Subject Librarian: Rachel Crane, Assistant Professor, Music & Fine Arts Librarian
Phone: 978-5078
Policy created: October. 2004

Purpose    Scope   Summary     Related Collections   Related Policies
Other Factors   Appendix A   Appendix B    Appendix C

A. Purpose of Collection

1.      Program Information

A part of the School of Performing Arts, the theatre program offers a Bachelor’s degree of Fine Arts in Performing Arts/Theatre with three tracks: theatre performance, design and technical theatre and musical theatre; and a Bachelor’s degree in Art in Theatre.  A minor in theatre is also offered.  The theatre program places emphasis on the applied aspects of acting, directing, design (stage, lighting, costume) production and makeup.  All majors are required to participate in some capacity in University theatre productions.   


In the Fall 2003 semester there were 95 Theatre majors, with Performing Arts – Theatre Performance (30) and Musical Theatre (32) having the highest number of declared majors. 


2. Collection Description


The theatre collection overlaps with that of literature.  This policy deals only with the performing aspects of theatre.  The literary aspects, plays, technique of composition and criticism are considered a branch of English literature and are not discussed here.


The Musical Theatre program also overlaps with activities in the School of Music.  As the Musical Theatre faculty are also faculty in the School of Music and as the majority of musical theatre materials are classified and housed in the music collections of the University Libraries, Musical Theatre collection development is discussed in the Music collection development policy. 


The collection holdings were compared against the bibliography contained in The Best Books for Academic Libraries, Language and Literature, Volume 3.  The results show that Wichita State University’s holdings currently contain only 42% of the listed titles in Best Books.  In the geographic subject subdivisions of theater outside of North America this is to be expected as these areas have generally been beyond the scope of the curriculum at Wichita State University.  However, the majority of subject subdivisions give evidence of large gaps in the collection.  For example “Acting,” a major emphasis of the programs at WSU, is found to be notably deficient, as the library owns only 53% of the listed titles.  And in the area of “Theatre in America,” the library owns only 36% of the titles listed.

See Appendix C


In addition to the monograph collection, the library maintains subscriptions to 12 theatre and general performing arts titles in print and 8 electronic journal subscriptions specific to theatre.  Of the 8 online titles, 4 are unique.  The other 4 are online/print duplicates.  Full text access to 6 of the online journals is provided through the library’s subscription to Project Muse


Though the library does not provide access to an online database devoted solely to theatre, other cross-disciplinary databases contribute to studies in theatre, most often the Expanded Academic database.


The Best Books for Academic Libraries.  Temecula, CA:  Best Books, Inc., 2002-.



3. Anticipated Trends


Commercially available films of stage performances have previously been limited by lack of commercial availability.  As the commercial market increasing exploits the digital video medium, creating greater access to such titles, the WSU Libraries will work to develop a solid collection of theatrical video performances.  This is particularly important as video recordings continue to become increasingly useful as instructional tools.  Analogue Recordings of theatrical performances and dialect instruction should be replaced in digital formats and incorporated in to the collection as funding allows.



B. Scope of Coverage


1.      Chronological Focus

Mid-16th century (Shakespeare) through the present.

2.      Geographic Focus

North America and Western Europe are emphasized.

3.      Formats and Materials Collected

Monographs and serials are emphasized.  Videos are of increasing importance.  Other non-book formats are purchased on faculty request.

4.      Formats and Materials Not Collected


5.      Publication/Imprint Dates

Current publications are emphasized but older publications will be acquired to fill in collection gaps.  Antiquarian collecting is not pursued.

6.      Place of Publication

Place of publication is not a limiting factor.

7.      Languages Collected

English is preferred.  Other languages are collected as may be appropriate for historical treatises.



C. Summary of Subjects Collected and Collecting Levels

(See Appendix A for Details)


D. Related Collections and Cooperative Efforts

The central branch of the Wichita Public Library provides an additional local source for patrons seeking materials on theatre.  The Wichita Public Library maintains a collection of monographs and videos emphasizing the performing arts, particularly popular biographies.  Their catalog is available online.  In addition, the Wichita State University Interlibrary Loan department provides access to extensive resources through cooperative efforts on a national level.


E. Related Collection Development Policies

Please refer to: Collection Evaluation 2004 – Theatre containing a description of the 2004 Faculty Survey and an analysis of Interlibrary Loan statistics.  This document may be found in the Collection Development and Subject Librarian offices.


F. Other Factors



Appendix A – Specific Subjects Collected (with Collecting Levels)


LC Class Divisions, Categories and Subjects CL GL
PN1576-1590 Performing Arts in General and Special Topics C2 C2
PN2021-2049 Collections, Reference Works, General Works C2 C2
PN2053 Management, administration, Production, Direction C2 C2
PN2058-2080 Art of Acting C1 C1
PN2085-2099 Stage and Accessories C1 C1
PN2131-2193 History by time period C2 C2
PN2219.3-2569 Theater in U.S., Canada, and Latin America C1 C1
PN2570-2859 Theater in Europe C2 C2
PN2860-2960 Theater in Asia E D
PN2969-2993 Theater in Africa E D
PN3011 Theater in Australia and New Zealand  E E
PN3035 Jewish Theater E E
PN3151-3171 Amateur Theatricals E E
PN3175-3191 College and School Theatricals D E
PN3203-3299 Tableaux, Pageants, “Happenings” etc. E E


Appendix B – Explanation of Collecting Levels and Codes


Appendix C – Collection comparison to The Best Books for Academic Libraries

    In BBFAL at WSU
PN1576 – 1590 Performing arts in general and Special topics 24 14
PN1601 Serials – American and English 1 0
PN1620 Museums, Libraries, etc. 1 0
PN1621 Collections 4 4
PN1625 Dictionaries 1 0
PN2021 – 2049  Dramatic representation    28 18
(Collections, reference works, general works, special topics)    
PN2053 – Management, administration, production and direction 13 7
PN2058-2071 – Acting 32 17
PN 2075-2080 – Study and teaching 11 8
PN2085 – stage accessories, stage designers 19 5
PN2099-2205 posters, history, biographical collections  12 6
PN2219.3-2474 the theater in America 160 57
PN2570 – the theater in Europe 95 35
PN2860-2960 the theater in Asia 14 1
PN 2969-2993 the theater in Africa 6 2
PN 3011 the theater in Australia and New Zealand 1 0
PN3035 Jewish theater 3 1
PN3169 - 3171 amateur theater 3 3
PN3178 – college and school theatricals,  12 7
tableaux, pageants, “happenings,” Workers’ theater, agitprop, etc.     


Total number of titles listed:  440

Total number of titles owned: 185 (42%)

Written by: Rachel Crane