Textbook Purchasing: How We’re Supporting our Students

By Lisa German

“Back in the day” it was common practice for libraries to exclude textbooks from approval plans and from firm order purchases. “We don’t buy textbooks” was a standard phrase. This is not the case anymore. The University Libraries is helping our students mitigate the high price of textbooks by purchasing textbooks and putting them on reserve.
Where can textbooks be found? 
  • Engineering Library — Buys a copy of textbooks that are required for all undergraduate and graduate courses. Additionally, they purchase textbooks in math, chemistry, and physics that engineering students are required to take and they also have the copies of the CAS 100 texts required by engineering students.
  • Earth & Mineral Sciences Library – Purchases required textbooks for all undergraduate and graduate courses taught by the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences. If the textbooks are available in e-version, they are purchased in that format.
  • Physical & Mathematical Sciences Library – Purchases required and recommended textbooks taught in Astronomy, Chemistry, Mathematics, Physics, and Statistics and some selected texts in Chemical Engineering, EMECH, BMB and other areas based on the number of student requests or if a faculty member requests a purchase. Supplemental materials, sky charts, for example, are purchased as requested.
  • Business Library – Purchases one copy of recommended and required textbooks (including solution manuals) for undergrad and grad courses offered the College of IST, the Smeal College of Business, School of Hospitality Management, Department of Recreation, Parks, and Tourism Management, and the Department of Economics.
  • Life Sciences, Education & Behavioral Sciences, and Social Sciences – Purchase textbooks on a case by case basis
  • Commons Services Desk – Many textbooks are on course reserve. Additionally, many articles are available on e-reserve that are available anywhere, anytime to students enrolled in the course.
Textbooks aren’t the only high demand types of material that is put on reserve. Many of you probably know that two very high demand resources are the anatomical models and molecule sets on reserve in the Life Sciences Library. While the Arts and Humanities Library doesn’t typically purchase textbooks, many of the readings students need to do in their classes are often from from university press books that available in the Libraries.
Is your unit purchasing textbooks, but not mentioned here? 
Please let me know so that we can get the word out to the student organizations so they know that we are aware of the expense for textbooks and that we’re trying to help them.