General policies and principles for the Library's collections are stated in the General Collection Development Policy.  

Purpose of the Collection

The collection supports the UCSB English Department’s curriculum through the doctoral level, and all faculty research and scholarship.

The policy in general covers the full range of English and American Literature including literary theory, criticism, and history, from Medieval and Early Modern to the present time in all genres.  More specifically, the policy seeks to fully support the English Department’s eight Research Centers:

  • American Culture and Global Contexts Center
  • Center for Modernism, Materialism & Aesthetics
  • Early Modern Center
  • Hemispheric South/s
  • Literature and the Environment
  • Literature and the Mind
  • Medieval Literatures
  • Transcriptions Center (Literature & Information)

The policy also collects materials for additional faculty research interests including feminist, race, and queer theories; science and literature; immigrant, cultural and ethnic literatures; Irish cultural studies; science fiction; literature and technology; new media; electronic literature; digital humanities; epistolary literature; hagiography and historiography; Reformation theology, and hermeneutics. 

Subject Parameters

Collection priorities include works covering the subjects outlined above. Materials relevant to Comparative Literature and translation studies are covered by this policy and often shared with the associated discipline (such as French or German).  Current fiction is covered by this policy and collected selectively.



Priority is given to areas of the greatest research interest to the faculty and fall primarily in the Library of Congress classifications PE, PR, and PS. Important secondary materials and translations into English are collected when appropriate.

Geographical Coverage

Emphasis has traditionally been on Great Britain and the United States, but now includes any Anglophone country or area.


Focus is on English-language materials. Important secondary materials and translations into English are collected selectively. Critical literary studies and literature in languages other than English are outside the scope of this policy.

Chronological Limits

Coverage is comprehensive from Medieval and Early Modern to the present.

Publication Dates

Emphasis is on current publications, with selective purchase of retrospective materials to support research needs, to improve specific areas of the collection, or to replace lost or damaged materials.

Types of Materials Collected

Emphasis is on university press research monographs and scholarly journals. Scholarly editions from trade, small, and alternative presses are acquired selectively. Reference material is collected as widely as possible. Works by contemporary novelists and poets, including local authors, is actively collected. Popular fiction and graphic novels are collected selectively.  Textbooks are not included.


Electronic is the preferred format for both books and serials. Microform is collected if it provides access to retrospective primary materials that are unlikely to be digitized. DVD, audio, visual, reprints, and dissertations are collected very selectively in support of research needs.

Systemwide and Other Resources

Collections serving English literature benefit heavily from the library’s participation in serials and research databases that are licensed by the California Digital Library and funded by the UC campuses.

Related Collection Development Policies

See also the following collection development policies:

Subject librarian: Jane Faulkner
Policy Last Updated: June 2015