Collection Selector

Steve Smith

Steve Smith

Head, Collection Development

General Purpose of the Collection

The primary purpose of the Theatre collection is to support the needs of students in the School of Theatre of the College of Fine Arts (CFA), and those in English, Modern Languages and Comparative Literature, Romance Studies, Classics, and other disciplines who are interested in theatre studies. The library collection includes both publications on practical theatre arts and publications in theatre research. Materials on acting, directing, design and production, and stage management form a significant part of the collection. Of equal importance are publications that cover historical and contemporary theatre practices and productions, movements, and personalities; theatre criticism; memoirs and other writings by important theatrical figures; and playtexts.

The School of Theatre (SOT) describes itself as ‘a conservatory for professional training of the highest caliber.’ Its programs offer technical training and practical experience for students who will pursue artistic and commercial careers in theatre and related media. The major areas of concentration in the BFA program are the performance core, acting, design (scenery, costumes, lighting, and sound), production (technical direction and costume production), stage management, and theatre arts. SOT also offers minors in Theatre and in Dance. The MFA program offers concentrations in directing; in design, production, and management; and in theatre education. SOT offers the Artisan Certificate in Production for scenic artists, costumers, electricians, stage carpenters, and property masters.

Scope of Coverage

Languages collected (primary and selective) or excluded
Practical theatre arts publications are collected in English. Most research materials about British or American theatre are in English. Research materials about theatre in other parts of the world are acquired by other selectors, and may be in foreign languages.
Geographical areas covered by the collections in terms of intellectual content, publication sources, or both, and specific areas excluded, as appropriate
A significant part of the research collection focuses on American and British theatre. Other selectors, for Modern Languages, Romance Studies, African Studies, and Classics, provide coverage of international theatre from both historical and contemporary perspectives.
Chronological periods covered by the collection in terms of intellectual content, movements or schools, and specific periods excluded, as appropriate
There are no chronological limits for the research collection. The majority of technical and professional training materials reflect contemporary practices.
Chronological periods collected in terms of publication dates, and specific periods excluded, as appropriate
Current publications are of primary importance. Retrospective purchases are made on a selective basis for the research collection, depending on availability of materials and funds.

General Subject Boundaries and Library Locations

The subject scope of the Theatre collection is primarily covered by the Library of Congress call number PN. We also collect selectively in the Bibliography (Z) class in Drama and Theater, and in National and Personal Bibliography. The collection is housed in Mugar Memorial Library.


  • PN 1530-1590 : Performing arts. Show business
  • PN 1600-1988 : Drama
  • PN 2000-3035 : Dramatic representation. The theater

Collected Selectively:

  • PN 6110.5-6120 : Collections of general literature. Drama
  • Z 1201-4980.A-.Z : National Bibliography
  • Z 5781-5784 : Drama. Theater. Bibliography
  • Z 8001-8999 : Personal Bibliography

Collected Very Selectively:

  • GT 500-2370 : Costume. Dress. Fashion
  • PR 621-739 : English literature. Drama
  • PR 1241-1273 : Collections of English literature. Drama

The selector for Theatre may consult with selectors in other subject areas.

Related subjects and Interdisciplinary Relationships

African Studies
The African Studies selectors collect material on theatre in Africa.
The Anthropology Selector is primarily responsible for Manners and Customs (GT), but Theatre collects very selectively in Costume, Dress, and Fashion (GT 500-2370).
The Art Selector is primarily responsible for materials on arts in general and on performance art.
The Classics Selector is responsible for material on the theatre of ancient Greece and Rome.
The Communication Selector is responsible for material on broadcasting and motion pictures, including screenplays.
There may be consultation with the English Selector on early theatre and drama in North America and the U.K.
Modern Languages/Romance Studies
The selector for Modern Languages and for Romance Studies is primarily responsible for materials on theatre history and dramatic literature in the languages, geographical areas, and chronological periods pertinent to those collections.
There may be consultation with the Music Selector on dance and movement for the stage, and on music theatre.

Types of Materials

Books, periodicals, commercially-published playtexts, and reference materials, which include encyclopedias, annuals, bibliographies, biographical dictionaries and directories, indexes, and companions.
Collected Selectively
Microforms, textbooks, dissertations, conference proceedings, multi-media publications, spoken-word recordings, electronic resources, and acting editions of plays (when the text is available only in that format).
Not Collected
Playbills, vanity press publications, pamphlets, rare books and manuscripts, and films, videotapes, or DVDs.

Other On-Campus or Local Resources

The Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center, located in the Mugar Memorial Library building, is open to those engaged in serious research. The Twentieth Century Archives is a major resource for information on contemporary personalities in literature, criticism, drama, journalism, film, and other fields.

The Geddes Language Center, 685 Commonwealth Avenue, provides specially-equipped classrooms, laboratories, studios, theatres, workspaces, and a large library of non-print material.

Krasker Film/Video Services provides instructional media support to University classes. Faculty can browse the online catalog and reserve any of more than 18,500 film and video titles from the Krasker collection for classroom use. Krasker also has an onsite previewing room at Mugar Memorial Library, basement level, 771 Commonwealth Avenue, equipped to screen all formats in the Krasker collection, including 16mm, VHS, Laser Disc, DVD, and Blu-ray.