The French language and literature collection is rich in all time periods from Old French (ca. 1500) to the 21st century, with outstanding collections of rare books and manuscripts. Recently, special attention has been paid to francophone literature of Africa, the West Indies, and Canada.
The collection in French Language and Literature is located on the third floor of the Van Pelt-Dietrich Library Center in addition to LIBRA. Materials broadly support the teaching, research, and learning of the French and Francophone Studies department, as well as affiliated departments such as Romance Languages, English, History, and Comparative Literature. Acquisitions primarily include monographs and serials in all formats; more recently, emphasis has been placed on electronic resources, particularly those that are full-text searchable, and more popular genres, such as graphic novels. The collection has also grown in geographic reach to include influential works and criticism in francophone literature, from regions including North Africa, Subsaharan Africa, the French Caribbean, and French Canada.
The Penn Library Rare Book & Manuscript Library possesses a deep and diverse range of French language materials, much of it divided into separate collections. For example, the Maclure Collection contains some 20,000 pamphlets published in France between approximately 1788 and 1802 and is also available in a microfilm set of 371 reels at Microfilm 1927. Among individual titles is a nearly complete run of Illustration (1843-1944). Other highlighted collections are listed below.
Research in French and francophone studies can be accessed through a number of subject-specific databases in both literary- and French-focused databases. Multidisciplinary databases in the humanities are also useful for topics that cross a range of disciplines, especially in francophone studies.