Survey of Academic Library Upper Management: View of Library Role in Providing Textbooks

Survey of Academic Library Upper Management: View of Library Role in Providing Textbooks

Level of the Library’s Involvement in Textbook Provision

We asked: What is your view of your library’s role in textbook acquisition for students? We gave five answers to the multiple choice question; these were: 1) Heavily involved 2) Involved 3) Somewhat involved 4) Not very involved 5) Not involved at all

Slightly over a quarter – 25.42% - of all participants responded that their library was somewhat involved, and the exact same percentage of participants said that their library was not involved at all. Another 20.34% said that the library was involved, and a slightly fewer participants – 19.49% - said that the library was not involved at all. Finally, 9.32% reported that the library was heavily involved.

Survey participants in their 60’s and older were much more likely than others to say that their libraries were heavily involved in textbook acquisition for students. We do not fully understand the reasons for this. However, it is possible that survey participants in their 60’s or older are more likely to have experience with the traditional practice of faculty making book acquisition requests and recommendations to libraries, some of which would involve requests for popular, commonly used textbooks. Due to this experience, participants in their 60’s or older could be more likely to report being heavily involved in textbook acquisition for students.


The report presents data and commentary about the library role in textbook provision from a survey of 84 high level academic library executives drawn from 53 colleges and universities, primarily from the USA. The study gives highly detailed data on the extent of the library role in textbook provision, opinions of the likely growth or retraction of the library role, as well as the library role in open access textbooks and textbook substitutes. The study also gives precise data on the exact sums that libraries are spending on textbooks and how many enjoy special funding from college administrations or academic departments for print, digital commercial or open access textbooks.

Table 1.1 What is your view of your library’s role in textbook acquisition for students?
Table 1.2 What is your view of your library’s role in textbook acquisition for students? Broken out by work title of the survey participant
Table 1.3 What is your view of your library’s role in textbook acquisition for students? Broken out by academic degree or field of study of the survey participant
Table 1.4 What is your view of your library’s role in textbook acquisition for students? Broken out by age of the survey participant
Table 1.5 What is your view of your library’s role in textbook acquisition for students? Broken out for public and private colleges
Table 1.6 What is your view of your library’s role in textbook acquisition for students? Broken out by Carnegie class or type of college

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