What is LES and How Do I Get Involved?

LES logo

The Literatures in English Section (LES) is part of the Association of College and Research Libraries, a division of the American Library Association. LES members are professionally involved in the acquisition, organization, and use of information sources related to the study and teaching of literatures written in English.

Specific objectives of the section include:

  • to represent members of ACRL who are professionally involved in academic and research libraries in the selection, acquisition, organization, and use of information resources related to literatures in English
  • to enhance the professional development of its members
  • to promote the improvement of library resources for literatures in English
    to initiate or sponsor programs, discussion sessions, publications, and other projects related to topics of literatures in English.


The English and American Literatures Section began in 1982 as an ACRL discussion group. Scott Stebelman was the first Chair, Valmai Fenster the first Vice-Chair/Chair-Elect, Elaine Franco the first Secretary, and Will Goodwin the first Editor of Biblio-Notes. Although officially a Discussion Group, members of the Group did not want to limit themselves only to discussions. From its inception the Group held programs on issues of interest to English and American literature librarians. It also undertook major research projects, among them being English and American Literature: Sources and Strategies for Collection Development (published by ACRL in 1986); a "Survey of Small Press Books and Serials in English and American Literature;" and the publication of "The Nature of Literary Research," the Group's 1989 program papers, in Collection Management.

In 1994, the Discussion Group decided that it had grown large enough, and its programs and projects substantial enough, to warrant becoming an ACRL Section. A resolution was passed by its members, and approved by the ACRL Board. From under 20 people in 1982, the Section grew to over 200 members in 1995. Keeping up with new forms of communication, the Section established its own electronic list, and maintains the LES website. In 1999, the name of the section was changed to Literatures in English Section to reflect the broader scope of the scholarship in the field.

How to Get Involved

The Section holds business meetings at both Annual and Midwinter ALA Conferences. In addition, there is usually a program at the Annual Conference. Although midwinter meetings are primarily devoted to section business and committee work, a discussion session on an announced topic is usually held at the end of the general business meeting.

All LES meetings are open to librarians interested in literatures in English . ALA/ACRL members may choose to join LES when they renew their ALA membership.

Directory of Literature Librarians

The LES wiki features a list of literature librarians who are members of the section, along with basic contact information.

Back to the LES homepage

Comments may be directed to the Web Editor at ruotolo@virginia.edu. Special thanks to ALA and ACRL for hosting this site.

This site was established 24 March 1996 at the University of Connecticut and moved to its current location at ALA on November 30, 2000.