Students Staff

Spicer Library

The Spicer Library is a lending library for our graduate students working in the fields of applied linguistics and English language teaching (ELT). It houses an invaluable collection of applied linguistics books, ELT materials (in various languages), MA dissertations and PhD theses, with around 4,000 volumes in total. It complements the main University library, the Albert Sloman Library.

Using the Spicer Library

The library is located in room 3.115, near Computer Lab D. Opening hours vary each term, so please check departmental notice boards and e-mails regularly for the latest information.


Mrs Lexa Olivera-Smith is the Spicer Library supervisor. Please contact Lexa with any comments or suggestions about the library.

We rely on student volunteers to help with the basic day-to-day running of the library. Please e-mail the Spicer Library volunteers at spicer (non-Essex users add if you would like to find out more about volunteering.

Library history

The Spicer Library has served our postgraduate students since the mid 1980s, complementing and supplementing the services provided by the Albert Sloman library. The history of the library has been one of steady expansion and today we remain steadfastly committed to continuing its tradition of service.

It is named after Sam Spicer, second Professor of Applied Linguistics (appointed to Essex in 1970) and second Chairman of the Department (until his retirement in 1983). Following on the heels of Peter Strevens, he helped to build the Department's reputation as one of the UK's finest in the field of applied linguistics, annually attracting students from over 100 countries worldwide. The library grew out of three original book collections which were amalgamated, catalogued and organised by Jo McDonough, Steven McDonough and Anita Sinclair, in effect, the pioneer librarians.

Find out more about the history of the department.