The Literatures in English Section began in 1982 as an ACRL discussion group, named the English and American Literature 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. The name of the section was established as the English and American Literature Section. From under 20 people in 1982, the Section has grown to over 200 members in 1995. Keeping up with new forms of communication, the Section established its own electronic list (EALSL) in 1995, and soon thereafter established the EALS-Web website.
In 2000, in order to better reflect the diversity of members' interests, the name of the section was changed to the Literatures in English Section (LES), and the list and website names were changed to LES-L and LES-Web.
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Last update: October 11,2016