Collection Development Statement English and Literature

Definition:

. Purpose of Collection

The purpose of these circulating collections is to support the curriculum and research needs of the stated user populations.

. User Population (Curricular and Program Needs)

The user populations of these collections include:

  • Undergraduate and graduate students in the English Department and Foreign Languages Department

  • Faculty in the English Department and Foreign Languages Department

  • Undergraduate students enrolled in the Ethnic/Gender Studies minor program (one aspect of the program is "Communication and Literature")

  • Undergraduate students enrolled in the "Cultural Literacy - Literature and Ideas" portion of the ESU General Education Core Curriculum (required course:  EG 207, Introduction to Literature; each section of EG 207 has its own specialization such as "America Between the Wars", "Literature and Sport", or "Literature of the Midwest")

  • Undergraduate students enrolled in "Multicultural Intensive" General Education courses with literature components

  • Undergraduate and graduate students in cross-disciplinary majors

  • Kansas Resident card patrons

History of Collection (Collection Characteristics)

The English Department offers a Bachelor of Arts degree and a Master of Arts degree, both in English, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Education with an English teaching emphasis or a Journalism emphasis.  The department also offers minor programs in English, creative writing, and journalism.

Historically, the English Department undergraduate curriculum has covered introductions to American and English literature.  Advanced undergraduate and graduate studies of modern, postmodern, and contemporary American and English fiction and poetry have also been reflected in the library's collection.  Authors such as William Faulkner, James Joyce, and Kurt Vonnegut were crucial focuses of the curriculum in the 1970's and 1980's, but not as much currently.

The Foreign Languages department supports an undergraduate curriculum, offering a Bachelor of Arts degree with a foreign language emphasis such as French, German, or Spanish.  The library circulating collection reflects this audience.  Introductory literature survey courses in these languages are offered along with advanced courses, mainly readings in French, German, or Latin American literature.

The library collection now supports present trends of literature and literary criticism in a variety of genres.  Multicultural literature as well as literature supporting gender studies and gay/lesbian issues have become parts of departmental elective courses and of the General Education curriculum, as seen in the "Cultural Literacy" and "Multicultural Intensive" requirements.  As a result, the library's collections should illustrate broad contexts of literature as it relates to multiple genres and cultures.

Existing Strengths and Weaknesses

Long tenures of many faculty in the English Department and their corresponding research interests are still very much reflected in the library collections.  Book shelves are lined with criticisms and biographies of modern, post-modern, and contemporary American and English authors.  Many of these criticisms are classics in their fields and should be retained.

However, multicultural literature is still a weakness in these collections.  Major African-American authors such as Alice Walker are represented, but recent authors from other minority cultures need to be highlighted. Requests for books relating to the Harlem Renaissance indicate a gap in that subject. Also lacking in the library collection are textbooks and guides to creative writing, as well as books of poetry by less well-known authors.  The current selector is working with faculty in the English and Foreign Languages departments to fill in these gaps and ensure that collection development corresponds with present curriculum needs.

Collecting Priorities (include retention strategies)

  • English (engl1):  Fund code used to purchase novels, short stories, and poetry in English and American literature.  Criticism, biographies and autobiographies of English and American authors are also purchased from this fund.  Collecting priorities are contemporary authors and corresponding literary criticisms.  Recent publications about the Harlem Renaissance and critical overviews of emerging poets, plus the accompanying poetry, should take the highest priorities as outlined earlier.  Retain classic materials, weeding and replacing judiciously books in poor condition and weeding critical works that have dated badly (check with faculty for input).

  • Literature (lit1):  Fund code used to purchase novels, short stories, and poetry from other countries.  Criticism, biographies and autobiographies of authors are also purchased from this fund.  Collecting priorities are contemporary authors and corresponding literary criticisms.  Multicultural literature and criticism should take the highest priorities as outlined earlier.  Retain classic materials, weeding and replacing judiciously books in poor condition and weeding critical works that have dated badly (check with faculty for input).

Selection Process and Tools

. Particular vendors

Baker and Taylor and Amazon.com are excellent resources for the latest literary criticisms, biographies, and autobiographies. Alibris.com is also a valuable resource for out-of-print literary works, fairly common requests in these disciplines.

. Specific Selection Guides

Choice Reviews online are invaluable for more obscure critical works about literary genres and specialties. The New York Times Book Review provides in-depth reviews of novels, collections of short stories and poetry, and criticisms, and is also helpful for identifying forthcoming paperback editions of books in these fields.  Other guides to consult include Library Journal and catalogs of university presses for unique local publications of novels, short stories, and poetry.

. Publishers to be Aware of in this Subject

Oxford University Press; Cambridge University Press; W.W. Norton; St. Martin's Press; Palgrave; regional university presses for local authors.