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Purchase Request: Textbook Policy

Considering When to Subsidize Textbooks

Clarification:  It has been a few years since the library has had a program of buying all textbooks. The practice was reviewed and revised after a review demonstrated that such a complete coverage policy would utilize over half of our book budget, leaving far too little for the purchase of other exploratory materials.

In July of 2015 an email message was sent asking faculty to inform us of particular textbooks that deserve such special treatment. (A copy of the current textbook collection was included with this message.) Few books were requested, but we considered each request. As of this moment, about 1/3rd of all textbooks have current editions in our Course Books collection. Therefore, 2/3rds of required textbooks are not found in our collection. In these difficult financial times, very few libraries maintain any type of textbook collection, choosing to utilize their funds for supplementary materials. This is a philosophical issue we regularly address with our Faculty Advisory Council.
 
In the meantime, as we are seeking to find a reasonable balance of curriculum and research support materials, utilizing novel approaches such as our OER Information Initiative, we simply cannot subsidize all required textbooks.  In order to find a sensitive solution, we will address each request on a case-by-case basis, using criteria such as:
 
·         Is this a book that is so important that it should be part of a core personal collection?
·         How expensive is the item?
·         How many students will benefit from the purchase?
·         Are there special considerations that we must address?
·         Are there electronic portions that libraries cannot purchase … in which case students often must already buy the package which includes the paper book?
 
Exceptional requests are always welcomed by the Library Director.
 
Please feel free to respond directly to me about these issues … I guarantee that all comments will be forwarded to the Council for consideration.

 

David Stern  October 23, 2014  stern@sxu.edu


 

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