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Accordion List

Collecting efforts in the field of education primarily support the teaching and research activities of the Graduate School of Education (GSE). GSE offers programs leading to the Master of Science in Education, the Master of Science, the Master of Philosophy in Education, the Doctor of Education, and the Doctor of Philosophy.  As of Spring 2022, the GSE student body is over 1,550 students; over 1,000 are Masters students, and over 400 are doctoral students. The GSE has more than 40 standing, full-time faculty members. Faculty members from Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies, Anthropology, Psychology, Philosophy, Social Policy programs, and more also have secondary appointments in the GSE. There are numerous Research Centers affiliated with the Graduate School of Education.

The School is organized into five academic divisions

  • Educational Linguistics 
  • Human Development and Quantitative Methods 
  • Literacy, Culture, and International Education 
  • Policy, Organizations, Leadership, and Systems 
  • Teaching, Learning, and Leadership 

A significant number of students participate in these Executive Model Programs and only visit campus intermittently:  

Penn GSE also offers opportunities for undergraduates to take courses. 


1. Chronological 

Emphasis is on contemporary issues except in the subject areas of the history of education and of individual institutions, the philosophy of education, and education and the state. 

2. Formats 

Books (both print and electronic) and journals account for most of the materials acquired. New journal subscriptions are acquired in electronic format when available. Monographs are increasingly being purchased in electronic format, depending on the price and access options. Access to full-text dissertations is provided via the ProQuest Digital Dissertations database. While some government publications continue to arrive as part of the Library's depository status, many more government publications are now only available online from sites like the Department of Education and the National Center for Education Statistics. Some print copies are secured at no charge from Ed Pubs. While in the past, instructional and testing materials, such as textbooks, teaching aids, test manuals, etc., have not been considered unless specifically requested, in recent years, Penn Libraries’ bibliographers have made an effort to purchase a selection of relevant, current, and practical texts to support teacher education programs. A limited number of works on the study and teaching of math and science at the elementary and high school levels are purchased using Education funds. The Center for Research Libraries’ Textbook Collection supplements Penn Libraries’ collection of textbooks. 

3. Geographical 

Traditionally, collecting emphasis has been on the United States, with additional focus on Great Britain and Western European countries. Over the last two decades, the teaching and research interests of the Graduate School of Education have shifted toward a broader look at international education. Consequently, increased emphasis is placed on collecting works related to educational concerns in many areas of the world including East Asia, South Asia, Africa, Latin America, and Eastern Europe. The strengthened focus on international education is evident in the International Educational Development program.  

4. Language 

Emphasis is on English language materials. Major Western European languages are collected only selectively. Local language materials are purchased in cooperation with bibliographers for South and East Asia, Latin America, the Middle East, and Russia and Eastern Europe. 

5. Publication dates 

The majority of publications selected are current. Efforts should be made to select older titles only if they are of significant importance in regard to new collecting focuses or to replace high-use, lost volumes. 

The interdisciplinary character of education results in materials being acquired from widely diverse sources. Approval plans and standing orders (which cover many publications from university and domestic presses), as well as requests from faculty and students, account for most of the materials requested. Publisher notifications, organizational websites, and print and online reviews of the scholarly literature are also used to select materials. 

Penn Libraries collects most education materials at a research level. Historically, the strengths of the collection include:  

  • Education – General and theoretical 
  • Child study 
  • Educational linguistics/TESOL 
  • Educational psychology 
  • Education in the United States 
  • Higher education: College and university curriculum 
  • History of education 
  • Human sexuality education 
  • Intercultural communication 
  • Reading/Writing/Literacy 
  • School administration and organization 
  • Teacher education 
  • Teaching and pedagogy 
  • Urban education 

Collections funds designated for education continue to collect at an advanced research level in these areas of strength.  
Penn Libraries seeks to strengthen its collection to support new and changing education programs. In particular, the Libraries are making efforts to strengthen holdings in international education, disability and education, education of ethnic/racial/linguistic minorities, education research, learning analytics, and measurement & testing. 
Penn Libraries selectively purchases practical, professional works to support the Netter Center for Community Partnerships’ activities, the Greenfield Intercultural Center-GSE “Pedagogy and Action for Critical Education (PACE)” course, and Philadelphia-area schools. Penn Libraries’ Community Engagement Team also supports area schools through the purchase of materials for partner school libraries.       

In addition to the holdings of the Van Pelt Library, other campus libraries and subject-based subscription resources are used for educational research. These include the:  

  • Lippincott Library for leadership, entrepreneurship, and management/personnel issues.  
  • Biomedical Library for the Med-Ed program and general health concerns.  
  • Annenberg School of Communications Library for intercultural communication and relevant aspects of public policy and media studies.  
  • Museum Library for anthropology and education.  
  • Weigle Information Commons, for a number of software programs. 

Outside of the University, BorrowDirect, EZ Borrow, and interlibrary loan are highly utilized. The Free Library has historically been used for its collection of children's books, though Penn Libraries is also making efforts to strengthen its children’s literature collection.