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Theatre and Dance Portal


Building the Collection

Getting Started with Research in Theatre and Dance

Burns Library

A 1891 playbill for Daly’s Theatre in New York has information about the production currently on stage as well as a few jokes, the company’s vacation dates, and a variety of advertisements.

BC's Burns Library has a wealth of material pertaining to aspects of Theatre, Drama and related areas. A significant collection, for example, is the Theatre Programs Collection. In addition to a treasure trove of playbills dating from 1850 to 2005, this "also contains scrapbooks, clippings and writings, photographs, correspondence, and postcards" (see blog entry). To learn more about its collections or if you'd like to talk to a Burns staff member about special collections and/or archival materials to support your research, then please contact the staff at 617-552-4861 or send an email to submit a question.

Visit the Boston College University Libraries Hours Page to view the Burns Library's hours.

The Burns Library's entrance is on the side of the Bapst building facing Boston College's main gate on Commonwealth Avenue. Look at this Boston College Chestnut Hill campus map for more detailed information.

Collection Emphases

The primary purpose of the collection is to support the teaching and research needs of the faculty and students in the Theatre Department

The collection is mainly composed of monographs, serials, DVDs,  CDs, and electronic resources, including streaming video.  The collection supports such courses as introduction to theatre, performance studies, acting, production, stage movement, stage management, ballet, production management, theatre in Boston, history of theatre, playwriting, dance, choreography, lighting, stage design, costume history and design, directing, experimental theatre, and criticism and dramatic literature.

Because theatre, dance and related areas are fields that encompass so many other disciplines, the interdisciplinary elements of the collection are numerous. Thus the theatre collection is enhanced by our holdings in such disciplines as English, Romance Languages and Literatures, Film Studies, Communication, Music, Black Studies, Latin American Studies, and Women's Studies.

Acquisition of E-Books

The Library currently purchases in electronic format a growing number of books in Theatre and Dance. Most of these purchases are reference works and edited books/essay collections. Users generally do not read such works from cover to cover. With respect to reference works users are usually looking for specific information that is rarely more than several pages in length and is easily read online. Edited books/essay collections are quite analogous to e-journals and most patrons are content to read individual chapters and essays online or to read them after having printed them out. Other e-monographs are acquired when the benefits of the electronic are greater than the print format or when there is added value in the e-book for the user. Users can always request that a monograph be purchased in e-format.

For more information on the Library’s e-book selection, see Selection Criteria and the E-Books at Boston College guide. The Library is conscious that the e-book industry is rapidly changing and, as a result, that our policies and selection criteria regarding e-books will inevitably evolve. The Library is interested in your views on e-books, and especially your usage of them. Please send any feedback to Brendan Rapple

Acquisition Highlights

More on Collections

For information about how the library collections at Boston College are being developed, go to the Collections page.

Help Us Build the Collections

Please feel free to recommend items for the library collections by e-mailing the subject librarian for Theatre: Nina Bogdanovsky.