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CSULB may forfeit library subscriptions next year

Students may lose access to thousands of eBooks if they don’t use them.

The University Library has thousands of new eBooks to help students finish strong this semester, but CSULB may lose access to these resources soon if they’re not utilized enough.

In May, CSULB acquired a yearlong subscription to the World Bank’s extensive eLibrary collection that contains about 8,000 titles, including books, research reports, journals, articles and working papers.

The World Bank, an organization that gives financial and technical assistance to developing countries around the world, sends people to gather research material from across the globe, said Librarian of Gerontology Kelly Janousek, who entered a contest that won CSULB the eBook subscription.

CSULB librarian Carol Perruso said that around the same time the World Bank eBook subscription began, the Cal State University chancellor had bought a package of 85,000 additional eBooks for the system-wide library collection.

Perruso said that the system-wide collection included a package of eBooks from different publishers through the ProQuest database and covers 15 subject areas, ranging from anthropology and history to medicine.

“That’s almost 100,000 eBooks that have been added in the last couple of months,” Perruso said. “When you have a total collection of about a million items, adding [that many] is extraordinary.”

Both subscriptions will expire next year, and renewing them will depend on factors like the amount of usage, vendor pricing and the university’s budget.

Perruso said there is no “magic number” as to how many students need to use the eBooks for the university to maintain its subscriptions. In addition to the fact that eBooks are relatively new to the library collection, she said that guidelines on measuring eBooks usage are also set to change by Jan. 1.

In four and a half months, CSULB students, faculty and staff had accessed more than 3,000 book titles and 108,000 pages in the ProQuest database, while the entire CSU system had accessed about 62,000 book titles and 2.4 million pages.

“If you look at the library homepage … we promoted it there for quite some time,” Perruso said. “But that’s all the promotion for the moment because in fact, most people find the eBooks just by searching through the catalog, along with the print books, so people sort of find them on their own without too much promotions.”

According to CSU Spokesperson Elizabeth Chapin, although the CSU system negotiates contracts for a number of eBook subscriptions, the individual campus libraries make the final decision on what is included in their collections, and whether or not they plan to renew the subscriptions.

Perruso said that CSULB hopes the Chancellor’s Office will pay for the system-wide eBook subscription again next year.

“If they’re not going to pay for it next year, CSULB will have to pay for it,” she said. “The eBooks for research are still relatively untested …  it may be that the science students use them a lot [while] English students don’t. Maybe we just don’t have to buy the whole collection, but there’s just not a good answer at this point.”

 

McKenna Booth contributed to this report.

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