History of the collection

At the end of the 1950s, Ghent University starts expanding, and ever more different specializations are created. In this context, also the seminars at the Faculty of Arts and Philosophy start to distinctly position themselves as separate entities; the programme in Germanic Philology, for instance, is officially split up into separate seminars in 1955.

The seminar for English Philology and its library at Universiteitstraat are then headed by director Franz De Backer.

Around 1960, the seminar moves to the new faculty buildings at Blandijnberg and it is split into English Linguistics and English Literary Studies. The common library, however, remains. The seminar for English Literary Studies is led by Willem Schrickx. It was he who lay the foundation for the classification of the literature section by century and by author in the 1950s, modeled after the German system. During the golden 1960s, thanks to professor Schrickx, the English literature collection is expanded. In 1966, due to the strong increase in books, the seminar library is formally split into English Linguistics and English Literature, with each section now having its own register.

In 1971, the physical separation is complete, as the seminar for English Literature and its library move to the Rozier building complex due to lack of space. The seminar library is organized as a depot library. In the same year, the Documentation Centre for Dramatic Arts is integrated into the seminar. The Centre aims to “collect all documentation concerning dramatic arts and to promote the study thereof” and makes use of the infrastructure and staff at the English Literature library. In the 1970s, the collection is expanded as the interest for American Literature increases.

In the second half of the 1980s, collection growth slows down significantly due to budget cuts in the wake of the economic crisis. The very limited budget makes for a lack of balance in the development of the collection. In this period, the classification system is reviewed, after a succession of assistants had led to a number of superfluous and unclear categories. In addition, a manual for drawing up catalogue cards is made. In 1988, the Documentation Centre for Dramatic Arts is separated from the seminar and the seminar’s title is now ‘Seminar for English and American Literature’.

At the beginning of the 1990s, the seminars are transformed into departments. The library merely changes its name to ‘Departmental Library of English and American Literature’. A more drastic change is the switch from the analogue catalogue card system to the digital Aleph catalogue. In this context, the departmental library of English and American Literature serves as a pilot library for new orders, which are now processed through the acquisition team at the faculty of Arts and Philosophy. The use of the library card catalogue is discontinued on 1 January 2004.

In 1995, the Ghent Urban Studies Team is established in the context of a partnership between the department of English and American Literature and the department of Architecture and Urban Planning. The departments manage the collection together. The collection on Teaching Methodology is disposed of. It was connected to the aggregate college on Didactics (partim: English) and it is now largely transferred to the Faculty Library of Psychology and Educational Sciences. In the 1990s, the departmental library receives several considerable donations from the American, Australian, Canadian, and Irish embassies.

The current English and American literature collection is of a high quality at the national level. During the period between 1960 and 1985, the acquisition of books is centrally managed by professor Schrickx. After that, there is a more democratic system in which the budget is divided among those

concerned in a proportionate way. After the retirement of Willem Schrickx, Jean-Pierre Vander Motten manages the collection between 1985 and 2010, alongside his role as president of the Faculty Library Committee for Arts and Philosophy. Sandro Jung is responsible for collection management from 2011 onwards.

In the autumn of 2011, the collection is transferred to the Faculty Library of Arts and Philosophy. Part of the collection is stored in the depot (mainly less topical works). In early 2014, the GUST collection is integrated into the Art History collection (L70).

Faculteitsbibliotheek 2016.
Faculty Library 2016.