Blurred Lines: Libraries, Bookstores, and Academic Partnerships

by | Nov 5, 2020 | 0 comments


Session summary: Libraries and bookstores have traditionally co-existed on campus, each serving discrete functions and together, powering the information needed to support the academic and research enterprise. In the era of electronic information, e-learning and the virtual classroom, these traditional roles have been blurred. Who is the gatekeeper for the information needed for research, teaching, and learning? Are there new roles and partnerships emerging for the bookstore and the library and which skill sets are needed? What is the cost of this information and who pays for it (students via tuition or other method, library, other)? What is the potential role of Open Access in this equation? Can and should libraries and bookstores impact textbook affordability? Join our panel of a librarian, a bookstore manager, and a publisher to discuss the challenges and opportunities for collaboration as the academic information landscape continues to evolve.

Richard Hershman, VP, Government Relations, National Association of College Stores

Many studies have addressed the costs of course materials, as shown here.

Communities need to get together and discuss issues. (See the ACRL report Stepping Through the Open Door from the 2007 ACRL conference.) Bookstores and libraries often compete with each other; the Textbook Affordability Conference brings players together. Opportunities for collaboration include local actions, a unified knowledge portal, educating and supporting students and faculty, creating efficiencies across departments, and copyright and intellectual property issues. For example, bookstore platforms are being integrated with library resources and OER platforms, so that they can tell students about free materials in the library. But there is still lots of work to be done.

Jennifer Chan, Scholarly Communication Librarian, UCLA Library

The Associated Students of UCLA (ASUCLA) runs the bookstore, so the library works closely with it., COVID has highlighted the necessity for materials to be published OA. There are many shared motivations such as student success, access to relevant content, and cross references on OER inquiries.Unique library perspectives offer value; for example, the library prioritizes open and accessible resources, supports the creation of OERs, and builds relationships. A Course Materials Policy was adopted in 2017.

Here are some further references:

Lisa Nachtigall, Director, Global Information Resellers and Channel Strategy, Oxford University Press (OUP)

In search of a blurry solution for adopted content. In the mix are library considerations, adoption considerations, and other things (student affordability, print or digital, author royalties, bookstore sales, the used book market, and a pandemic). What if we blur lines between book and distribution outlets, such as a library putting books in its reserve room while bookstore is selling print copies? Or the library managing course IA programs? (Some students think that a book in the library means that it’s free.) How do we distinguish between textbooks and course books? How to supply immediate needs for e-books? We must also consider the authors. Here are adoptable solutions at (OUP).


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