New Exhibit on Display in Ginsburg Library: “The History of Temple’s Health Sciences Schools”

Guest post by Janeen Lamontagne, Ginsburg Reference Librarian 

Come check out the new exhibit “The History of Temple’s Health Sciences Schools,” on display in the Ginsburg Library. The exhibit—immediately to your left when you walk in the library’s doors—contains photographs, yearbooks, and artifacts representing all of Temple’s Health Sciences Schools from the late 19th century until recent years. Some highlights from the collection include an antique compounding scale lent from the School of Pharmacy, photos from the early 1900s of medical students at work, and a page from a mock medical journal titled “The North Philly Journal of Medicine” found in a 1978 yearbook.

Compounding scale lent from the School of Pharmacy with other exhibit items 

All of the photos on display in the exhibit were found in our Special Collections Research Center, either through the digital collections or in the physical collections during on-site research in the archives. Accompanying the exhibit is a survey where students can vote for their favorite photo in the exhibit, which can be accessed through a QR code posted on the main display case.   

Playbill for “The Fantasticks”-put on by the School of Pharmacy, 1969, from the Special Collections Research Center, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA 

Gateway to the Chiropody School (now the Podiatry School), 1948, from the Special Collections Research Center, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA 

Physical therapy student Dorothy Johnson works with her patient Joy McHenry, date unknown, from the Special Collections Research Center, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA 

It is my hope that when students view the exhibit they will feel a sense of camaraderie with Temple’s history and the Health Sciences students of the past, which will in turn ease some of the stress brought on by the intensity of their studies. Special thanks to Dr. Susan Dickey from the school of nursing for lending the exhibit some of her personal artifacts and to Margery Sly from the Special Collections Research Center for her research advice.

Celebrate Love Data Week with Temple Libraries!

Guest post by Will Dean, research and data services librarian

We know what we’re crushing on this Valentine’s Day: data! Love Data Week (February 13–17) is an annual celebration of data, learning data skills, and the people who work to understand data all year long. Our Research Data Services team is proud to present a week of virtual workshops and events that teach data skills and showcase the research and work of our academic community. 


This Love Data Week we’re hosting two different speaker events from different—but important and pressing—areas of the world of data. First, get an intro or refresher on data privacy. Then, learn about community-based participatory research and how Temple researchers are working to address health disparities in Hepatitis B and liver cancer care. 

Center for Asian Health demo

Tuesday, February 14, 10 am 
Data Privacy

Most people spend at least part of their lives online and interacting with digital systems, but understanding how your data is tracked, and the legal underpinnings to data privacy is a challenge. Learn about data privacy from Dina Gayanova, a data privacy and cybersecurity attorney in Holland & Knight’s Philadelphia office. After the presentation there will be a moderated Q&A, so bring your data privacy questions! 

Tuesday, February 14, 1 pm 
Addressing Health Disparities in Hepatitis B and Liver Cancer Through Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR) Data 

Join researchers from Temple’s Center for Asian Health to learn about their Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR) project on addressing health disparities in Hepatitis B and liver cancer. Hepatitis B virus (HBV) and liver cancer disproportionately affect Asian Americans and other medically underserved minority populations in the US. Barriers to information and healthcare services for HBV and liver cancer prevention, screening, monitoring and treatment exist on multiple levels: individual, community, healthcare system, and societal/structural. After the presentation there will be a moderated Q&A, so bring your research questions! 


Love Data Week workshops help you learn data skills applicable to your work and research interests and provide opportunities to explore a new skill in an approachable way. This year we’re offering sessions that will get you started on statistical analysis, data visualization, mapping, text mining, and finding public data. 

Monday, February 13, Noon 
Introduction to Data Visualization with Tableau 

In this hands-on workshop, Research and Data Services Librarian Will Dean will show you how to take a humble dataset and present it in a variety of colorful, informative, and interactive visualizations using Tableau. Tableau is one of the most widely used data visualization programs available, and can generate graphs, stories, and interactive dashboards. You can download Tableau and get a free student or teacher account. 

Tuesday, February 14, Noon 
Basic Statistical Methods with JMP 

Learn about the basics of statistical analysis for clinical research using a free tool available to all Temple students, faculty, and staff. Dr. Huaqing Zaho of the Department of Clinical Sciences will lead a hands-on workshop demonstrating how to use the JMP statistical software for basic clinical statistics. No need to bring your own computer, but you can familiarize yourself with JMP by downloading it from ITS’s download site

Wednesday, February 15, 11 am 
Intro to Text Mining with Proquest TDM 

This workshop will introduce the basics of text mining, with a focus on Proquest’s text data mining portal (TDM Studio), available to Temple University faculty, staff, and students. TDM Studio offers a vast range of textual resources, including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Black Historical and international newspapers. Users can ingest open access and user-generated content as well. Take advantage of user-friendly visualization tools or the more advanced Jupyter Notebooks to analyze your datasets. Join us to learn more about this innovative research and classroom tool. 

Thursday, February 16, 11 am 

Creating maps with data can be an excellent way to share your findings and illustrate complicated results. QGIS is an open source program for building maps and is freely available at: From designing amazing maps to analyzing spatial data, this workshop will show you the basic tools on a Geographic Information System as well as some interesting spatial data sources available. Join Temple Libraries’ Geographic Information Systems Specialist Felipe M. Valdez for this in-depth three-hour workshop. 

Friday, February 17, Noon 
Finding Public Data for Research and Grants 

Wrap up Love Data Week with this workshop! At this workshop for researchers and community groups, you can learn how to access publicly available data from national and local Philadelphia sources such as the U.S. Census, Pew Charitable Trusts, OpenDataPhilly and the Community Health Explorer. Join Research and Data Services Librarian Will Dean to explore sources of public data that can be used for research or grant applications. 

New Semester, New You 

Welcome back for the spring 2023 semester! No matter what this semester brings, the Libraries have the services, resources, materials, and expertise to help you succeed. 

Check out our website to browse materials, access resources, or to contact us with questions, and review our hours page if you’re planning to visit us in person. And read on for a refresher on our services, collections, and opportunities, as well as some of our top tips to start the new year off right. 

Photo of Charles Library exterior
Charles Library photo by Betsy Manning, Temple University

Help with research 

Our friendly staff members are here to offer personalized assistance as you work on your research papers and projects. No matter what you are studying or what major you pursue, we have a subject specialist in your field

Getting in touch with your subject specialist is easy: you can chat 24/7, email, or schedule an appointment. For more ways to get in touch, visit our Contact Us page. 

Access books, journals, archives, and more 

We provide access to a broad range of physical and online materials—from books, databases, and journals to ebooks, archival materials, and movies—all searchable through our website:

Each semester, we also compile a list of digitally available textbooks and reading materials, based on Temple bookstore information. Check out if your etextbook is on the list! 

Interested in doing archival research this semester, or just curious what we have to offer? Learn more about our special collections housed in the Special Collections Research Center and the Charles L. Blockson Afro-American Collection

Apply for research and creative writing awards 

Through February 27, we will be accepting applications for the Livingstone Undergraduate Research Awards, in which we recognize the best scholarly and creative work produced by Temple undergrads. There are cash prizes for the winners, and you can view past winning projects on our awards website

Learn more and apply now at

Photo of audience at library event
Audience photo by Ryan S. Brandenberg, Temple University

Attend free workshops and events 

Do you know the Libraries host a range of free workshops and events? Our offerings include readings, concerts, workshops, our beloved Charles L. Blockson Afro-American Collection series, and more, and are always open to everyone.  

In the spring, our Beyond the Page public programming series explores the experience of making a home in a new place. We’ll look at the stories of immigrants, refugees, and others who have left one home for another, and consider what it means to belong—and to be welcomed into new spaces. 

We also have a full slate of virtual workshops scheduled for the spring on everything from video recording and editing to using citation managers to getting started with 3D scanning and printing. We hope you’ll join us for any or all of these specialized online learning opportunities! 

Even more tips! 

Promoting Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion through Purchasing Award-Winning Books

Guest post by the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion subcommittee of the Collections Strategy Steering Team

People studying
Photo by cottonbro studio

When searching the library catalog, patrons may notice a new filter listed under “Collection Name” on the side menu: the Award Winners Honoring Diverse Voices Collection. This recently created collection is a project of the Collections Strategy Steering Team (CSST), and it will grow annually. 

While Temple University Libraries has always valued diversity in our collections, a recent survey showed that subject librarians were looking for additional tools to identify works by or about underrepresented groups to enhance the work they already do. In response, the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion sub-committee of CSST worked with subject librarians to develop a plan for purchasing award-winners annually.  

Using the University of Western Florida’s Diverse Book Awards LibGuide as a starting point, the sub-committee gathered information about each award, including criteria, eligibility, and type of organization granting the award. Subject librarians were given the opportunity to select which of these awards to include and to suggest additional awards. We had expected that about half the winners would be titles we’d already purchased in print, and this proved to be the case. If we only owned an ebook copy, a non-circulating copy, or did not own the title, we ordered print for the Charles Library circulating collection. Cataloging librarians have been adding the collection name to catalog records for award-winners that the Libraries already owned and will be doing the same for new purchases. 

The awards included in this program cover a wide range of disciplines and populations. There are awards specific to Black political scientists, women in history, sociology of disability, Jewish fiction, LGBT memoir, among others celebrating and documenting diversity. 

The award-winning books will be housed in Charles library and shelved in the stacks. We expect to buy 150–200 books a year through the award winners program. To view the full list of what the Libraries own so far, you can search Library Search by collection name

The Ebooks are Back: Wiley Reverses Decision to Remove Library Access…For Now

High Angle Photo of Person Reading an E-Book
Photo by

Early in the fall 2022 semester some faculty discovered, after informing students that their textbook was available as an ebook through Temple University Libraries, that the title had disappeared. This was due to the publisher Wiley’s removal of 1,379 ebooks from various subscription packages. The removal of these books affected libraries around the world, some of whom have spoken up forcefully.  

In response to criticism from libraries, including an article in Inside Higher Ed and a statement by SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition), Wiley has agreed to temporarily reinstate access to these books. You can find the reinstated ebooks in Library Search, accompanied by a note stating that they are only available through June 2023. 

Temple University Libraries will lose access to this book at the end of June 2023. The publisher, Wiley, will no longer be making it available to libraries as an ebook. Faculty, please contact if you are or will be assigning this text for a class.

Like many libraries, Temple University Libraries subscribes to ebook packages that allow us to access items that we don’t technically own. Publishers have the right to remove their books from the subscription package, causing them to disappear from the library’s collection. Typically when this happens, library staff review the books to see which have been heavily used, and the library purchases replacement copies, which we then own and can access in perpetuity.  

The situation with the Wiley books was different in that there was no option for us to purchase these particular books as ebooks in order to guarantee future access. The timing of the removal compounded the difficulties it caused, as our access was terminated at the end of August, the second week of the semester. 

We at Temple University Libraries agree with those at other libraries who have spoken out against Wiley’s removal of these books. After next June, the texts will only be available via print copies or through so-called “inclusive access” packages, which require students to pay for temporary access to a set of ebooks assigned in their courses. Preventing libraries from buying course texts as ebooks shifts the financial burden from the library onto students, many of whom are already struggling to pay for textbooks. As a statement from George Washington University says, “Publishers who manipulate the academic market in order to maximize their profits at the expense of students’ financial well-being hinder the university’s ability to create an equitable learning environment for all.” 

We regret the inconvenience this has caused to our faculty and students. If you would like to put a print copy of your text on reserve, see our Reserve Materials for Your Course page for instructions. If you are interested in using zero-cost materials so that your students won’t need to pay for textbooks, read more about affordable course materials on our website. 

Introducing Felipe Valdez, Temple Libraries’ New GIS Specialist

Temple University Libraries is pleased to welcome Felipe Valdez to our staff as the Libraries’ new GIS specialist. Felipe joins the Libraries from Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador (PUCE) in Quito, where he was a professor and researcher. 

The GIS specialist position is a new addition to our Learning and Research Services department. I recently had the opportunity to check in with Felipe and ask him about his background, his new role at Temple, and why GIS and mapping services are important for the Libraries to offer in support of students, faculty, and researchers.  

Beckie Dashiell (editor for Temple Libraries): Can you tell us about your educational and professional background? 

Felipe Valdez: My educational background is more like a journey of discovery. I have studied in three different countries with three different languages: Ecuador, France, and the United States. I have a bachelor’s degree in geography from Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador where I also obtained a master’s degree in Urban Planning and Development. This was an international program in cooperation with the French Institute for Development and the Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne. During this time, I started working for the Ecuadorian National Planning Agency as a Geographic Information Analyst. The institution was undertaking three big data gathering projects that would improve spatial and economic planning nationwide. My job was to analyze data for the national planning objectives and expand local governments’ skills to use this data for their own planning.  

While working on these important projects, I realized that professionals from different disciplines needed to use data to support their decisions. I also identified the need, for a country like Ecuador, for more research in certain areas related to development. As a result, I decided to continue my education abroad to acquire more skills and expand my network. I received a grant from the French government to pursue a master’s degree focused on research for developing countries at Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne. During my stay in France, I collaborated with faculty members undertaking research worldwide. In connection with my original motivation, I focused my thesis on the effects of big projects in Ecuadorian cities.  

Right after finishing my studies, I was invited to teach in the geography department of my alma mater. I began by teaching introductory courses to Geographic Information Systems for students majoring in geography. Over time, I started designing new GIS courses for non-geographers as a strategy to increase the use of these technologies in other disciplines. As a result, I developed and participated in several interdisciplinary research groups and projects related to environment conservation, public health, rural development, urban and economic studies, spatial inequality, among others. Also, I started the first interdisciplinary center for spatial and social analysis at this university.  

In 2017, I received a Fulbright grant to pursue a doctoral degree in geography at Northern Illinois University. My research is on the social and spatial factors that influence residential satisfaction in Ecuadorian cities. I am looking forward to defending my dissertation soon.  

BD: Wow, that is a fascinating educational journey! We’re so glad you are now with us at Temple University Libraries. What kind of work will you be doing here? 

FV: I am the Geographic Information Systems specialist. I am here to support GIS and mapping for research, teaching, and learning. I will be helping students, faculty, and staff discover how a spatial framework can improve their work and contribute to their goals, whether it is by analyzing spatial data or by developing a creative way to communicate better with maps. As many things happen somewhere in space, it is possible to map these events and processes. Most of the time, space gives context to what we are trying to understand or solve. GIS is the main technology that allows us to collect, store, manage, analyze, and visualize spatial data. The use of these technologies has undergone an important expansion in the last decades; however, there is still more space to grow.  

At Temple University, there are a variety of current and future GIS users. In this sense, I will be helping these users to find and access the technology and the data they need for their GIS projects through discrete consultations or extended project collaboration. I will also teach workshops to introduce students and faculty to Geographic Information Systems and other web mapping platforms at different levels. For those advanced users, I can assist with spatial data analysis tools and processes as well as with advice on strategies to incorporate a spatial framework into their projects. I will be exploring and suggesting ways to incorporate GIS and geospatial data for areas and disciplines that are not familiar with these technologies. My goal at Temple University Libraries is to help students, faculty, and researchers get the most out of GIS and mapping technologies regardless of their level of experience.  

BD: This is a brand-new position at the Libraries. Can you speak to the importance of such a position in an academic library? 

FV: The use of geospatial data has increased in the last decades—not only because we gather more data than ever before and because of the advanced technologies that help us manage this data, but mainly because of the enormous potential of using it across disciplines. Mapping has been a basic source of learning and research for geographers for a long time, but almost every discipline can benefit from the use of maps and geospatial data. Currently, there is an important use of geospatial data in business, public health, engineering, education, and the digital humanities, just to mention a few.  

Temple Libraries is a hub for making interdisciplinary connections. Having a GIS specialist in the Libraries helps library users bring a geospatial approach to their research regardless of discipline or level of expertise, and it helps bring disciplines together across Temple University to work collaboratively to find better solutions through GIS and mapping. 

BD: Is there a particular project or initiative you are looking forward to working on here at Temple?  

FV: Many things attract me to Temple. Being such a diverse institution, from an academic perspective but also a demographic one, as well as being at the heart of such a vibrant urban environment are among the most important. I would love to work on projects that focus on inclusion, community participation, and the use of spatial data for enhancing the urban environment and people’s quality of life. I think that understanding our spatial context and getting to be part of the decisions about the future of the city give us a sense of belonging and have a positive impact on our wellbeing.  

This semester, I have started holding consultations with researchers who contact the Libraries for GIS and mapping help. I’m also looking forward to GIS Day on November 16 at Charles Library, which the Libraries co-organize every year with Temple’s department of Geography and Urban Studies. I’m helping plan the event and will be teaching a GIS workshop as part of the festivities.  

See our webpage for more information on support for GIS and mapping at Temple Libraries, and to get in touch with Felipe. 

Books Unite Us. Censorship Divides Us: Banned Books Week, Sept. 18–24

Artwork courtesy of the American Library Association, 

This week is Banned Books Week, an annual American Library Association (ALA) event that celebrates the freedom to read. This year’s theme is: “Books unite us. Censorship divides us.”  

Every year, books in schools and libraries are challenged, meaning a person or group has requested their removal or restriction. The reasons for these challenges range from objections to explicit content, offensive language, age-inappropriate material, and more. Yet, most challenges are unsuccessful due to the hard work of librarians, teachers, students, and community members who support and promote our freedom to openly access information and literature.  

Below, we’ve rounded up a list of 2021’s top ten challenged books. We have many of these in our collections here at the Libraries and have linked to the listings in Library Search. If you want to read one that Temple doesn’t own, check out E-ZBorrow to see if one of our partner libraries has a copy that you can request! Really love it and think we should get a copy? Let us know by filling out our purchase request form

According to ALA, the top ten challenged books of 2021 were: 

  1. Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe 
    Reasons: Banned, challenged, and restricted for LGBTQIA+ content and because it was considered to have sexually explicit images 
  1. Lawn Boy by Jonathan Evison 
    Reasons: Banned and challenged for LGBTQIA+ content and because it was considered to be sexually explicit 
  1. All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson 
    Reasons: Banned and challenged for LGBTQIA+ content and profanity and because it was considered to be sexually explicit 
  1. Out of Darkness by Ashley Hope Perez (also available online!) 
    Reasons: Banned, challenged, and restricted for depictions of abuse and because it was considered to be sexually explicit 
  1. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas 
    Reasons: Banned and challenged for profanity and violence and because it was thought to promote an anti-police message and indoctrination of a social agenda 
  1. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie 
    Reasons: Banned and challenged for profanity, sexual references, and use of a derogatory term 
  1. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews 
    Reasons: Banned and challenged because it was considered sexually explicit and degrading to women 
  1. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison 
    Reasons: Banned and challenged because it depicts child sexual abuse and was considered sexually explicit 
  1. This Book is Gay by Juno Dawson 
    Reasons: Banned, challenged, relocated, and restricted for providing sex education and LGBTQIA+ content 
  1. Beyond Magenta by Susan Kuklin 
    Reasons: Banned and challenged for LGBTQIA+ content and because it was considered to be sexually explicit. 

Learn more at

For further reading 

Check out this Inside Higher Ed article about how K-12 book bans affect higher education. 

Artwork courtesy of the American Library Association, 

Congratulations to the 2022 Textbook Affordability Project award recipients!

Guest post by Kristina De Voe, English and communication librarian, with the Open Education Group 

The Libraries are happy to announce our 2022 Textbook Affordability Project grant award recipients:  

  • Sonia Isabel Mino Avila, Mathematics, Temple University Japan 
  • Gregory Byala, English (First Year Writing), College of Liberal Arts 
  • Wendy Cheesman, Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, College of Public Health 
  • Elizabeth Diamond, Career and Technical Education Program, College of Education and Human Development 
  • Rob Faunce, English (First Year Writing) / Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies, College of Liberal Arts 
  • Talissa Ford, English, College of Liberal Arts 
  • Matt Hall, Communication Sciences and Disorders, College of Public Health 
  • Melissa Toomey, English (First Year Writing), College of Liberal Arts 
  • Kathleen Voss, Human Resource Management, Fox School of Business 
  • Jingwei Wu, Epidemiology and Biostatistics, College of Public Health

These course instructors have all committed to introducing open educational practices in their classrooms in the 2022–23 academic year and will be moving forward with project plans to adopt zero-cost learning materials into their courses.  

As part of the grant, awardees completed training over the summer, participating in a learning community in which they increased their awareness around open textbooks, open educational practices, and affordable learning materials. They also had the opportunity to develop their projects.  

The Textbook Affordability Project (TAP) is a grant program that awards funds to Temple faculty members who make their courses more affordable for their students by replacing costly educational resources with library-licensed materials or open educational resources (OER), including open textbooks. Alternatively, faculty can receive funds for engaging in other open educational practices, like creating learning objects or replacing a traditional assignment with renewable assignments that center students as creators of knowledge. The call for applications goes out annually in the spring. 

Since 2011, The TAP has granted awards to over 90 faculty across nearly every discipline at Temple University and saved students over one million dollars. 

A warm welcome from the Libraries!

Photo showing the outside of Charles Library
Outside Charles Library, photo by Betsy Manning, Temple University 

Welcome to the fall 2022 semester at Temple University! Temple Libraries is here to support you with a variety of resources, materials, and services to get you started and keep you on track as the semester unfolds. 

This post highlights just a few of the ways you can use the Libraries this fall. Be sure to check our website for more resources, and visit our contact us page to learn about all the ways to get in touch to ask questions. 

Find the materials you need 

The Libraries provide access to a broad range of physical and online materials—including books, journals, articles, music, and movies—all searchable through our website:

If it’s rare or unique archival materials you’re after, learn more about the Special Collections Research Center and the Charles L. Blockson Afro-American Collection and peruse our digital collections

Get personalized research help 

Librarians are here to offer personalized assistance as you work on your research papers and projects. No matter what you are studying or what major you pursue, we have a librarian who specializes in your field

Getting in touch with your librarian is easy: you can chat, email, or schedule a virtual or in-person appointment. Our chat service is 24/7, so no matter when you are working, someone will be here to answer your questions. 

Research, at your pace 

Once you’ve scoped out your syllabi, head over to our comprehensive Research Guides for each of your course subjects (curated by our subject librarians!).  

Our self-paced library tutorials can you help you develop your research skills. 

We also have tailored undergraduate and graduate user guides to help get you started. 

Explore spaces to study and work 

Photo showing seating inside Charles Library, with book stacks in the background

We offer a variety of open study seating options (and even some new furniture this semester!), and you can book study rooms ahead of time at Charles Library and the Ginsburg Health Sciences Library

If you are interested in making use of the Libraries’ advanced equipment and technology, visit the Loretta C. Duckworth Scholars Studio in Charles Library and the Innovation Space at Ginsburg Health Sciences Library. 

Access tech 

Need to print or use a computer? Take advantage of the laptop lending program and charging options, and look into Temple’s Print on the Go service for all your printing needs. 

Attend free events and workshops  

We host a variety of events and workshops throughout the academic year. This semester, our Beyond the Page public programming series celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Philadelphia Jewish Archives Center and our collection. In addition, we’ll be offering a lineup of concerts, conversations, and specialized workshops, on everything from CV writing to graphic design for visual abstracts to 3D printing. 

As always, our events and workshops are free and open to all. 

Photo showing atrium and main staircase in Charles Library
Inside Charles Library, photo by Michael Grimm 

Stay up to date! 

Follow us on social media and sign up for our mailing list to get future updates from the Libraries, including upcoming events, featured resources, and more.  

Helping Students with Textbook Costs

Guest post by Karen Kohn, collections analysis librarian, with the Open Education Group 

The problem with textbook costs 

A college girl studying outside on the grass

Textbook costs have long been a concern for students, and the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated that problem. In the summer of 2020, a nationwide study found that 20% of students had lost their jobs due to the pandemic and 16% were either furloughed or had hours cut. This meant that even though textbook prices had actually fallen from 2018 to 2020, students had just as much difficulty buying textbooks as they had in past years. U.S. PIRG found that 65% of students skipped buying a required textbook due to cost. In a recent survey of faculty and administrators by Bay View Analytics, 86% of administrators and 64% of faculty agreed with the statement that “the cost of the course materials is a serious problem for my students.”  

Recent guidance from the federal Department of Education on meeting students’ basics needs notes that increasing free access to textbooks can be a way to support students. 

Library copies of course texts 

One way to increase free access is to assign an electronic book found in the library collection or that can be purchased, and then direct students to the library copy. 

Since 2017, Temple University Libraries has been purchasing ebook copies of course texts whenever possible. In the 2021-22 academic year the Libraries offered electronic access to 32% of course texts, saving students an estimated $450,000. These books are all available via our catalog or our Etextbook Database. The database is updated near the beginning of every semester. 

The Libraries are not always able to purchase ebooks, as many textbook publishers do not make their titles available to libraries electronically. When a book is available to us, we prefer to purchase a multi-user license for something we know will be used in a class, though we will buy a single-user license if that is the only option. 

How faculty can help 

Let your subject librarian know what books you will be using so that the Libraries can look into buying them! Then let your students know that the Libraries have their books. When you submit your textbook adoptions to the bookstore, you can add a note to the submission form indicating that students will have access to a free digital copy from the library, and you can also mention the library copy on your syllabus. 

You can also check out the Affordable Course Materials page on our website for other ways to offer zero-cost to your students. Please speak with your subject librarian if you want to know if the Libraries can purchase a book for your class, if you need help determining what is already available, or if you want instruction on linking to an ebook in Canvas.