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Collections in the Library

The Penn Library is one of the oldest academic libraries in the nation. Historically, its strengths lie in the humanities, selected social sciences, and Middle Eastern and Asian Studies. Areas of concentration include classics, history, linguistics, literature, the history of science, religion, anthropology and archeology, with emphasis often on primary sources. In recent years the Library has been building strong collections in engineering, mathematics, and the physical and life sciences. The Penn Library holds more than 5 million printed volumes, 3.8 million items in microform, and subscribes to more than 40,000 current serial subscriptions.

In the development of its collections, the Library's priority is to support Penn's teaching and research needs with information in all applicable formats and media. Policies formed in consultation with faculty guide the selection of materials, and ongoing liaison between librarians and academic departments ensures the alignment of collections with information needs in the academic programs of Penn's twelve schools.

While maintaining the great traditions of Penn's print collections, the Library is becoming a leader in the development of digital resources. Penn's Digital Library on the Internet is recognized for its organization of scholarly content. To provide faster, more convenient access to research and current reference information, we are focusing increased attention on the acquisition of full text material online. Librarians continue to select and link to Web resources of known quality and content, creating an extensive electronic collection that merges locally created and commercially supplied resources with the best of the Internet.

The Library's print collections are growing by approximately 100,000 volumes per year. New acquisitions are selected from scholarly and literary works published in North and South America, Europe, Asia, Australia, the Middle East, and Africa. The Library is a depository for government publications of the U.S., the European Community, and the United Nations. In addition to electronic resources, printed books and journals, the Library also acquires works in microform, photographic slides, sound recording, videos and other media consistent with Penn's academic program needs.

Faculty and students are encouraged to recommend titles for purchase or linkage to the Library Web. Please contact the librarians and bibliographers, or use the purchase request form.

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