Finding assigned textbooks in the LMU Library is often a hit-and-miss proposition. We can’t collect all of them, and even if we do have them (either in the stacks or on reserve), a single copy can only be used by a single student at a time.
But we also know that textbooks are expensive! Over the past year, as a part of an initiative with the bookstore to collaborate to confront the costs of course materials, we have been working to identify and notify faculty about as many assigned texts as possible that are available as multi-user e-books for the library collections. We’re restricted to what the publishers will let us buy, so we can’t get everything, but are hoping that we can continue to grow the number of offerings each semester. We call this our Course Adopted Text(s) (CATS) E-book Initiative.
Last fall, nearly 15% of the books assigned by LMU faculty were also available in the library’s catalog as an e-book! Most of these allow for chapter level downloads and printing, and the majority of our e-book platforms also allow you to set up an account where you can save books to your bookshelf, highlight, annotate, and more.
But not all e-books are the same, which is why you might notice some small feline additions to our library catalog (also known as LINUS). We added these to help faculty and students understand the differences between our various e-book offerings.
Green CAT: This is the most awesome e-book we can get. Multiple users can access it simultaneously, and for some of them you may even be able to download and keep the entire book so that you can access it offline. We highly recommend that faculty consider these as alternatives for course adopted texts.
Yellow CAT: These are somewhere in between single and unlimited user books. Although most users will typically have no problem accessing these books, it’s possible that an entire course section trying to access them at once will result in frustration. This is why we recommend that faculty contact the Collection Development Librarian or your library liaison to discuss whether or not these “yellow CAT” books can adequately meet your course needs.
Red CAT: These are still great e-books! But only a single user can access them at a time, which is why we don’t recommend that faculty assign them as an alternative to the print textbook. Think of these more like print books on reserve. If you fail to access a book because it’s in-use by someone else, it’s inconvenient, but you’ll just need to check back later.
We know that e-books aren’t for everyone, so a librarian is always available to help you find print alternatives in our collections, through LINK+, or inter-library loan. We also highly recommend that students check with their professors about individual expectations and requirements for engaging with course materials before deciding to use the library e-book over purchasing the text.
This is a new, exciting initiative for us here, and we welcome your feedback about your experience with our e-books, both from students and faculty. If you have anything to share, or any inquiries about adding e-titles to our collections, please email our Collection Development Librarian at firstname.lastname@example.org.