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

Purpose of the Collection

The collection supports faculty and students in the area of French and Francophone literature, culture, language, and linguistics, with an emphasis in the areas of faculty specialization and curricular focus.

Academic Department Description

Faculty in the Department of French & Italian focus on French and Francophone literature and culture, ranging from medieval fiction, poetry, and drama, to contemporary literature, literary theory, and intellectual history; and French language and linguistics, including language pedagogy. The Department has close affiliations with other departments and programs such as Comparative Literature, Film Studies, Theater and Dance, Medieval Studies, Renaissance Studies, Religious Studies, Sociology, Global Studies and Feminist Studies.  The Department offers undergraduate programs leading to a B.A. in French.  The graduate programs offer an M.A. and Ph.D. in Comparative Literature; doctoral students may also declare an emphasis in Medieval Studies, Translation Studies, Feminist Studies, and/or Applied Linguistics.

Subject Parameters

The entire French collection at the UCSB Library includes all areas of French literature, history, critical theory, language, and linguistics.  The Library currently collects across all subject areas in French, with a focus on the areas detailed below.


Emphasis is on literary texts and criticism in French, including the full range of French literature, theory and criticism from the Middle Ages to the present, in all genres. Less emphasis is placed on language pedagogy and second-language acquisition.

Subject Areas

This policy reflects current faculty scholarship and teaching in areas such as feminist studies, cinema, theater history, gastronomy, fantastic literature, music, aesthetic theory, and Francophone literature.  Contemporary French fiction is collected very selectively with the exception of major literary prize-winners, many of which are purchased in French with the corresponding English translation whenever possible. 

Geographical Coverage

Focus is on publications from France but does not exclude Francophone material that originates elsewhere.


Emphasis is on literary texts and criticism in French, although scholarly works in English are occasionally purchased. English translations of French texts are collected very selectively. French as defined by this policy encompasses all Francophone languages and dialects.

Chronological Limits

Coverage of French literature is comprehensive from the medieval period to the present.  Language acquisition and teaching is collected very selectively and usually by direct request; historical linguistics is covered by the Linguistics collection policy.

Publication Dates

Emphasis is on current publications.  Whenever possible, retrospective acquisitions are made to upgrade specific areas of the collection or to replace lost or damaged books.

Types of Materials Collected

Primary emphasis is on monographs, scholarly series, reference works, audio-visual materials, and periodicals. Scholarly reference sources, including dictionaries, encyclopedias, handbooks, and indexes, are collected.  Festschriften and proceedings of major national and international conferences are purchased selectively. Reprints, dissertations and theses, sound recordings, and ephemera, whether in French or English, are collected very selectively or not at all. Textbooks are not covered by this policy.


Whenever possible, books and journals are purchased in electronic format rather than print.

Systemwide and Other Resources

The collection benefits greatly from the Systemwide licensing of serials, indexing and abstracting databases, and digital archives by the California Digital Library (CDL) and UC Libraries. Interlibrary loan is used extensively.  Many requests for older materials are fulfilled through Interlibrary Loan, but if the demand is of a continuing nature, the material is considered for acquisition

Related Collection Development Policies

Because of the interdisciplinary nature of French and Francophone studies at UCSB, the program is served by the Library’s collecting across multiple subject areas.  See also the following collection development policies:

Subject librarian: Jane Faulkner
Policy Last Updated: May 2015