Submit a Proposal For the Alternate Textbook Project

Do you want to save students money by not requiring them to buy a textbook?

Do you want to improve student learning?

Do you want to offer students access to more digital learning content?

If you answered “yes” to the above then please consider applying for one of ten Alternate Textbook Project awards. Faculty members whose proposals are accepted receive an award of $1,000 to subsidize the preparation of their alternate textbook.

Both full and part-time faculty are eligible. Proposals must address how the current commercial textbook will be replaced with learning material that is available at no cost to the students. This could include open educational resources (OER) and licensed library materials, such as scholarly articles, e-book chapters and educational video.

To date 37 Temple faculty have received alternate textbook awards and have so far saved Temple students over $300,000 in textbook costs.

Please consider applying for an alternate textbook award.

Proposals are now being accepted through the deadline of April 30, 2015. Awards will be announced by May 15, 2015.

For more information and the proposal submission form go to the Alternate Textbook Project information guide.

The Alternate Textbook Project is sponsored by the TLTR2 and Temple University Libraries.

How We Saved Temple Students $300,000 – An Open Education Week Story

Open Education Week is coordinated by the The Open Education Consortium, an association of hundreds of institutions and organizations around the world that are committed to the ideals of open education. Universities, colleges, schools and organizations from all over the world have come together to showcase what they’re doing to make education more open, free, and available to everyone.

Open Education Week is an effort to bring more attention to open courses, such as those offered by Coursera and EdX, and open educational resources (OER). OER is more than just learning content that is freely available on the web, although much of it is freely available, such as OpenStax textbooks. But to be truly “open” these resources should meet the criteria of the “5 Rs”.  Those Rs stand for:

  1. Retain – the right to make, own, and control copies of the content (e.g., download, duplicate, store, and manage)
  2. Reuse – the right to use the content in a wide range of ways (e.g., in a class, in a study group, on a website, in a video)
  3. Revise – the right to adapt, adjust, modify, or alter the content itself (e.g., translate the content into another language)
  4. Remix – the right to combine the original or revised content with other open content to create something new (e.g., incorporate the content into a mashup)
  5. Redistribute – the right to share copies of the original content, your revisions, or your remixes with others (e.g., give a copy of the content to a friend)

OER therefore is not only free, but allows other scholars to make all types of uses of that content in repurposing it for learning and further sharing.

Temple University Libraries supports OER by encouraging faculty to stop using costly commercial textbooks and instead use open educational content supplemented by licensed library content (the latter which is free to Temple students and faculty but not “open”). One vehicle to support that activity is the Alternate Textbook Project. To date it has enabled 35 faculty to stop using a commercial textbook. Since the launch of this project in 2011, Temple students have saved over $300,000 in textbook costs.

Take some time during Open Education Week to learn more about how faculty members are sharing their educational materials through open repositories such as MERLOT, a website where faculty can contribute and find peer-reviewed learning content, such as presentations, tutorials and quizzes. Many faculty use MERLOT resources in their courses to help support an alternate textbook. Complete open textbooks may be found by using the Open Textbook Library, a searchable catalog of open texbooks. If you have any questions about the Alternate Textbook Project or OER, contact Steven Bell, Associate University Librarian at bells @


Celebrating Engineering Week With a Library Maker Event

In support of National Engineers’ WeekTemple Libraries hosted several events at Paley Library. In addition to a 3D printing demonstration, engineering students hosted a maker event for non-engineers on February 24 and 27, 2015.

The project had students making a digital LED die. It is a kit that is created specifically for maker events to expose people who have little experience with making anything to the challenge of building a small electronic device. It’s a great way for people to discover they have the ability to build things with their hands.

photo of student building an LED die

student builds digital LED die at Paley Library

. With soldering irons in hand, five students – with little making experience among them – built their die under the watchful guidance of the engineering students (Tori Slack, Qianguo Ren and Stephanie Bui). The Libraries provided the kits, while the engineering students brought the soldering irons, tools and their expertise.


Making events are growing in popularity at college libraries as students are taking more interest in getting experiences where they use their hands to put something together. When the Digital Scholarship Center opens up at Paley Library in the fall of 2015 the Libraries will sponsor more maker events. If you are interested in learning more about maker events contact Steven Bell, Associate University Librarian.

photo of students building LED die

Engineering student Tori Slack helps two students build their die

Even Harvard Must Reckon with the Scholarly Publishing Crisis

With an article titled “The ‘Wild West’ of Academic Publishing”, Craig Lambert, writing in the January-February 2015 issue of Harvard Magazine, details the challenges that even universities with the resources of Harvard face as they attempt to navigate the scholarly publishing crisis.

Lambert examines two specific challenges. First, how can the existing 105 university presses survive in an environment where it is increasingly difficult to sell more than a few hundred copies of a scholarly monograph. Second, how can higher education bring sensible reform to a badly broken system of scholarly article publishing that has faculty giving away content to publishers (both commercial and non-profit societies) that sell back the content to academic libraries at subscription prices that cannot be rationalized.

Is open access publishing a possible solution? Lambert dives into the question, and offers some possibilities by profiling a few experiments in approaching scholarly publishing in an entirely different way. This article provides insight into the scholarly publishing crisis, and could well serve as material for a conversation in academic departments where there are concerns about the future of scholarly publishing.

What’s New Wednesdays: Library Quick Guide

Temple University Libraries staff are constantly asking themselves how to make our collections more accessible, how we can make it easier to get help when it’s needed, and how to help our students and faculty find what they need when they need it. To that end we create numerous research guides, a general user guide to the Libraries, lists of our subject specialists who can answer your questions and even a special guide to computing at the Libraries.

Great stuff, right. But we never rest on our laurels. We are always trying to come up with that next great way to help our community members.

Introducing our new “Getting Started at Temple University Libraries” guide. We’ve distilled the most essential questions and answers into a single, simple guide.

It covers just six things: (1) How do i find a book? (2) How do i find articles? (3) What are the hours? (4) How do i view my account? (5) Where are the study spaces? (6) How can i get more help?

It looks like this:

image of a new library guide

This is our new Getting Started guide

image of new library guide

This is the reverse side of the new quick guide









You can pick up one of these new guides at most of our library service desks. If you have any feedback about our new guide, please let us know.

Complete Guide to Open Educational Resources (OER)

Open educational resources (OER) are freely available learning materials that are becoming more popular as a strategy for providing students with an alternative to costly textbooks. Knowing that their students are already challenged by the cost of higher education, many faculty are looking for ways to help students save money. Adopting openly accessible textbooks and other open learning content is one way to do that. But it also has other advantages, the primary one being that it can enhance student success by making learning materials affordable. Research has shown that many students don’t buy an expensive textbook or they try to share it with other students. That detracts from learning.

How do you get started with OER if you are interested in learning more about the resources and how to integrate them into a learning environment? Campus Technology recently published a good introduction to OER in the August 2014 issue. “Complete Guide to OER” starts with a definition: “Teaching, learning and research resources that reside in the public domain…and includes full courses, course materials, modules, textbooks, streaming videos, texts, software, and other materials used to access knowledge.”

It then provides a good overview that includes four myths about OER, six tips for using OER, six arguments for OER, 18 sites for finding OER, ideas for spreading the word about OER on campus, and some information about OER formats.

The other way to learn more about OER and how it’s being used at Temple University is to explore our Alternate Textbook Project website. The Temple University Libraries has offered support for faculty to replace their traditional commercial textbook with other materials, including OER. There are examples of projects and links to additional resources. If you would like to learn more about the Alternate Textbook Project or OER, please contact Steven Bell, Associate University Librarian.

Temple Libraries Are Closed for the July 4th Holiday

Friday, July 4, 2014 is an official Temple University holiday. All Temple University Libraries will be closed on Friday, July 4. All libraries, except the Ginsberg Health Sciences Library, will also be closed on Saturday, July 5.

To help students get ready for summer session 2, the Paley Library will be open on Sunday, July 6 from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. Paley Library will return to normal summer session 2 hours on Monday, July 7, operating from 8:00 am to 10:00 pm Monday through Thursday, 8:00 am to 5:00 pm on Friday, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm on Saturday and noon to 5:00 pm on Sunday.Consult individual libraries such as Science and Engineering and Ambler for their hours.

Paley Library Now Open 24 hours For Finals

Hunkered down and studying hard? You don’t have to worry about leaving your library study space until finals are over. For the duration of the study days and finals period, we’ll suit your schedule, no matter what it is. Paley Library is open 24 hours, all day, every day, from today, Thursday May 1 through 8:00 pm on Wednesday, May 14.

You Can Now Reserve a Study Room at Paley Library

Finals will be here soon. Study rooms will be in demand. Now you and your study group can reserve one of those study rooms in advance so you will know exactly when and where to get together for your study session. To use a study room a group must have at least three people.

This is a new service that is available, to start, with four study rooms on the third floor of Paley Library. Students who want to screen a movie may reserve one of four rooms in the Media Services area on the lower level. A room may be reserved for a two-hour block. Rooms may be reserved one time a day per student, and may be reserved up to 48 hours in advance. To reserve a room navigate to our new study room reservation system.

Once you reserve a study room, just stop by the Paley Library Circulation/Reserve Desk (in Tuttleman) to check in for your reservation. You’ll be given the key to your study room. Just return the key when you are done using the room. Here’s a quick look at how it works.



To begin, click on the desired location as shown in the image on the left.







Next, from the calendar select the date for which you wish to reserve a study room.






Green blocks illustrate available time slots. Click on the block to select your desired time. Note that there are 15-minute slots between the two-hour blocks. This allows time for students to pick up and return the room keys at the Tuttleman Circulation desk. Add your name and email and then submit.


roomres4 When your submission is complete you will receive an on-screen and email confirmation.


Our goal in implementing this study room reservation system is to make it more convenient and predictable for students to gain access to one of our study rooms. We also seek to make the use of the rooms more equitable by allowing as many students as possible to reserve one of them for a time slot. If you have any questions about the room reservation system or study rooms, call our Access Services Desk at 215-204-0744. We are also open to your suggestions and feedback.

America’s Other Deficit – The Innovation Deficit

Here’s an informative four-minute video to help you understand a new type of deficit that threatens the U.S. economy. Innovation helps to grow the American economy through the discovery of new products and services that will bring value to consumers and industry. Many of these innovations, ranging from GPS technology to MRIs or life-saving medicines, were the result of higher education research. We now find ourselves facing an innovation deficit that weakens our capacity to produce the research that leads to innovation.

In a nutshell, the innovation deficit is the difference between actual federal funding for scientific research and education and the amount of funding actually needed for those activities to produce a sufficient level of innovation. The point of the video is that while this may seem like an effective strategy in the short-term to reduce the budget deficit by cutting research funding to higher education, in the long-term it’s actually hurting the economy by reducing our national capacity for innovation. Because we also compete in a global economy, fewer funds domestically decreases the attraction of American universities to the world’s best scientists and innovators and instead encourages them to seek research opportunities in other countries offering more funding. That compounds the problem over time., the producer of the video, is a coalition of higher education, business and public health associations, including the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Council on Education and the Business and Higher Education Forum. The Coalition hopes to use their site and video to alert members of Congress to the serious problems that may result if we allow the innovation deficit to grow.