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One Tool, Many Applications: Collection Assessment for Changing Times

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collection assessment, textbook affordability, collection development, academic libraries, student success


Although potential student savings is perhaps the most meaningful measure of the success of any textbook affordability initiative, as librarians we are nonetheless interested in considering how a significant shift in collections strategy might impact our collections. We demonstrated in the first semester of the project that usage of ebooks assigned in courses is much higher than those that are not currently assigned. We also confirmed that usage is greatly increased when faculty members notify their students that an assigned text is available to them through the library. But beyond savings to students and demonstrated high usage, we wanted information on how licensing course assigned texts impacts the quality of library collections. Many libraries have had policies or guidelines that prevented or discouraged the acquisition of textbooks for a variety of valid reasons and our library was one of them. Textbooks have been thought to be too frequently updated, too expensive, too general in appeal, and not lasting in their significance. With the perceived quality of these texts in question, we wanted to see if the texts assigned in courses at Illinois State University would make strong additions to the permanent collections at our undergraduate-focused university. Resources for College Libraries was the perfect tool for the job.


This presentation was given as part of the Choice webinar One Tool, Many Applications: Collection Assessment for Changing Times, sponsored by Resources for College Libraries,



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