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Wednesday, November 8 • 3:30pm - 4:10pm
Textbook Collections: Required of our students, Unwelcome in our academic library?

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What happens when library policies and philosophies of the past run counter to user desires of the present?

At Western University (Ontario, Canada) we have an official collections policy to avoid collecting textbooks, as they fall outside of the carefully librarian-driven, research-heavy philosophies that drive our acquisitions process. However, in every survey to students and faculty, we find requests for textbooks on reserve and praise for the books we already have.

In response, we conducted a statistical analysis of textbooks and our collections: we already provided access to nearly 40% of required course texts (despite our policies), and these were by far the most highly used materials in the library. We applied a cost per use analysis and mapped required course texts against similar books by call number range and fund code to discover they outperformed “regular” books significantly. We used this data to present to library management and prove that there is a role for systematic textbook collection in the university library.

We would like this presentation to involve significant audience participation, through discussion questions and sharing about textbook use at their own libraries, different programs for textbook acquisition, and attitudes toward textbooks and the role of the academic library.

We will also share the source code for an applet we designed in R (statistical programming language), which will be posted on GitHub for individual librarians to use and modify, as well as the process we used for comparing textbooks to the regular collection.

avatar for Leanne Olson

Leanne Olson

Metadata Management Librarian, Western University
Leanne Olson is currently a Metadata Management Librarian at Western University, and will become Western's new the Digitization and Digital Preservation Librarian in May 2018. She has worked at Western Libraries since 2008 and regularly seeks out opportunities to teach, despite her... Read More →

Wednesday November 8, 2017 3:30pm - 4:10pm EST
Salon II, Gaillard Center 95 Calhoun Street, Charleston, SC 29401