A grant of $5000 from the EMU Women in Philanthropy allowed professors to request library e-book versions of books assigned in their courses.
Library e-books can be read online with an EMU NetID. Many library e-books books allow for multiple simultaneous readers, but some are limited to one active reader at a time.
What we learned from the grant:
Professors from many disciplines are interested in using library e-books to support classes. We received requests from all 5 colleges at EMU. Statistics showed that many students used the e-book titles, but some still prefer to obtain the print book.
In a survey of students in courses provided with an e-book title, half of the students used the library e-book to save money. 10% of students said that if the free e-book had not been available, they would not have read the book. A smaller number used the e-book because they found it more convenient. No students reported major technical problems with using the e-books. Where minor issues were reported, those same students reported that they would still choose to use a library e-book again if available.
In a survey of participating faculty, most faculty didn't notice a difference in student performance, but 29% thought more students completed the readings. More than half the faculty noticed a reduction in student complaints related to the cost of course materials. Most faculty planned to explore using library e-books for future course readings and more than half said they would also consider open access course materials.
Library e-books may:
- provide reserve copies available even when the library is closed
- support low income students who find it difficult to obtain required readings
- provide a way to keep up with reading assignments when students are waiting for books ordered online
- help with books that are out-of-print and difficult to obtain
- provide options when the bookstore runs out of copies
- help the library provide access to some important titles that tend to "go missing" from the collection.