As we plan for the fall 2020 semester, library faculty encourage teaching faculty to partner with us to identify alternate or low/no cost online textbooks and resources to facilitate student access to required course materials.
Student success is contingent upon access to required course materials. The Library’s reserves collection provides access to print textbooks for students at the point of need. Once we reopen, the library will have to evaluate how we provide access to textbooks in the reserves collection. Before the pandemic these books circulated for two hours and were constantly in use. However, once we re-open all books will have to be quarantined for several days after each use, making most of the reserves collection unavailable.
Library faculty and staff are exploring options for alternatives to the print reserves collection. We may be able to scan limited portions from some textbooks, but this depends on safe work and travel conditions for any staff who would come to campus. We cannot scan an entire book. Faculty are welcome to scan portions of a textbook themselves if they have access to the book.
Unfortunately, commercial textbook publishers do not offer electronic purchasing options for libraries. Many existing course textbooks are only available to libraries in print regardless of budget.
The following publishers will not sell an e-textbook version of their publications to libraries:
- McGraw Hill
- Oxford University Press
- most publishers of common reads, popular
fiction, and popular non-fiction
- many health sciences texts
This means that for courses adopting textbooks by these publishers, students who do not purchase the textbook will not have any alternative access to textbook content.
Library faculty are partnering with instructors to investigate and identify viable textbook alternatives:
- Adopting an existing e-book in the relevant subject area from the Library’s e-book collection or requesting that we purchase one. Purchasing will depend on if the publisher has made the e-version available to libraries and if we can purchase unlimited usage.
- Many publishers limit e-book usage to one person at a time which would not be useful when an entire class is trying to access the book.
- Teaching with Open Educational Resources (OER). OER are freely available educational materials openly licensed to allow for re-use and modification by instructors.
- Creating an Online Reserve Packet by:
- posting individual book chapters or excerpts and scanned copies of content, subject to copyright limitations
- linking to content from the Library’s existing collection of electronic resources (eBooks, journal articles, streaming media, and other digital materials)
Library faculty are available to assist discipline faculty in locating alternatives to required textbooks, including eBooks in our collection and OER:
Jean Amaral, Open Knowledge Librarian – firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information about OER at BMCC see: https://oer.bmcc.cuny.edu/
Lehman College Libraries for allowing us to adapt their statement.
University of Guelph Libraries for sharing language documenting these challenges.
Grand Valley State University developed a statement on textbooks in the library collection.