UCB Libraries

Any photo you want can go here

III. Policies: American & English Literature

  • Subject name: English and American Literature
  • Subject abbreviations: LIT
  • Bibliographer: Skip Hamilton
  • Other subject responsibilities: Theatre and Dance, Film Studies
  • Address: 184 UCB, Reference & Instructional Services
  • Phone: 303-492-2987
  • Email: Skip.Hamilton@colorado.edu

I. Purpose:
The first priority in the continuing development of the English and American Literature Collection of the University of Colorado Boulder Libraries is to support the instructional and research activities of the Department of English at the University of Colorado. Certain members of the department also hold joint appointments with the Department of Comparative Literature, the Program for Writing and Rhetoric (PWR), and the Film Studies Programs. Therefore, direct collection support is given in these areas as well. English Departmental members have responsibilities in 9 additional interdisciplinary areas or study programs. The literary, background, and informational needs of these areas expand the range of materials needed for fulfilling the primary priority. The collection also serves, though at varying levels and degrees, research and teaching in the following academic departments or programs: Modern Languages and Literatures; Classics; Ethnic (or Minority) Studies; Gay Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Studies; Art and Art History; Theatre and Dance; History; Linguistics; Philosophy; Religious Studies; and Women Studies.

A. Curricular emphasis:

Teaching covers the full development of the English Language, the full development of English, American, and Post Colonial Literature, and Literary Theory. The traditional considerations of authors, periods and movements, genres, theories, and critical periods covering historical matters up to the present day are provided for in the Department’s undergraduate and graduate curriculum. English Language Studies are historical and philological rather than linguistic and are principally designed to serve the practical ends of improving writing skills and appreciating literary texts in Old, Middle, and early and modern English.


The department is also distinguished by its emphasis on creative writing in both the undergraduate and graduate curricula. Its program, its faculty, and the degrees offered in this area are nationally known.


B. Research emphasis:

Research interests cover all of the above curricular interests as well as being interdisciplinary. Current developments in social science theories inform many areas of research; therefore, selected materials supporting such research will be obtained.

C. Level of Degrees granted:

Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing,

Master of Arts, Master of Arts with an emphasis in Creative Writing,



The University of Colorado, Boulder’s Ph.D. in English and American Literature is the only Doctorate Degree in this disciplinary area offered by any state supported institution of higher education in Colorado. Therefore, the collection is viewed as the academic research collection for English and American Literature in the state. Such a perspective influences collection development decisions.


D. Special Studies. (Please see sections: 1. Introduction, 1.A, 1.E, and 1.F.)


E. Other Subjects/Interests That Overlap and Utilize Materials:

All ‘language and literature’ subject areas, education (particularly English as a second language), sociology, computer science, psychology, speech, language, and hearing science, history of science, anthropology, communication, philosophy.


Four Library Departments or Collections, (Rare Books/ Special Collections, Media, Art and Architecture, and Music), contain subject areas of mutual collecting concerns. English, American, and Post Colonial Literature collecting supports the relevant program needs and collection strengths found in these areas. Expensive items of critical worth to both collections are appropriate as shared expenses. Items which will be housed in branch libraries, but are more relevant for purchase by English and American Literature will always receive serious consideration.


The collection is also developed to provide the CU Boulder Academic Community with a source for leisure reading. Chiefly, such reading includes novels, poetry, short stories, and plays. These leisure interests reflect the nature of the academic community and, thus, draw heavily on the “belles’ lettres.”


F. Institutes or Labs That Utilize Materials:

Departmental members participate in the following institutes, centers or programs: The Alliance for Technology, Learning, and Society Institute; The Center for British and Irish Studies, The Center for Humanities and the Arts; The Center of the American West, The Program for Writing and Rhetoric. Therefore, information supporting the work of these groups will be considered for the collection.


G. Special Populations Outside University That Utilize Materials:
Materials are heavily used Interlibrary Loan, public and private school teachers, students and personnel, and by public patrons of the area and of the state.


H. Other Considerations:
Some little-used materials are housed in PASCAL, the library storage facility.

II. General Collection Guidelines:

A. Methods of Acquiring Materials:
Requests from faculty and graduate students will be given priority. Additional materials will be obtained through approval plan for books from Blackwell North American, selection from reviews, catalog orders. Gifts-in-kind will be selectively accepted based on the needs of the collection. Other patron requests will be considered if, in the opinion of the bibliographer, they fulfill the goals of this collection development statement.


B. Languages:
All primary works in some stage or form of the English language will be considered. English will be the predominant language of secondary materials, but French and German will also be found in the collection. Other Romance Languages, Scandinavian and Slavic for example, will be considered if the item is of major critical importance.


C. Chronological Guidelines:

Current materials are emphasized, but of necessity, collection interests cover the entire span of English, American, and Post Colonial Literature from its emergence in the Middle Ages to the current era. For American Literature, its emergence in the colonial period to the contemporary age will be collected.


D. Geographical Guidelines:
All important primary and secondary works published in the United States and Great Britain are collected. Significant works published in the Republic of Ireland, and Commonwealth Countries, such as Africa, Australia, India, and Canada - particularly by authors who write in English as part of their colonial heritage, are collected. Foreign materials which are useful critical works on English, American, and Post Colonial Language and Literatures will be obtained.


E. Treatment of Subject:
For all areas of English, American, and Post Colonial Literature, the necessary primary (literary, historical, theoretical, statistical, etc), secondary (monographs, journals, conference proceedings, technical reports, working papers, etc.), bibliographic, and reference sources (handbooks, encyclopedias, indexes, dictionaries, etc.) are collected.


F. Types (Formats) of Materials:


1. Books, monographic series, and periodicals in hard copy account for most materials collected. Microforms and electronic collections are routinely selected as are other formats appropriate to the nature of the collection. Acquisitions of CD ROM resources should only be pursued if the information, or its organization, is not available in any other format.


2. Microforms and electronic collections are normally purchased when the desired materials are either prohibitively expensive or not available in their original formats. In some cases microforms or electronic collections are preferable to hard copies (e.g. newspaper back runs) for reasons of storage and usage or conservation/ preservation.


3. Duplicate holdings of imprints are discouraged. Retrospective purchasing of previous editions of titles already held in the collection is discouraged unless determined to have additional scholarly value. New editions generally are collected only when they contain significant new/revised content

  • Reprints and facsimile editions of items not held are selected if it is determined they are more durably printed and bound than the original works. As such they are preferred to the original editions.

5. If funds allow, rare books and other rare materials are normally acquired if there is a programmatic or collection need. Such items must be obtained for the collection where the collection is viewed as being comprehensive, or where they are essential for research. Placement of such items in the regular collection will be determined by the placement policies currently in practice in the library and under the purview of the Head of Special Collections and the Reference Bibliographer for English and American Literature.

  • Translations of important works from their original language into English are generally acquired.
  • Textbooks and readers intended for class use are not collected unless determined to be of long-term value to the collection.

G. Date of Publication:
Current materials are emphasized, but of necessity, collection interests cover the entire span of English, American and Post Colonial Literature from its emergence in the Middle Ages to the current era. For American Literature, its emergence in the colonial period to the contemporary age will be collected. Thus, items published during those dates will be of high value for the collection.


H. Other General Considerations:
The majority of the collection is located in the Norlin Library stacks and Periodicals Room. Major reference works are located in the Reference Department, and some rare materials are housed in Special Collections. In general, lesser-used materials with adequate intellectual access are in off-site storage (PASCAL).


III. Observations and Qualifications by Subject and LC Class:

Below is a very general outline for the LC class of English and American Language and Literature . Relevant materials may be classified in many of these locations.

P - Philology. Linguistics


PA - Classical language and literature. (Latin and Greek)


PB - Modern languages. Celtic languages


PE - English language


PM - American and Mixed Languages


PN - Literary Types (poetry, drama, film, etc), History and Collections (General)


PR - English Literature


PS - American Literature


Z 4 to 550 - History of Bookmaking, Printing and the Study of Bibliography


Z 1201 to 1946 - American National Bibliography


Z 2021 to 2029 – Bibliography of Great Britain and Ireland


Z5051 to 7999 – Bibliographies of subjects relevant for teaching and for research on Literature


Z8001.A1 to 8997.95 - Bibliographies of individuals, particularly authors.