Literature Department

The Literature Department is temporarily closed.

Friday, February 5 – Message from Staff


At this time, the Art & Literature Department is not open for browsing or walk-ins but we can accommodate a limited number of in-person 30-minute research visits during the hours that Parkway Central Library is open to the public: Monday-Friday, 12-4pm. Please complete this form to request an appointment. 

Librarians are available to answer reference questions by phone 215 686 5402 Monday-Friday 9am-5pm or by email at:  We look forward to assisting you with your research in any way we can.

Upcoming Events

Monday Poets: Tariq Thompson, Dilruba Ahmed, Kayleb Candrilli

Mon, June 7, 2021 6:30 P.M.

This month’s Monday Poets readings are inspired by the beauty within Jericho Brown’s poetry and the urgency of the themes of The Tradition. Register here: Tariq Thompson is a Black poet from Memphis, Tennessee. He studies English and history…

Poetry Writing Workshop

Tue, June 8, 2021 6:00 P.M.
Cost: FREE

Register for this virtual two day workshop June 8th and June 10th where you will be introduced to poetry by discussing sample poems by published poets. You will then begin writing with a prompt which you will take home and work on and bring it to class on Thursday June 10th. This session will…


The Literature Department is located with the Art Department in Pepper Hall, 2nd floor, Parkway Central, and houses over 60,000 books of American, English and World Literature. Our collection includes:

  • Poetry, plays, essays, humor, folklore, letters and author biographies
  • Criticism of American, English and World Literature, including criticism of novels and short stories
  • Writing and citation guidebooks
  • Books on movies, theater, journalism and media studies
  • Linguistics and books about the English language
  • ESL and foreign language learning books and CDs

Please note novels and short stories in English and foreign languages are found in Philbrick Hall on the first floor.

Some highlights of the Literature Department’s collection:

The 23-volume Oxford English Dictionary with the four-volume Additions series, invaluable for tracing the etymology and history of English words, is on reference in our Dictionary section.

Please see our updated Periodical selection, with new titles to suit the needs of writers, poets, and film-lovers:

For anyone one doing 19th century research, we own Poole’s Index to Periodical Literature (1802-1881) and Wellesley Index to Victorian Periodicals (1824-1990).  The full-text of most of the citations listed is available on microfilm.

The Ottemiller Collection, which includes reference copies of significant, English-language plays from 1900-1985.

A large, in-depth collection of works by and about Shakespeare, some of which circulate and some of which are Reference. The collection includes original copies of Howard Henry Furness’s Variorum, and many 18th and 19th century American and English imprints of Shakespeare’s works (in remote storage).  To request any of these items please ask for assistance at the reference desk as they are located in our regional offsite center also known as ROC.

Research Resources

In addition please take a look at our listing of additional electronic resources located here.


Educators!  We are here for you!

Are you an educator interested in bringing a class to the Literature Department? You may contact us in advance by emailing and let us know what kinds of library materials would best support your course and we will work with you to help you gather books and other materials on a given subject. 

Booklists created for your pleasure!

Making Her Mark: Poetry and Movement Building:

Folklore Fridays list: