not by Library of Congress classification.)

    Related subjects & interdisciplinary relationships

    The selector for English and American literature may consult with selectors in several other subject areas:

    Africana Studies: The Africana Studies selector collects works of African writers. The selector for English collects works of writers born outside of Africa whose reputation and oeuvre may cover Africa.

    American Studies: The collections librarian for English has primary responsibility for American Studies, and selects American literature and related critical works, biographies and memoirs, cultural studies, and some materials on American history.

    Anthropology: The Anthropology selector collects folklore. The English selector collects works of fiction by Native American authors, but not works on Native American language.

    Art: For critical works dealing with both literature and art-including aesthetics and visual imagery-or with writer/artists, such as William Blake, the English collections librarian is responsible for selecting those with primarily a literary approach or focus; these items are housed in Clapp. The Art Librarian is responsible for such materials that have a dominant focus on art (e.g., the author is an art critic); these items are housed in the Art Library.

    Cinema & Media Studies: In support of the curriculum, the English collections librarians selectively collects motion pictures (DVD is the preferred format), film theory and criticism, and film adaptations of literary works.

    Classical Studies: The English collections librarian may collect American and English works on the Classical influences on those literatures. The English selector also collects translations of ancient texts done by prominent American or English authors as well as literary criticism dealing with classics.

    Cognitive & Linguistic Sciences

    Comparative Literature: The English faculty and collections librarian take primary responsibility for general literary history and theory, and selects American and English literature and related critical works, biographies and memoirs, and cultural studies.

    East Asian Languages & Cultures: The English selector is responsible for fiction in English by Asian-American and Anglo-Asian authors and related critical works. The EALL selector primarily collects literary materials originating in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, and Korea.

    Education: The Education selector is responsible for juvenile literature and for materials on the teaching of English at the K-12 level.

    Jewish Studies

    Mathematics & Sciences: Upon faculty request, the Mathematics & Sciences selector acquires fiction that discusses or illustrates mathematical or scientific concepts or phenomena.

    Medieval / Renaissance Studies: The English collections librarian collects medieval English literature and related critical works, including comparative studies of medieval literature.

    Middle Eastern Studies

    Music: For critical works dealing with both literature and music: The English collections librarian is responsible for selecting those materials having primarily a literary approach or focus (e.g., Music in the Works of Broch, Mann, and Kafka ); such items are housed in Clapp. The Music Librarian is responsible for materials focusing predominately on music (e.g., Shakespeare's Use of Music ) for the Music Library.

    Psychology: The Psychology selector purchases studies that use literature as source material to discuss or illustrate psychological concepts or phenomena.

    Sociology: The Sociology selector purchases studies that use literature as source material or as data to discuss different aspects of society.

    Theatre Studies: The English collections librarian selects literary criticism on drama; the theatre collections librarian selects materials on play production, acting, costumes, sets, and direction. Both select plays; critical editions are preferred, but playscripts intended for performance use are selected when no other edition is available, typically the case for new plays.

    Women's & Gender Studies: The WOST selector purchases studies that use literature to discuss and illustrate the roles and views of women in society.

      We select material on Biography (as a literary form) and acquire biographies of English and American authors. Other selectors are responsible for the acquisition of biographies of persons in their subject area(s).

      Types of materials

      Collected: Books, periodicals, and reference materials, which include encyclopedias and handbooks, annuals, bibliographies, biographical dictionaries and directories, concordances, indexes, and companions. We also acquire dictionaries, thesauri, sourcebooks on grammar and usage, and handbooks for writers of research papers.

      Collected selectively: Conference proceedings, multi-media publications, spoken-word recordings, electronic resources, and videos and DVDs.

      Not collected: Plot summaries, vanity press publications, juvenile literature (although juvenilia of major authors is acquired), textbooks, pamphlets, periodicals in newsletter format, rare books and manuscripts, and 35mm films.