The people who work at the library are great, but I get frustrated with the large amount of books that are not immediately available at the library (i.e. need to be ordered from the repository or through PALCI and ILLIAD). Are there plans in the works to fund the library’s need for more books and space to house books? If not, who can faculty and students contact to let them know we want improved library facilities and holdings?
Many thanks for your kind words about the employees of the Temple University Libraries. We appreciate that you are pleased with the service you receive from our staff. We are disappointed to learn about your frustrations with our collections. Despite a significant increase in our expenditures for collections over the past four years it is an unfortunate reality that the Libraries are unable to expand its holdings to the point that we can have all the books and materials to satisfy the needs of every member of our large community.
Please know that in 2005, the University implemented a five year plan of major funding increases to improve the Libraries. As a result we have showed serious improvement in our collections. Using the Association of Research Libraries data as a measure of progress, compared to our peers, in collections we moved from a ranking of 95th (out of 113) in 2004 to 61st in 2006 and then to 39th in 2007 in expenditures for library materials. We moved from 84th in 2004 to 74th in 2006 and then to 60th in 2007 in total library expenditures. So we have dramatically increased the size and scope of our collections in both print and electronic formats. For instance, twenty years ago we purchased only 17,870 monographs. Ten years ago just 23,525. Last year we bought 47,318 monographs. Even with impending budget constraints and inflation factors associated with library materials, we will be doing everything possible to preserve our budget for library books. If we are not buying specific monographs in a particular area of need, please use our purchase recommendation form.
No research library can endlessly expand the size of its physical facilities to offer an on-site, browsing collection. Nearly every major research university library now makes use of a remote-storage site to hold its lesser used books and bound journals. We are fortunate that our repository is nearby allowing for the rapid retrieval and delivery of materials. And if materials in the depository are borrowed more than three times in a year, we will return them to the shelves in Paley. And services such as PALCI and ILLIAD allow our user community to take advantage of the collections of many great libraries that hold materials we could never offer locally. All we can say is that both of these services have dramatically increased both the ease of requesting materials through interlibrary loan and the speed at which the materials are delivered.
Given our finite resources we will do our best to acquire the books and other materials that are most relevant to the needs of our students, faculty, and researchers and that best support our diverse curriculum. To make that possible our subject specialists work closely with academic departments to ensure we are acquiring the right materials. If there is a subject area that any member of our community finds particularly lacking in depth and breadth, we invite you to contact the subject specialist for that area to recommend appropriate materials that will help us strengthen our collections.
If you would like to contact someone directly to share your concerns about the need for better library facilities and holdings please email Larry Alford, Dean of University Libraries.