The University of New Brunswick's Eileen Wallace Children's Literature Collection was established in 1988 through the generosity of Eileen Wallace, retired Professor of Children's Literature in the Faculty of Education, herself a lifelong collector of picture books, fiction, poetry and factual books for young people. During its formative years Dr. Margaret Crawford Maloney, formerly Head of the Osborne Collection of Early Children's Books and other collections of the Toronto Public Library, was a key advisor to the Children's Literature Collection. The original collection has grown rapidly through bequests, donations and university support, material and financial. It now contains more than 17,000 items, representative of those actually read by Canadian, British and American young people during the last two centuries.
The Eileen Wallace Children's Literature Collection is housed in the Nan Vesta Gregg Room, Room 413, 4th Floor, Harriet Irving Library and is non-circulating. The collection serves the university's two campuses as well as St. Thomas University in Fredericton. The Collection, widely used by researchers from around the world, heavily used by undergraduate and graduate students and accessible to the general public, has its own advisory committee composed of faculty and librarians, as well as its own endowment funds.
The Eileen Wallace collection is the key resource for the study of children's literature within the region. The collection contains comprehensive holdings of Atlantic Canadian literature for children and has overarching strengths in folklore, notable Canadian children's literature, and reproduction and original popup/moveable books. Collection development focuses on fiction, poetry, folklore and picture books. Informational non-fiction is not actively collected.
The Collection also houses microform reproductions of many rare books and periodicals from international collections: the Rosenbach collection of early American children's books, the Opie collection at Oxford and the British Library's collection of children's books. Records for these collections are available in UNB WorldCat, the Library's online catalogue. Also, facsimile editions of titles from Toronto Public Library's Osborne Collection have been purchased for the Collection. Ancillary circulating collections are also housed in the Harriet Irving Library: children's books of contemporary relevance (including picture books, fiction and nonfiction, drama and poetry); books and theses dealing with the study of children's literature major scholarly and reviewing journals.