New Zealand Literature Collection: Essex University Library

IMG_0382The Albert Sloman Library at Essex University’s Wivenhoe Park campus houses a collection of New Zealand literature, books which were originally bequeathed to the University in the 1960s by Esmond de Beer (1895-1990), the New Zealand scholar, bibliophile and philanthropist.  The collection consists chiefly of literary fiction, poetry and literary criticism, which the university library now maintains and increases at its own expense.  There are about 2,400 titles, of which about 1,500 are on the open shelves.  A further twenty books twice yearly are selected and despatched by Parsons Bookshop from Auckland, which has recently resumed supplying quality titles to keep the collection updated.

The collection is broad in scope and contains a number of titles which have long been out of print, or which are difficult to track down in libraries or expensive to buy second-hand, as well as titles published within the past year.  The library plans to continue its focus on literary fiction, and would like to see better use made of this wonderful material, probably the largest collection of New Zealand literature outside New Zealand and Australia.

Essex University does not run courses in Commonwealth or Postcolonial literature and the library would like to see the collection exploited much more widely. The library’s facilities are available to students and scholars from other institutions in the usual ways.  Undergraduate students from other universities can gain reference access, and postgraduate scholars can access borrowing facilities in person via the SCONUL scheme or through university interlibrary lending.

Independent scholars should contact Nigel Cochrane ( to discuss access needs. The library catalogue can be accessed online – a highly recommended first course of action – at

The Albert Sloman Library is at Wivenhoe Park, Colchester CO4 3UA.

Librarian: Nigel Cochrane:

The New Zealand Literature Collection:


Mary Ensor
Patricia Neville
November 2014