The Nelson Poynter Memorial Library purchases materials which support the teaching and research mission of the University of South Florida St. Petersburg. The library collection is intended to provide research materials and other resources which supplement the learning experience taking place in the classroom. The Library’s budget for new acquisitions is small and space for new collections is shrinking every year; each new acquisition is carefully selected to provide the maximum long-term advantage for the students and faculty of USFSP.
As a general guideline, the Library does not add textbooks to the circulating collection, either as a purchase or when offered as a donation. The Library may acquire textbooks selectively for the collection if they have long-term research or study value or if they cover a new or emerging discipline. In those cases when a textbook is acquired for the general circulating collection, only a single copy will be added without any implied commitment to acquire future editions of the textbook. One copy of current textbooks authored or edited by a member of the USFSP faculty will be purchased for addition to the USFSP Faculty Publications collection. Sometimes texts required for a course may already be part of the library’s holdings because they meet the criteria of the Library’s general collection development policy, not because they are required for specific classes.
REASONS FOR THIS GUIDELINE:
- Textbooks are quickly outdated and updated frequently, often annually or biannually. The Library budget and reduced staffing levels make it impossible to purchase hundreds of new textbooks for the collection every year or two.
- Textbooks are designed to be used by students for courses of study. Students refer to them often and need them throughout a course. As students use textbooks throughout a course, they need them longer than the standard loan period.
- Because of the high cost and high demand, textbooks are often targeted for theft in a library.
- Textbooks often include exercises, workbooks, quizzes, and lab manuals, which students need to complete coursework. Library materials cannot be written in nor have pages removed; textbooks often are not appropriate materials for long-term use in the Library’s collections.
- It is impossible for the Library to meet student demand for all textbooks at USFSP; purchasing only some textbooks would place all other students at an unfair disadvantage.
- Unlike other library materials, the need for textbooks is time-sensitive and they are often difficult to purchase in a timely fashion.
- Due to financial and space constraints, the Library generally only purchases one copy of a work. We would not be able to purchase enough copies for the work to be available to all students in a class.
- With library shelf space already limited, textbooks would displace materials of wider interest.
- Acquisition would be in conflict with the library’s mission to develop a collection of lasting value in support of all academic programs of the University.
For the purpose of this guideline, a textbook is described as a book designed to be used in the classroom to introduce students to a subject or to continue basic instruction at the intermediate or advanced levels of a subject. Textbooks typically include study questions, discussion topics, study guides or exercises at the end of each chapter; they often have a companion teacher’s edition; and they are commonly reissued frequently in order to update information in previous editions. Textbooks may be designed for use in undergraduate courses, graduate courses, or for use in professional programs. Textbooks may be published either as printed books or electronic books.
Textbooks that are required for USFSP courses are part of the student's expected cost of pursuing a degree in higher education, and it is the student’s responsibility to acquire them. Students and faculty should not expect the Library to mitigate the costs to students of the selection of high-priced textbooks for courses.
REQUIRED COURSE TEXTBOOKS AND INTERLIBRARY LOAN (ILL)
Although we understand that textbook prices are especially high, the Library is unable to borrow specific required course textbooks via ILL for the following reasons:
- Few libraries purchase textbooks.
- Even fewer libraries have the newest editions as soon as they are printed and required for use by professors for classes.
- Of those few libraries that do purchase textbooks, textbooks are usually reserved for their own campuses use and are not loaned to other libraries.
- Loaned books usually take one-two weeks to arrive, so students would already be far behind in class work and reading by the time they arrive.
- Students would only get to keep a textbook borrowed through ILL for about three weeks. Keeping a book obtained through ILL longer than the allowed loan period would result in fines.
An instructor may choose to place a personal copy of a textbook on reserve for a specific course; the textbook will be returned to the instructor at the end of the course. Please review the Library’s Reserve Guidelines at http://www.nelson.usf.edu/npml/reserves.html
Instructors wishing to place photocopies of published materials on reserve must abide by all USFSP and USF System Policies, as well as copyright law. Instructors should review the USF System’s Copyright Policy
http://generalcounsel.usf.edu/policies-and-procedures/pdfs/policy-0-105.pdf which clearly reviews what is acceptable and the U.S. Government’s Copyright section on Fair Use http://www.copyright.gov/fls/fl102.html. Fair use does not allow for photocopying significant portions of published texts. Both USF System policy and national law urge faculty to err on the side of caution when photocopying materials for instructional purposes. Faculty members are responsible for obtaining the correct permissions from copyright holders for items placed on Reserve. Copyright compliance is mandatory. Instructors must sign the Copyright Compliance statement on the printed Reserve form. Graduate assistants may not sign in their instructors' stead.