Collection Development - French

Collections Librarian : Brooke Henderson (interim) x3258

The collection development policy for French guides the development and management of materials relating to the language, literature and culture of France and the francophone world in the Wellesley College Library. This policy is for the use of the Wellesley community and the French collections librarian. Faculty and students are encouraged to recommend purchases for library materials.

General purpose of the collection

According to its mission statement, "The Department of French at Wellesley offers students the opportunity to achieve oral and written linguistic competence and to study the history, literature, film, arts, and philosophy of France and francophone countries. Courses in the department are designed to increase students' abilities of self-expression, enhance their cross-cultural understanding, and make them accustomed to looking at their own culture from a fresh perspective." The library endorses and supports these goals through its collections and services.

The French department comprises fourteen faculty offering some thirty courses to as many majors. All courses are conducted in French. Wellesley also offers an inter-departmental major in French Cultural Studies, which combines courses from the Department of French with those in Africana Studies, Art, History, Music, Political Science or any other department offering courses on France or francophone countries

Description of the collection

Some 40,000 volumes of French-language materials in all formats reside throughout the library system. Holdings reflect the historical strength of the French major at Wellesley, being particularly strong in literature and literary criticism. Additional strengths include cinema and film theory (with special strengths in Truffaut, the Nouvelle Vague, and films of immigrant film makers), literature from francophone Africa and the Caribbean, classical theater, social utopias, contemporary culture and society (including popular song), women writers (with special strengths in George Sand and Marguerite Duras), contemporary poetry, and the relationship between literature and medicine. Secondary strength is maintained in linguistics, with emphasis on language acquisition and bilingualism.

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.

Readership level: Emphasis is on college-level scholarly resources at the basic to advanced-undergraduate level. Basic faculty research is supported, but Masters-level and advanced research materials are purchased very selectively.

Languages collected or excluded: English and French are the preferred languages for writings about French literature and culture. French is preferred for language studies. Works originally written in French are collected in that language whenever possible or in English translation only. Translations from other languages into French are acquired only if the translation has literary significance in its own right (e.g., Baudelaire's translations of Poe). The collection excludes literary criticism of works in languages other than English or the language of the author (e.g., a French study of an Italian novel). There is a small but important collection of Breton-language materials, principally contemporary literature.

Geographical areas covered or excluded: All geographical areas are included, with emphasis on France and francophone countries.

Chronological periods covered (or excluded) in terms of intellectual content, movements, or schools: While recent publications representing current scholarship are emphasized, older works of enduring value are acquired whenever possible, especially as lacunae are identified or existing works require replacement in newer editions.

Subject boundaries and shelving locations: French language and literature are contained within Library of Congress call numbers PQ 1-3999 at Clapp Library. French film and film criticism are in PN. French holdings appear in the Art and Music libraries as appropriate to their respective subject areas.

Collected only selectively: Multiple copies, research-level materials, workbooks, dissertations, Festschriften, newspapers, anthologies of previously published material.

Not collected: Dissertations in French, single issues of periodicals lacking distinctive titles, microforms, juvenile literature, government documents.

Types of materials: There are no restrictions on types of materials added.

Subject boundaries and library locations

The collections librarian for Africana studies selects material by Afro-Caribbean writers, African authors of French extraction and the history and culture of former French colonies.

The collections librarian for American studies selects materials on the history of the French in North America.

The collections librarian for anthropology selects materials that deal with the French as a nation, region or group.

The collections librarian for art selects material on French art and art history.

The collections librarian for cinema & media studies recommends titles for French film.

The collections librarian for history selects material in English that focuses upon French history.

The collections librarian for Jewish studies selects material on the history of Jews and Judaism in France.

The collections librarian for linguistics selects material on French linguistics.

The collections librarian for Middle Eastern studies selects material on the history of former French colonies or spheres of influence in the Middle East and North Africa.

The collections librarian for music selects scores and sound recordings of music written by French composers and works of history and criticism of French music.

The collections librarian for philosophy selects material by French philosophers and concerning French philosophy.