The Penn Library collects materials relevant to the languages, literatures, culture, history, arts, and social sciences of the Iberian Peninsula. The foundation for these collections is the late 19th century initiative to acquire significant items of the Spanish, or Castilian, literature of the medieval and Golden Age (siglo de oro) periods. The prestige of Penn's Spanish literature program in the 20th century was built on expertise in medieval and Golden Age literature, supported by the library's collections. Over time the collection extended to more proximate periods of Spanish peninsular literature and the Spanish-language literature of the Americas and other regions of the empire. The library has collected at a modest level literature and other works in Portuguese, Catalan, Galician, and other languages of the peninsula, including Basque.
While there are important collections in the Kislak Center (see "Special Collections") most of the Iberian holdings are found in the Van Pelt stacks, with relevant materials also in Fisher Fine Arts, the Albrecht Music Library, and the Museum Library. For browsing in the Van Pelt stacks, see especially these call number ranges on the 3rd and 5th floors: PC3800-3976 (Catalan language and literature), PC4001-PC4977 (Spanish language), PC5001-PC5498 (Portuguese language), PQ6001-PQ7011 (Spanish literature of Spain), PQ9000-PQ9401 (literature of Portugal and the Azores), DP1-DP402 (history of Spain and its regions), DP501-DP802 (history of Portugal). For the relevant ranges of the literature and history of Spanish America and Brazil, see the description in the Latin American Studies overview. One should also keep in mind that, because of space considerations, much of the collection originally housed in Van Pelt is being moved over time to an offsite storage facility, known as LIBRA. While we continue to collect the latest works of history and criticism regarding the medieval and Golden Age periods, we currently collect all periods of Spanish literature and acquire the latest works of Spanish fiction, drama, and poetry. In the same way, we acquire works on Spanish history for all historical periods, with a recent emphasis on Spanish political and cultural history of the last century, most especially on the Spanish Civil War and its aftermath.