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Collection Development @ SJSU Library

Collection Development Policy -  English & Comparative Literature

Last Updated: 2018

Programs Supported

Selection for this subject discipline is designed to support undergraduate teaching leading to a BA degree in English as well as providing a solid foundation in literature, language and composition for all students.  The department offers a BA in English with programs of study in English, American, World, and Comparative Literature, and a BA with a concentration in Career Writing in Creative and Professional Writing.  There is also a BA in English Education which prepares candidates for teaching in Junior and Senior High Schools.   English majors enter a wide array of careers, including teaching, technical writing, and industry and go on to graduate programs in fields such as English, Law and Medicine. Minors include literature, comparative literature, creative writing and professional and technical writing.  There is also a Certificate Program in Professional and Technical Writing.

The University presently offers a Masters in English which emphasizes literature.  The Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing trains professional writers in the history and craft of poetry, creative nonfiction, fiction, and script-and screen-writing. 

Existing Resources

The University Library serves as the University's main resource for basic works on this subject. In the past SJSU, as the oldest CSU campus, had a good collection of literature and criticism, especially for John Steinbeck (Steinbeck Center Special Collections).  The department has expanded its focus to include world literature. The library has made enhanced collections in the areas of creative, career and professional writing, creative non-fiction, technical writing, journalism and electronic publishing but needs to continue in this effort.  Collecting may overlap with other departments including World Languages and Literatures, and Radio, TV, Film & Theater.


Collection coordination is as noted below in Section IV.  In some areas the collection has the same or similar titles in the King collection of the San Jose Public Library. The SJPL collects popular literature. SJSU only buys works with “literary merit”, popularity being an unexpected bonus. 

Materials Collected

Languages – Primarily sources may be collected in the original language for major works if two years of the language is taught at SJSU.  English translations of the classics of world literature and criticism will be acquired to support the curriculum.  A limited number of works in Old and Middle English shall be included.

Geographical Areas – All periods of American and English literature are collected.  Major works of American, Canadian and British criticism will be included.  Criticism in English published elsewhere will be purchased selectively.  

Chronological Periods – All periods of American and English literature are collected.  Major works of American, Canadian and British criticism will be included.  Criticism in English published elsewhere will be purchased selectively.  Major works of world literature will be collected.

Current / Retrospective Materials – The primary works of literature in the collection are largely older works.  Additional older materials and contemporary works should be collected to provide students a representative sample of the works of authors covered in the curriculum.  Criticism collected will include a majority of works published within the last 50 years and a selection of the major older works.  The materials should include a representative survey of various periods and schools of criticism.  The library should contain a sample of contemporary literature including poetry, novels and a selection of works by American, English, world and local writers.  Current works on the art of creative and technical writing should be collected.

Special Materials – Signed editions, fine press editions and broadsides are not regularly collected.  

Collection Strengths

The book collection is fairly strong in basic undergraduate sources for history, criticism, theory, and analysis of English and Comparative Literature, particularly Western. In recent years, with the establishment of courses in creative and technical writing, more materials have been acquired to support those courses. 

Video and DVD purchase has been largely been replaced by streaming video collections and will only be purchased with approval if streaming video versions are not available.

The library now has an excellent collection of databases in the discipline of English, British, and World Literature.  These databases provide online access to a number of essential journal titles featured in databases such as the MLA International Bibliography, Humanities Full-Text, Literature Online, Shakespeare Collection, The Oxford English Dictionary, Literature Resource Center, Underground and Independent Comics, Comix, and Graphic Novels, Arts and Humanities Full-Text, JSTOR, Early English Books Online, Project MUSE, as well as databases devoted to Black Women Writers, Latin Women Writers, British Women Writers (Orlando), Scottish and Irish Women Poets of the Romantic Period, and South and Southeast Asian Writers.     

Evaluation of Collection

Academic Senate Policy

According to Academic Senate Library Policy S15-10, periodic evaluations of the print collection are required to maintain the high quality of the academic collection, with the primary goals of improving the effectiveness of browsing and providing space for new acquisitions. The objectives include relocating materials, and weeding duplicate materials and materials that supported discontinued programs or are no longer relevant for current programs. Evaluation of the English and Comparative Literature collection involves print materials and other media as well.

Past, Present and Future Evaluation Plans

Books: Will continue to order books using the book selection plan from GOBI with focus on advanced study level materials.  Continued focus on newer editions of classic works as well as filling important gaps in classic American and English literature, as well as gaps in coverage of central figures in American Literature including Faulkner, Melville, London, O’Connor, Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Barnes, and Cather.  Also, attention will continue to be focused on collection of California authors and California literature. 

Video:  Current purchase of video is primarily focused on streaming video collections. 

Journals and Databases: Databases which provide excellent coverage of creative writing journals and English literature journals have been acquired through the purchase of such core online databases and repositories as Literature Online, Shakespeare Collection, Early English Books Online, Orlando: Women’s Writing in the British Isles, and others.