SFU Library World Literature collections policy

This document provides information on the World Literature collection of Simon Fraser University Library, detailing the scope of coverage, collection responsibilities, and selection tools, and giving an overview of the collection and its users. It will serve as a basis for managing, maintaining, and planning for the future development of the collection, and as a tool for other collectors and administrators.

Currently, the World Literature Program offers the following academic programs:  major, minor, extended minor and honours; joint major in World Literature and History; joint major in World Literature and International Studies.

Faculty Research & teaching areas


Modern Arabic fiction
British fiction
French fiction
German literature
Greek literature (ancient)
Modern Japanese literature and culture
Latin American poetry and prose
Modernist fiction
Comparative folklore studies  
Hellenic studies
Internationalism in children’s literature

Cultural studies
Film & popular culture
Poetics of the cinema
Popular culture and transnationalism
Interconnections of literature and philosophy
Literary theory
Semiotics of translation
Translation practice and theory
Women’s writing

Collection development

The Liaison Librarian for World Literature is responsible for collection development. This Librarian maintains contact with the World Literature Program 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 English (comparative literature; literary criticism; literary theory; creative writing); Contemporary Arts (film; popular culture; theory of cinema); Humanities (classics; history of humanist thought; religion); Liberal Studies; Women’s Studies; and Philosophy.  These areas are being carefully developed in cooperation with the related subject liaison librarians.

SFU resources
The W.A.C. Bennett Library is the major location for the University's World Literature 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 World Literature 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 Program’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 Program.

Review media include Choice, Booklist, Publisher’s Weekly, World Literature Today, London Review of Books, New Yorker, Europaeditions.com, and Wordswithoutborders.org.  

Languages: The primary language of the collection is English. Relevant works in other languages are purchased if requested by faculty.  Works that are primarily acquired are works translated into English, or bilingual editions; works originally written in English by ethnic or linguistic minorities.

Chronological guidelines: Emphasis is on current publication dates, primarily within last 20 years. Historical works are purchased if requested by faculty.

Geographical guidelines:  For primary sources, emphasis is primarily on non-English regions (Europe, South America, Asia, Africa, Middle-East). For secondary sources, emphasis is on the publishers from the U.K., Canada, U.S., Australasia and Europe.

Formats of materials: print, electronic, media

Types of materials:  novels (including graphic), drama, poetry, essays; selective theoretical and critical secondary sources; film (live action, animated, documentary); World Literature anthologies

Specific collection guidelines

Supporting research and teaching needs of the World Literature Program, the Library will acquire:

  • Works listed in course syllabi
  • Titles requested by faculty for student or faculty use
  • Literary titles in translation associated with public events sponsored by the World Literature Program
  • Works by major individual world literature authors
  • Anthologies of world literature authors
  • Critical works of authors and regions frequently taught in WL classes
  • Selectively, titles on the following topics: Modernism, Romanticism, Humanism, Literary theory, Postcolonial theory, Translation studies, Diaspora/multicultural literature, Cross-cultural studies, Religious studies, Imperialism, Global culture.