FAQ: Do you have college textbooks in the library?
Note: this article was written by Angel Rivera, Outreach Librarian, in the Fall 2008 edition of the library newsletter Muntz Library Musings. We are cross-posting it here since this is a very common question we get at the reference desk.
* * * *We often get this question at the reference desk: “Do you have any textbooks?” The person asking is usually asking if we have textbooks for classes at UT Tyler. The basic answer is “no.” The library does not purchase textbooks for the classes at UT Tyler. This is a common request, but there are some reasons why we are not able to purchase class textbooks. First, a textbook collection would be very difficult to keep current. Each professor chooses their textbook for their particular class. Even sections of the same class may have different textbooks based on professors choosing the book for their class. Given this, and the fact that textbook editions change practically every semester, it would be impossible for the library to maintain a current textbook collection. Second, the library, just like the other units in the campus, operates on a very limited budget. Textbooks can be very expensive as students will attest. If the library chose to buy textbooks, it would mean our budget for other materials and services would decrease. We would not be as able to purchase other materials such as electronic books and online databases. This could mean we would be less able to help students with their research needs. Third, even if we did purchase textbooks, their use would be very limited, and they would likely be placed on reserve. This would mean the books would be only available for use within the library. This would limit the value of the textbooks because the number of students able to use them would be limited. However, I should add a caveat to the reasons above. At times, professors will put a copy of their class book on reserve. If that is the case, we will check for you and see if the book in question is available on reserve. If a book is on reserve, the loan period is determined by the instructor and can vary from 2 hours to 2 week checkout. Do check with your professor to see if he has placed an item on reserve. In addition, some professors might donate a copy of a textbook to the library. However, this happens rarely, and it must be noted that such donations are often not the latest edition of a class textbook. We understand that textbooks are expensive. However, we are not in the position to purchase class textbooks. We can help you locate other information and materials that will help you succeed in your classes here at UT Tyler. So, we would like to remind students that when they need help researching a topic or finding resources for a class, they can stop by the reference desk. Students can also contact the library for reference assistance via the phone (903-566-7343) or via e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org). We’ll be happy to do what we can to help.