We thank our colleagues at the University of Guelph for articulating these challenges. We have adapted their original statement with their permission.
As we approach the fall 2020 semester, KPU Library is working hard to provide alternative access to the print reserves collection. A significant portion of the books on reserve are print copies of required textbooks, and students cannot access them because of the reduction of in-person service due to the pandemic. To support instructors and students over the next several months, we are developing new approaches to how we acquire and provide access to course material, recognizing that students are now learning in a primarily online, alternative delivery environment.
However, this work is hindered by textbook publishers who do not readily provide electronic purchasing options for libraries. Many textbooks are simply unavailable to libraries to purchase in a format other than print, and this is a barrier to students who rely on the library for textbook access in an online environment. We know that high textbook costs have a negative impact on post-secondary students in B.C., such as taking fewer courses or not registering for a course. We also know many students have chosen not to purchase a required textbook at least once.
The library endeavours to make its collection accessible to students and instructors. Especially now, during COVID-19, we recognize the importance of providing digital access to course material. Despite our commitment, there are publishers who do not provide e-options for many of the textbooks the library wishes to purchase. Publishers such as:
So to our instructors: this means that if you have courses that have adopted textbooks by these publishers, and perhaps others, students who do not purchase the textbook may not have any viable course material or textbook alternatives. We want to work with you to explore and identify viable textbook alternatives, including:
Efforts will be made to secure online materials that are free from digital rights management restrictions (DRM) in order to ensure unfettered student access. DRM includes limits on the number of users that can access a resource at any one time, as well as limits on copying, printing and downloading.
Any instructors teaching a fall course are also welcome to contact the library at any time for support with sourcing their course materials.
Jen Adams, Acquisitions & Collection Assessment Librarian
Kelsey Chaban, Student Engagement & Community Outreach Librarian
Karen Meijer-Kline, Scholarly Communications Librarian
Allison Richardson, Electronic Resources & Music Librarian
Email your Liaison Librarian