Women and Gender Studies Collection - Collections


The collection is maintained by Women & Gender Information Resources, A virtual branch of the University Library.

The Women’s Studies collection supports the work of the Women’s Studies Program, which is committed to promote and administer instruction and advanced research on women, within and across disciplines, including work on the roles, status and history of women; women in literature and the arts; public policy issues relating to women; international studies and women, and research and teaching that involve the sexuality and physiology of women. It is the most comprehensive single collection in Women’s Studies in the state and region.

Revised April 2005


I. Collection Description


To support the teaching and research requirements of the Gender and Women’s Studies Program (GWS), a unit within the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. GWS is committed to provide an educational environment that promotes an awareness of and appreciation for differences created by gender, race, ethnicity, class, global location, and sexual orientation. Gender and Women’s Studies offer an undergraduate major and minor, and a graduate minor.

The collection also supports the Women and Gender in Global Perspectives Program (WGGP), a unit in the International Programs and Studies Division. The mission of WGGP is to promote the study of global human security and gender equity. Core areas of research, teaching, and public engagement are transnational migration, health, and livelihood. WGGP offers an interdisciplinary graduate minor in Gender Roles in International Development (GRID) which is designed to give students the analytical and empirical skills needed to address global human security and gender equity issues in research and policy analysis, as well as daily life.

Because of the multidisciplinary nature of women’s studies, the women and gender resources collection supports the work of many students and faculty in a variety of disciplines in the arts, humanities, social sciences, and sciences.

History of Collection:

Women’s studies is a relatively young multidisciplinary field that grew out of the women’s movement and activism of the 1960s. The first college course in women’s studies was offered in this country in 1969. At UIUC, the first women’s studies course was taught in 1970. Although a sizeable body of library materials relevant to women’s studies has been acquired in the course of building the outstanding library collection on this campus, no systematic attempts were made to collect materials in the field until 1974. At that time, a library faculty member started acquiring only monographs purchased on general state funds. A separate women’s studies fund for monographs was established in 1978. Coinciding with the establishment of the Office of Women’s Studies, a full-time women’s studies bibliographer position was established in the fall of 1979, and funds were allocated for the acquisition of both serials and monographs. Currently, the women’s studies fund supports the purchase of material in many formats.

Estimate of Holdings:

Because of the interdisciplinary nature of the collection, materials are spread throughout the library system. The number of monographs relevant to women’s studies is therefore impossible to estimate. Serial titles paid for on the women’s studies fund number at least 70. There are additional serials titles related to women and gender studies purchased by other subject funds, but the exact number cannot be estimated.

State, Regional and National Importance:

This is the most comprehensive single collection for women’s studies in the state and region. The strengths of the collection include books, newsletters, and magazines published by and for women in the developing world, as well as publications from independent women’s presses and women’s organizations in the United States and Europe, which seldom are found in libraries. A grant enabled the microfilming of influential books and documents from the early years of the women’s movement, including important scholarly texts that served as a foundation for the development of women’s studies as a distinct field of academic inquiry. A large donation of materials from Dr. Irene Tinker, a leader in the establishment of women in development as a field for academic study and advocacy, has greatly enriched the collection.

Person Responsible for Collecting:

Women and Gender Resources Librarian

Location of Materials:

The collection is located throughout most of the library system, with approximately one third of it in the book stacks. Other departmental libraries with significant holdings include the Education and Social Sciences Library; the English Library; the History, Philosophy, and Newspaper Library; the Modern Languages and Linguistics Library; and the Undergraduate Library.

Citations of Works Describing the Collection:

None known.

II. General Collection Guidelines


English is the dominant language of the collection. Materials in Western European languages are also collected in varying degrees of intensity.

Chronological Guidelines:

No restrictions.

Geographical Guidelines:

Worldwide scope.

Treatment of Subject:

Purchases on the women’s studies fund generally cover interdisciplinary topics which are not easily categorized into a specific subject. Almost all works on the history of feminism, feminist methodology, and feminist theory are purchased on this fund including critiques of social, political, philosophical, and scientific theories of women and women’s studies. Works that are self-identified as feminist, are identified by critics as feminist, or which present a feminist perspective are very important. Materials about issues of special concern to women, such as domestic violence, rape, menopause, body image, and reproductive rights are also important. Works on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues are also purchased on this fund. Biographies on influential women such as Living History by Hillary Rodham Clinton are purchased selectively. Additionally, other materials which might be considered popular, but that deal with the status of the women’s movement or with current issues facing women such as Backlash by Susan Faludi or Revolution from Within: A Book of Self-Esteem by Gloria Steinem are purchased. Finally, monographs that could be considered “self-help” such as titles on eating disorders, sexual assault, or sexual harassment in the workplace are purchased as funds permit.

Because of the interdisciplinary nature of women’s studies, there is a great deal of overlap with other subjects and funds, including but not limited to: African Studies; African American Studies; Anthropology; Communications; all literature funds; History; Philosophy and Religion; and Sociology.

Types of Materials:

The appropriate primary, secondary, and bibliographic and reference materials are acquired. Dissertations, theses, and translations are selected very seldom. Hard copy is normally preferred to microforms except when the original formats are unavailable or prohibitively expensive. Audio Visual materials are selectively purchased. The fund does provide monies to purchase special collections including microfilm or digitized collections, but it often is pooled with monies from other subject funds.

Date of Publication:

Current materials are emphasized but retrospective works are acquired on a selective basis.

Place of Publication:

No restrictions.

Version Date: Revised February 2007