Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Textbooks and a Core Collection

The longer I work at a library that supports a two-year college, the more I come to think that textbooks might be the most valuable thing we can supply to serve our student population.

So much of our collection is unused and unappreciated; so many students never use the library during their time at the college. A collection of active textbooks solves both of those challenges, neatly, in addition to addressing the idea of having a core collection in each academic area. Even if the overall collection is not strong in every academic area, at least we could have the core texts that are being actively used in classes.

But this is radical, no? To spend what would amount to thousands of dollars on resources that often become obsolete within a year, and in the best (history, English) cases might last for 10? On the other hand, didn't we used to do that with a print reference collection?

I would fight harder for this, but textbooks seems to be moving online anyway. Meanwhile, the textbooks we do have on reserve are flying on and off the shelves.

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