SFU Library English collections policy

The English Department at SFU offers several undergraduate programs: an Honours, a Major, five Joint Majors (with Communications, French Literature, Gender, Sexuality, & Women’s Studies, History, and Humanities), a Minor, and an Extended Minor.  It also offers a Master’s degree (M.A.), the M.A. with the specialization in Print Culture, and the M.A. for Teachers of English, as well as a doctoral degree (Ph.D.).  It also offers the Certificate in Creative Writing, the Certificate in Performance Studies, and the Certificate in Writing and Rhetoric.

Faculty research and teaching areas

American Literature
Asian North American Literature
Canadian Literature
Children's Literature
Creative Writing
Crime Fiction
Critical Theory
Cultural Studies
Cultural Memory Studies
Diasporic and Post-colonial literature
Digital Humanities
Early Modern/Renaissance
Fantasy/Science Fiction
Gender, Sexuality, and Class

Indigenous Literatures
Intellectual History
Marxism, Anarchism, and Ecology
Old English/Medieval
Poetry and Poetics
Print Culture/Media Studies
Rhetoric and Writing
Scottish Studies
Theatre and Performance Studies
U.S. Southern Studies
18th Century Literature
19th Century Literature
20th Century & Contemporary Literature

Collection development

The Liaison Librarian for English Studies is responsible for collection development. This Librarian maintains contact with the English Department through the Department’s Library Representative and, occasionally, through discussions with individual faculty members. The Liaison Librarian is also in regular contact with other liaison librarians and teaching departments, and this nurtures the sharing of relevant material.

Coordination and cooperation with other library collecting areas

There is an overlap with some other SFU Library collections and funds, including Linguistics (English language, semantics); Education (English as a second language; second language acquisition); World Literature (theory of literature; comparative literature); Contemporary Arts (theory of cinema and theatre; performance studies), Communication (writing, rhetoric), Publishing (print culture; book history), Humanities (Classics), and philosophy.  These areas are being carefully developed in cooperation with the related subject liaison librarians.

In addition, the Special Collections and Rare Books Division houses Contemporary Literature Collection of post-war experimental and avant-garde poetry, as well as works by Wordsworth, bpNichol, William Morris, Fred Wah, and others.  

SFU resources

The W.A.C. Bennett Library is the major location for the University's English Studies collection. A number of SFU Library resources, including books, encyclopedias, journals, and journal article databases, are available online, so they are equally accessible to all three campuses.

Regional resources

The University of British Columbia has a large English literature collection comprehending all branches of the discipline and is part of the interlibrary loan network.

Consortia and Document Delivery

SFU belongs to three consortia (Electronic Library Network; Council of Prairie and Pacific University Libraries; and the Canadian Association of Research Libraries). Document delivery agreements exist with all three of these consortia allowing delivery of journal articles and books from various Canadian libraries in a timely manner. Holdings and direct requesting from over 40 libraries are accessible through the SFU Library Catalogue and from article databases.

General collection guidelines

Methods of acquiring materials: The Library maintains a collections profile with a book vendor for collecting suitable monographs related to the Department’s research and teaching interests. The Liaison Librarian responsible for this subject area also accepts requests for relevant book purchases when they come from faculty members and students in the Department.

Languages: The primary language of the collection is English. Old English and Medieval English primary texts are purchased if required by faculty.

Chronological guidelines: Emphasis is on current publication dates. Historical works are purchased if requested by faculty. Literary works from early periods to the present are collected.

Geographical guidelines:  For secondary sources, emphasis is on the publishers from the U.K., Canada, U.S., Australasia and Europe.

Treatment of subject: Exclusively scholarly secondary material is purchased. Self-published material is not purchased.

Types of materials: Collecting is split between books and journals, with a much greater percentage spent on the monograph collection.  The emphasis is placed on print, rather than electronic books, e-journals and relevant online journal article databases; monographic series, audio-visual and electronic media are acquired if requested by faculty.

Specific collection guidelines

The English literature collection at the SFU Library serves the research needs of faculty and students and seeks to support a broad range of courses at the undergraduate and graduate level.   The collection is strong in both primary and secondary sources. Major authors and minor figures are collected as identified by faculty or the subject librarian.

In addition, the English profile is set up with a book vendor to capture the following books:

Primary works
New editions of major authors’ works from U.K., Canada, U.S., and Commonwealth countries.  New literary works are selected from reputable review periodicals, such as ALA Booklist, the New York Times Book Review, etc. Recipients and shortlisted authors of major Canadian, American, British and International literary awards are collected.

Secondary works
Literary history, literary theory, comparative literature, literary criticism (including children’s literature), metrics and prosody

Genres & Forms
Fiction: novels, including science fiction, crime novels & fantasy narratives; folk tales; graphic novels (selectively); children’s books and YA fiction (only when requested by faculty); popular fiction (selectively); short stories; poetry and drama, including avant-garde.

Non-fiction (selectively collected): diaries, biographies, essays, speeches, correspondence;

Reprints are not collected.

Periods and major literary figures

1. British literature

Old English (Anglo-Saxon) (450–1066): Beowulf; Exeter Book

Middle English (1066–1500): Chaucer; Langland; Malory; the Pearl Poet;

Renaissance (1500–1660): Marlowe, Bacon, Spenser, Shakespeare ;  Ben Johnson, John Webster,  John Milton,

Neoclassical Period & Restoration (1660–1785) : Aphra Behn, William Congreve, Daniel Defoe, John Dryden, Henry Fielding, Samuel Johnson, Alexander Pope, John Locke, Jonathan Swift, Samuel Richardson, Thomas Percy

Romantic Period (1785–1832): William Wordsworth, Samuel Coleridge, William Blake,
Lord Byron, John Keats, Charles Lamb, Mary Wollstonecraft, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Thomas De Quincey, Jane Austen, Mary Shelley, Walter Scott.

Gothic (1786-1800): Matthew “Monk” Lewis, Anne Radcliffe, and William Beckford.

Victorian Period (1832–1901): Charlotte and Emily Bronte, Samuel Butler, Thomas Carlyle, Charles Dickens, Elizabeth Gaskell, George Eliot (Mary Ann Evans), Thomas Hardy, John Ruskin, Swinburne, William Thackeray, Anthony Trollope
poets: Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Christina Rossetti, Alfred Lord Tennyson

Edwardian (1901–1914) and Modern (1914–1945): Joseph Conrad, Rudyard Kipling, Henry James, H.G. Wells ; E.M. Forster, Graham Greene, Aldous Huxley, James Joyce, D.H. Lawrence, Doris Lessing, Dorothy Richardson, Virginia Woolf.
Poets: W.H. Auden, T.S. Eliot, Alfred Noyes, Dylan Thomas, W.B. Yeats
Dramatists: James Barrie, Samuel Beckett, Caryl Churchill, John Galsworthy, F. McGuinness, Harold Pinter, G.B. Shaw, Tom Stoppard

Postmodern Period (1945–1960):  Samuel Beckett, Joseph Heller, Anthony Burgess, John Fowles, Penelope M. Lively, Iain Banks.

Post 1960 authors: Collected as needed

2. Canadian literature

All genres from pre-Confederation to the present; literary criticism; major authors, classic and contemporary; prominent Canadian indigenous authors (Eden Robinson); works of major French Canadian authors translated into English (Mordecai Richler; Gabrielle Roy; Michel Tremblay); prominent British Columbia authors.

Margaret Atwood; Bill Bissett; George Bowering; Frank Davey; Margaret Laurence; L.M. Montgomery; Susanna Moodie; Alice Munro; bpNichol; Michael Ondaatje; Carol Shields, Fred Wah, Phyllis Webb, and others.

3. American literature

Major authors’ works, from the colonial period to the present and literary criticism:

18th century: Emily Dickinson

19th century:  Willa Cather, Kate Chopin, Emerson, Hawthorne, Henry Longfellow, Herman Melville, E.A. Poe, Sarah Orne Jewett, Henry Thoreau, M. Twain, Walt Whitman

20th Century: Edward Albee, Crane; Dreiser; T. S. Eliot; Robert Frost; Morrison; Flannery O'Connor; Pynchon; John Steinbeck; Warren; Wolfe;

Lost generation: Faulkner, Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Stein

Harlem Renaissance: Baldwin, Ellison

Beat generation: A. Ginsberg, J. Kerouac, W.S. Burroughs

Avant-garde and experimental poetry: Creeley, Duncan, McClure, Olson, E. Pound, Snyder, Williams

Post 1960 authors are collected as needed.  

4. Post-colonial literature in English

Literary writing that is significant in the national mainstream of a specific country's literature or that has international significance; emphasis is on Australian, New Zealand (Katherine Mansfield), Caribbean and South African literatures.

Levels of collecting

The levels of collection development describe current collecting goals in English Studies programs, and are subject to ongoing adjustment.

Out of scope: (of the Department's curricula and research)

Ancient literature and criticism; Anonymous literary classics; Children's writings; Classical literature; College readers; Epigrams and anecdotes; Erotic literary works; Film and TV plays;
Inspirational literary texts; Juvenile non-fiction and criticism; Juvenile literature; Nursery rhymes; One-act plays; Radio plays; Skits & burlesque; Song lyrics

Basic level: (general materials that serve to introduce and define a subject)

Anthologies; Bibliographies; Biographies; Collected works; Encyclopedias; English language dictionaries; Help books for writers; Native American literature; Thrillers; Textbooks (only if requested by faculty).

Research level:

American literature; Asian North American literature; Avant-garde works and criticism (American, British and Canadian); Book history & print culture; Canadian literature;
Canadian indigenous literatures; Children’s literature, theory and criticism; Digital humanities;
Ecocriticism; Experimental poets and playwrights; History of English literature; Literary criticism (British - from the Old English period to contemporary); Literary criticism (American and Canadian); Literary criticism (Commonwealth authors; emphasis is on Australian, New Zealand, Caribbean, and South African literature); Literary theory; Marxist literary criticism; Poetics; Rhetoric; Scottish Studies; U.S. Southern Studies

[Last updated: 11/2018)