San Francisco Public Library


A collection of the General Collections & Humanities Center International in scope, the collection provides the Library’s largest concentration and widest diversity of literature and literature-related titles in English. A solid historical collection is retained and replenished and current works are acquired on an ongoing basis. The collection of modern and contemporary American poetry is particularly in-depth, serving as a resource for the local poetry community. Included, too, are fiction and nonfiction works produced in large print, plus materials geared for the adult seeking to gain or improve his or her English literacy skills. Users of these collections include students of all levels, writers, practitioners, performers and inquisitive readers. The collection is weeded based on significance of title and changing use.

Fiction: World classics, standard works, best sellers, prize winners, literary and popular fiction; new authors, local authors and international authors in English translation all are acquired to support the literature studies of students, as well as the joy of reading.

Short stories:Collections by a single author and short story anthologies are actively acquired and retained.

Genre Fiction: Mysteries, science fiction and westerns; emphasis on popular works; selected significant authors' work are retained.

Graphic Novels:Book-length novels whose narrative is related through a combination of text and art in comic-strip form from a variety of genres including superheroes, alternative comics and manga.

American and British Literature: Literary theory, literary criticism, multi-genre anthologies, humorous essays, poetry and plays; modern and contemporary American poetry; plays, including current and upcoming local productions; writing manuals for fiction and nonfiction.

Germanic Literature in Translation: Poetry, drama, essays, speeches, letters, humor, satire, literary criticism and miscellaneous works from the Germanic family of languages; emphasis on works that appeal to the casual reader and beginning student.

French Literature in Translation: Primarily plays ranging from the 17th century to the modern period; Surrealist and absurdist writings, especially drama and poetry.

Italian Literature in Translation: Translations and bilingual editions of works written in verse during the Middle Ages; plays and poetry from more recent eras.

Spanish and Portuguese Literature in Translation: Modern and classical Spanish and Latin American poetry, drama and miscellaneous writings in translation or in bilingual form; literary history and criticism of authors and literary works of the respective regions; emphasis on contemporary works by prominent Latin American and Spanish authors.

Classical Greek and Latin Literature in Translation: Ancient Greek and Latin philosophy, histories, poetry, plays, rhetoric, fiction and letters in myriad translations; complete set of the Loeb classics provides text in the original language side by side with English translations.

Literature Composed in Non-Roman Alphabets in Translation: Literary genres and criticism of works originally written in languages native to the Celts, Middle Eastern, Near Eastern and Far Eastern regions, Africa, former Soviet republics and Warsaw Pact nations and pre-colonial languages of the Americas; ancient Sanskrit epics, 19th century to contemporary Russian plays and poetry, and classical Chinese and Japanese poetry.