Ibero-American Languages and Literatures


The Yale University Library has a long tradition of collecting materials in Spanish and Luso-Brazilian languages and literatures.  The Sterling Memorial Library’s collection is among the most comprehensive in the United States.  Virtually all periods of Iberian-peninsular and Latin American literature are covered, including the vernacular literature before Spanish and Portuguese, the medieval period, the Golden Age, the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, late-nineteenth and early-twentieth century Spanish literary movements; the twentieth century Spanish writers in exile, the post-Franco era, and the contemporary period.  The collection of Latin American literature covers Pre-Columbian literature, the colonial period, the nineteenth century, and the twentieth century including Boom, Post-Boom, and contemporary literature.  The Yale Library also has one of the best collections in the country of current works in Luso-Brazilian literature.  The Sterling collections are augmented by the rich collection of Spanish and Luso-Brazilian literature at the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library.  There are notable collections available in the Collection of Western Americana and the General Collection of Modern Books and Manuscripts. 

In addition to the extensive collection of Spanish and Portuguese literature, the Sterling Library houses a rich array of resources related to the Basque language, romance languages in the Iberian Peninsula, and indigenous languages of Latin America, including reference works, bibliographies, works on the origin and history of language, lexicographical works, and comparative language studies.  

Departments/disciplines/programs/subject areas supported

The Yale Library collects materials in support of the very diverse curricular and research needs and interests of teaching faculty, post-docs, and researchers of the Spanish and Portuguese department and the academic program of the Council on Latin American and Iberian Studies (CLAIS) as well as the students from the academic programs leading to the B.A. degree in Spanish or Portuguese language and literature; M.A. and the Ph.D. degrees in Spanish peninsular literature; M.A. and the Ph.D. degrees in Latin American literature; and M.A. and the Ph.D. degrees in a combination of Luso-Brazilian and Spanish/Spanish-American literatures.  Additionally, the Spanish and Portuguese collection is also of interest to various university programs and interdisciplinary research centers such as African American Studies, European Studies, Comparative Literature, Women’s Studies, or Special Programs in Humanities, and to the large population of bilingual Hispanic students and affiliates.  

In recent years, new research interests and courses of study have included medieval peninsular literature and the Golden Age, Latin American colonial literature, the Spanish Civil War period, the Brazilian Modern Art movement, contemporary and twentieth century literature, and cultural studies (e.g., examination of Spanish, Latin American, or Brazilian politics, history, religions, art forms, music, and literatures, from ancient times to the present).  New interests have also focused on the genres of film and television, theatre, and poetry, as well as fiction, and new courses were created that concentrated on Federico García Lorca and Borges.    


The Yale Library seeks to support research in both the linguistic and literary aspects of the discipline, including the teaching of basic and advanced language skills, and a detailed study of Spanish and Portuguese literature, criticism, theory, and culture.  Thorough coverage of the various aspects of the Spanish and Portuguese languages—their history, grammar, phonetics, morphology, syntax, rhetoric, style, composition, lexicography, and philology—are maintained. Collecting focuses on Spanish, Latin American, and Portuguese authors and their works from the early middle ages in Spain and the Pre-Colombian period in Latin America to the present. 

The library seeks to support faculty research through targeted acquisitions, both of new materials and retrospectively.  In recent decades, this has resulted in particularly strong collections in: medieval literature, colonial literature, early modern Spanish drama, the Boom and Post-Boom periods, contemporary Spanish autobiography, women’s writings, psychology in literature, literature and politics.  Current collecting for the Sterling Memorial Library includes fiction, poetry, drama and theatre, literary theory and criticism, literary sociology, aesthetics, comparative literature, general literature, folklore, reference works and bibliographies, anthologies, and works on humanism and scholarship. 

Formats collected

All genres and formats are collected (monographs, graphic novels, serials, reference works and scholarly series, microforms, audio-visual, online databases, computer files, and selective collections of manuscript materials).  Dissertations are collected very selectively and on demand.  Maps are excluded.  Textbooks for Portuguese and indigenous languages are collected selectively, but textbooks for Spanish are excluded.  

Languages collected

The bulk of the material acquired is in the two principal languages of the region, Spanish and Portuguese, but also includes publications in French, English, Dutch, Creole and Haitian-Creole, Catalan-Valencian-Balearic, Galician (Gallegan), and even Bable, Occitan, Aranese, Aragonese, and Leonese.  For Latin American, Yale also collects materials in indigenous languages including Quechua, Quichua, Nahuatl, Kaqchikel, Guaraní, and Mayan languages.  Criticism and theory is collected in Spanish or Portuguese, and in English, with important contemporary critical works also acquired in other languages, especially in French, German, and Italian. 

Chronological and geographical focus

Materials published in Mexico, Central and South America, the Spanish and French-speaking Caribbean, and the Iberian Peninsula are emphasized. Materials from the U.S., Europe, and other areas of the world are also purchased.

The emphasis is on purchasing current materials. However, a limited amount of retrospective research materials is acquired on occasion.    

Collaborations within Yale

University-level collaborations

  • African-American Studies
  • La Casa Cultural – Latin Cultural Center at Yale
  • Comparative Literature
  • European Studies
  • Women’s Studies
  • Special Programs in Humanities

Library-level collaborations

  • Bass Library
  • Beinecke Library
  • Divinity Library
  • Humanities Collections and Research Education
  • International Collections and Research Support
  • Music Library
  • Manuscripts and Archives

External collaborations

  • (ISiS) -  Iberian Studies in the Seminar on the Acquisitions of Latin American Library Materials (SALALM) – The mission of ISiS is to provide a forum for identifying, collecting, organizing, providing access to and preserving information resources from and about the Iberian Peninsula in support of education and research. The goal of the group is to continually develop SALALM’s expertise in research trends related to Iberia, Ibero-American relations, and Iberian relations with Latin America. Furthermore, the group seeks to encourage, monitor, and evaluate changes in the publishing and distribution industries in Spain and Portugal.  This includes collaborative projects in the field of language and literature.
  • (LANE) Latin America North East Libraries Consortium - (LANE) is formed by a group of academic and research libraries in the northeastern United States committed to building and maintaining Latin American studies collections. The consortium seeks to promote collaborative projects that enhance the depth and scope of the combined collections and to facilitate access to them.  This includes collaborative projects in the field of language and literature.
  • (LARRP) Latin American Research Resources Project – The Latin American Collection and Yale University Library have maintained a cooperative collection development with the member institutions of LARRP for Puerto Rico, Guatemala, and Nicaragua including literature and language materials.
  • Ivy Plus Brazilian Collaboration – Eight universities within Ivy Plus have agreed to distribute the coverage of Brazilian monographs among the members along regional/geographic lines.  This allows for the collecting of relevant newly published monographs outside of the megacities of Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo.  Participating libraries agree to maintain in-depth research-level collections in one or more state regions. Yale collects for the states of Paraíba and Pernambuco.
  • Harvard-Yale Mexican Collaborative Collection Development Agreement – Harvard and Yale agreed to distribute coverage of Mexican materials along regional/geographic lines dividing Mexico into two sections.  This allows for the collecting of relevant newly published monographs and serials in more depth.  Yale and Harvard agree to maintain in-depth research-level collections for their region.   

Subject Librarian

Jana Krentz
Librarian for Latin American, Iberian & Latinx Studies
Latin American & Iberian Collections
Department of Area Studies and Humanities Research Support (DASHRS)
(203) 432-1845