MERLOT Adds New OER Search Feature

MERLOT is a well-known repository of openly accessible learning content produced and shared by higher education faculty. With its thousands of learning objects, MERLOT is considered a reliable source of quality Open Educational Resources (OER).

Faculty are sometimes challenged to find OER that fits their course. To enhance their ability to locate OER, MERLOT has developed a new feature called “Smart Search”. It extends access to online learning materials well beyond MERLOT’s curated and peer reviewed collection.  Smart Search helps to answer the pervasive and nagging question, “Where can I find OERs?”

Smart Search searches the World Wide Web specifically for the kinds of learning materials typically found in MERLOT. It uses a proprietary MERLOT user profile design to find the newest and most popular learning materials on the web. While these web items are not reviewed or curated as is the MERLOT resources, searches can recommend materials they find for future review.

Smart Search is easy to use. From the MERLOT home page go to the search feature:

screenshot of merlot search box

Start with the MERLOT search utility







Then MERLOT will indicate you have a choice of three options for finding content:

screenshot of the merlot search options

MERLOT prompts for one of three different searches






Choosing the Web search option will result in up to 100 websites with potential OER content on the search topic:

screenshot of MERLOT search results screen

MERLOT search results display up to 100 web sites






As part of Temple University Libraries celebration of Open Education Week, we encourage all instructors to visit MERLOT and consider ways in which OER could be used to offer students affordable learning material. For more information on locating OER resources, using existing library content or other resources as affordable learning materials contact Steven Bell, Associate University Librarian.

New Tool Helps Students Identify Library E-Books That Are Course Textbooks

During the first week or two of the new semester one of the most frequently asked student questions at Paley Library is “Does the Library have my textbook?”

Owing to the expense of commercial textbooks, students are hoping they can borrow a library copy instead of having to buy the book. Temple Libraries does not generally purchase commercial textbooks. Not only are they costly, but they are hardly conducive to the Library’s goal of building a research collection that contributes to great learning and research.

That said, on occasion we do have books in our collection that are also being used as learning resources by faculty. The problem is that one student in the course typically borrows that book, beating everyone else in the class to it, so it really doesn’t help much. To alleviate that situation, some faculty will place a physical book from the collection on reserve for students, but students can only borrow the book for a two hour period.

E-books are one way to overcome these limitation. Since they are always available online, and mostly accessible by multiple users, students can equitably use the e-book. The challenge for students is how to find out if we have their textbook in e-book format.

Thanks to Brian Boling, our Media Services Librarian, we now have a new tool that makes it easier for students to find out if one of the books for their course is available as a library e-book.

“E-books At Temple University Libraries” looks through all the books available at the bookstore for the current semester and shows any match for an e-book available through the library.

screenshot of the library's e-book - textbook tool

Library’s E-book – Textbook Tool










There is a search or browse list that students can use to locate books by their faculty members name or course name.

screenshot of the library e-book to textbooks

Search/Browse feature of the textbook ebook collection






We hope that students will use this new tool to determine if the library has an e-book version of their textbook. Temple University Libraries provides access to many thousands of book in electronic format. We also hope that faculty and students will make use of them to advance student learning and research.


Paley Library Construction FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions

Temple University students will notice a substantial change in Paley Library as they return for the fall 2016 semester.

Almost the entire east side of the first floor of Paley Library is closed for a construction project.

This FAQ has information about the impact of this project on Paley Library and its resources and services throughout the construction.

That section of Paley is where I always study. Why did you close it?

The decision to close the east side of Paley Library’s first floor was a University administration decision. In order to create more space for the Fox School, a decision was made to move advising staff out of 1810 Liacouras Walk. Those advisers are being relocated to the first floor east of Paley Library. In closing the first floor east, the Library administration is complying with a request from the University administration.

We need more study space, not less? What happened to all the chairs and study carrels?

Despite the construction there is no loss of study seats in Paley Library. All of our carrels and soft seating have been relocated to other spaces throughout the building. Many of the popular individual carrels will be found on the second and third floors.

What about the computers on the first floor?

Unfortunately the construction project meant the loss of approximately 50 desktop computers. For now the bulk of our desktop computers are on the west side of the first floor, with a more limited number on the second and third floors. Many more students now bring their own computer to Paley Library, but for those who need to use one while here we will be introducing Chromebook computers for loan from our Media Services Desk. Look for an announcement.

Does the construction project affect any of the services at the desk in the Tuttleman Building?

No. The construction project will have no impact at all on any Temple University Library services. Whether it’s access to books on reserve, asking a librarian for help choosing a database, DVDs in Media Services, using primary research materials in the Special Collections Research Center or getting help with a research project at the Digital Scholarship Center, Temple students will experience no change in the high quality services they always receive from Temple Libraries.

How long is the construction project expected to last?

The project is expected to be completed by mid-November 2016. However, it is possible the new area will not be occupied by staff members until the start of the spring 2017 semester. The timeline on this remains undetermined for now.

What if the construction makes Paley too noisy for quiet study

We are dealing with an active construction zone in our building from 7:00 am until 2:30 pm, weekdays. There will be noise. The entire project will be enclosed within walls that separate it from the rest of the building, which will help, but there will still be some noise. If you feel there is too much noise, speak to a library staff member at any service desk. There are numerous other quiet spaces in Paley, so seek them out.

How do I get one of the magazine or journal issues that were on the shelves in that area?

We do plan to re-install the shelving and make all those issues available for browsing once we are able to get back into the corridor. Until then, request a magazine or journal issue at the main service desk in Paley Library, Monday – Friday, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.

UPDATE – Sept. 13: The current periodicals are now available in the corridor that leads into the east side of the first floor.

Will I still be able to get to the photocopiers when I need them?

The corridor where the photocopiers are located will remain open to the community during and after the completion of the construction project. If for any reason that area is temporarily unavailable, there are additional photocopiers on the second and third floors.

UPDATE – Sept. 13: The photocopiers are now re-installed in their original location on the first floor east.

Does the project affect the hours that the Paley Library will be open this fall?

No. The Paley Library hours are not affected by the construction project.

What should I do if I have concerns about Paley Library during the construction project?

Temple University students are always welcome to share their concerns or suggestions about any aspects of library services with members of the Library Administration team. The office is located on the mezzanine level of Paley Library and is open from 9:00 am to 4:30 pm. You can also contact us through our virtual suggestion box.

Paley Library Will Close at Midnight, Thursday Feb. 4

Paley Library will close early this Thursday, February 4.

Instead of closing at 2 am (Friday morning) the Library will close at midnight.

All operations in the Paley and Tuttleman Building are affected by this early closure.

We are closing owing to a building repair that requires a water shutdown at midnight.

All operations will resume at Friday, Feb. 5 at 7:00 am.

Snow Blizzard Weekend – Library Operations Update

Paley Library is open Sunday January 24 from noon to 2 am – those are our regular operating hours.

The Paley Library “ASK HERE” desk will be closed. Those needing research assistance should use our Virtual Chat Service, which will be staffed from noon to 8:00 pm Sunday.

The Paley Media Services Desk is open noon to 10:00 pm on Sunday the 24th.

The Science and Engineering Library is normal hours on Sunday the 24th.

The Ambler Library is always closed on Sundays.

The Ginsburg Health Sciences Library is open at11:00 am on Sunday the 24th.

This blog post will update if and when our operations change throughout the weekend.

For information about any specific service desk or unit, check the Libraries operating hours calendar.

You can also call the Paley Library Circulation Desk at 215-204-0744 for information.

Hey Undergrads – Join Temple Libraries Student Advisory Board

You are an undergrad student. You use Temple Libraries. Or maybe not.

Either way, you’d like to be more involved in shaping the future of the Temple Libraries.

If so, we are looking for you.

We have openings for 3-4 undergraduate students to join our Temple Libraries Student Advisory Board.

Here’s what you need to know:

The Temple Libraries Student Advisory Board is comprised of a diverse group of undergraduate and graduate students who represent the various opinions and concerns of the entire student body regarding the libraries. The Board provides a forum for students to make suggestions to library administrators and for library administrators to solicit advice from students about library programs and services.

The Board includes the Dean of the Libraries, the Associate University Librarian and 6-8 students.

The Board meets two or three times a semester. Meetings are one hour. Advance preparation is rarely necessary.

While students who are familiar with the libraries are preferred, any student regardless of their degree of library use is welcome to serve on the Advisory Board. We are looking for students who care about their university library and wish to represent students on library-related issues.

If you’d like to get involved in the future of Temple Libraries submit an application for consideration.

Policy Update: Lost, Long Overdue and Damaged Books

Temple Libraries announces an update to its policy regarding the replacement of lost or damaged books:

Effective January 1, 2016 Temple University Libraries will institute the following changes regarding lost and damaged materials.

The replacement fee for a damaged, long overdue or lost book is $100.00 per item.

Replacement copies are no longer accepted.

When long overdue or lost books are returned the $100.00 per item is removed but patrons are still responsible for applicable overdue fines.

Please note that Media Services will continue to accept new, sealed copies of DVDs as replacements, as these items require less staff time to process.  Please consult with Media Services staff prior to ordering a replacement to ensure that you are ordering an identical edition to the lost or damaged item.

New Study Points to Learning Effectiveness of Open Textbooks

There are many good reasons to use open textbooks instead of costly commercially published textbooks. The obvious one is that it saves students a great deal of money. Faculty support that but may be hesitant to adopt an open textbook for their course over concerns of quality and impact on learning.

A new study by three researchers, one of whom is David Wiley, the prominent advocate for open education, may help to convince faculty that there is value in adopting open textbooks – and not just because of the savings for students. Open textbooks, in this study, proved beneficial to student learning.

A multi-institutional study of the impact of open textbook adoption on the learning outcomes of postsecondary students” is by far the largest study of its kind conducted to date—nearly 5000 postsecondary students using OER and over 11,000 control students using commercial textbooks, distributed among ten institutions across the United States, enrolled in 15 different undergraduate courses. So what did the researchers learn?

In three key measures of student success—course completion, final grade of C- or higher, course grade– students whose faculty chose OER generally performed as well or better than students whose faculty assigned commercial textbooks. The article does discuss the challenge of identifying and using appropriate measures of student learning, but the findings should encourage faculty who may be averse to open educational resources.

The findings support the experience of Temple University faculty that have participated in our local Alternate Textbook Project. Their evaluations of student outcomes often confirm that replacing the commercial textbook with alternate learning content (including licensed library content in many cases) leads to improved student engagement with learning materials which results in better academic performance. If you are interested in additional information about open textbooks, OER or our Alternate Textbook Project contact Steven Bell, Association University Librarian(bells at

Temple Library Operations During Papal Visit Weekend

Will the Temple Libraries be open during the Papal visit weekend?

If so, which ones and what will the hours of operation be? Here is a listing of our operations from Friday, September 25 through Monday, September 28.

Paley Library will be open throughout this period as follows:

Friday – 9 am to 5 pm
Saturday – 9 am to 7 pm
Sunday – Noon to 2 am
Monday – 8 am to 2 am

Please be aware that even though Paley is open it will be operating with limited staff and services. The only service desk location that will be staffed is the Access Services desk in Tuttleman. You will only be able to enter the Library through the Bell Tower entrance.
All guest computing services are suspended from Friday, September 25 through Monday, September 28 at 1 pm. No applications for guest computing or guest borrowing will be accepted during this period.

Those with research questions can obtain assistance through our virtual Ask-a-Librarian service. It will be available 9-5 Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

The Science and Engineering Library located in the Engineering Building is closed  from Friday, September 25 through Monday, September 28 at 1 pm.

The Ambler Campus Library is closed on Friday, September 25, open from 9 am to 5 pm on Saturday, September 26 and then closed for Sunday, September 27 and the morning of Monday, September 28.

The Health Sciences Libraries, Ginsburg and Podiatry, will be closed Friday, September 25 through Monday, September 28 at 1 pm.

All other service units such as the Special Collections Research Center, Media Services Desk, Blockson Collection, etc. are closed until Monday, September 28 at 1 pm.

For more information please call the Access Services Desk at 215-204-0744.

Paley Library Goes to 24/7 for Finals

Starting today, Thursday, April 23, at 8:00 am, Paley Library will stay open continuously through Wednesday, May 6 at 8:00 pm.

By staying open 24/7 throughout finals, Temple Libraries provides students with a convenient study space…with all the amenities of a research library – but that’s not all.

We are once again having therapy dogs visiting the library to help students relieve exam week stress – and we have increased the number of visits by the dogs. Check the schedule to find out when the dogs will be at Paley Library.

We’ll also be providing coffee and cookies at 10:00 pm on April 30, May 1, May 4 and May 5. On Sunday, May 3 we’ll have coffee and muffins at noon. Quantities are limited.

students eating refreshments during finals week

Students enjoy the free refreshments at Paley during finals









Make Paley Library your primary study spot for making it through finals.