If Public Libraries Offer Remote Access to Databases and E-Books Why Can’t Temple Libraries Give Alumni Remote Access to Their E-Resources?

I’m an Alumni Grad of Temple University. Every Library in every county and state Ive traveled to has remote access to ebooks and audio books. You librarian informed me today that it had such an access for Alums when calling helpdesk for setting up accounts. After i created an account for that purpose, I found out from librarian that you have to be onsite to access ebooks and audio books. I have no desire to come all the way to main campus just to be able to use the facility. Its the most ridiculous rule Ive ever heard of for a library. Even Library of Congress has remote access (though the best collection is available by visiting) to their Archive if you provide the right justificiation. Come on Temple!!

Thank you for contacting Temple Libraries with your question/suggestion. It is true that virtually all public libraries offer access to a limited range of electronic research databases, along with ebooks, audio books and some streaming media. Few, if any of those public libraries, would offer as many electronic resources as Temple Libraries does – over 900 databases and millions of ebooks – or as many unique and specialized – and expensive – databases as does a research university library like ours. Please know that the most frequent question we get from our alumni is about getting remote, off campus access to the research databases they became familiar with as students.

While public libraries, even the Library of Congress, are funded by taxpayer money and therefore have an obligation to make all of their information resources publicly accessible, Temple University Libraries is funded by student tuition dollars and our primary responsibility is to make sure our matriculated students, faculty, researchers and staff have access to our electronic resources. It is actually the case that we are legally prohibited from providing remote access to alumni based on the licenses that the E-resource providers require us to agree to. The expectation of the providers is that our alumni will have access to databases through their employer or a public library or are willing to pay for access to these resources. The best we are able to do is to negotiate access to the databases onsite for our alumni. Many academic libraries are not able to even offer that.

You should also keep in mind that even community public libraries restrict access to their E-resources based on where individuals reside. You may have access to the databases and ebooks of the Free Library of Philadelphia if you reside in the city and qualify for access privileges. But try to access the E-resources of the New York Public Library…you will not be able to. So it isn’t the case that you can get remote access to every public library’s E-resources…only those where you can qualify for access privileges.

I hope this serves to help you better understand why we have this particular policy in place. We are fortunate and pleased that we are able to provide many of our Temple alums with E-resource access on site. If you are able to visit main campus, please take that opportunity to visit Charles Library (or even the Ambler Campus Library) where you can access all the E-resources on the Temple University wireless network or using one of our guest computers. Our friendly and knowledgeable staff will be glad to assist you.

Steven Bell
Associate University Librarian

Got a Noisy (study room) Neighbor? Here’s What to Do.

The people in the study room next to mine are being noisy. It’s impossible to get anything done with constant yelling. Please add posters in the study rooms to let students know that everyone around them can still hear it when they are noisy.

So you’ve discovered our study rooms are a great resource for private study – and what goes better with quiet study than…silence.

Our study rooms are also a great resource for group projects and meetings. In fact, we refer to them as “group study rooms” because they are intended for more than one person. Occasionally, groups will get noisy and that can become a problem for their neighbors, who may be studying quietly, and even students sitting outside the room.

So, what do you do in these situations?

We recommend that you contact the One Stop Assistance Desk that is located on the main level of Charles Library. You can reach the OSAD by phone at 215-204-8212.

OSAD staff will work with our Facilities Team to send a staff member to the room that is creating excessive noise to ask that they cease making that noise, cease the yelling, cease the loud music…or what is happening generating so much noise.

It’s not likely that we’d put posters up on the walls to remind students to be quiet. But that’s a reasonable suggestion and perhaps we can come up with another way to remind students that excessive noise does bother their fellow students in neighboring study room.

Thanks for your suggestion

What Happened to Journal Finder? How Can I Search By Citation?

What happened the to journal finder search option from the old website? It was very useful and this new library website does not seem to offer a similar search.

You and many others pointed out to us the utility of the “journal finder” tab available on our previous website.  We acknowledge that when you need to search by citation or DOI or if you just want to know if we subscribe to a certain journal, a citation finder tool is invaluable.

And that’s exactly why we created “Citation Finder” – which is even better than the old “journal finder”.

You will find it under “Quick Links” on our library website home page – just scroll to the end of the page where you’ll see this box:

library quick links image




When you click on “citation finder” you will come to the page where you can do your journal searching:

library citation search box image









The search tool is self-explanatory. Good luck with your citation searching.

Steven Bell
Associate University Librarian

Where Are the Desktop Computers in Charles Library?

Why aren’t there desktop computers in Charles Library like there were in Paley Library? Sometimes you just want to use a desktop computer.

Let’s start the answer with a really important point. Charles Library is an academic and research library for the future and it is designed as such. Its designers were imagining a library that is not only for current students but the students of 10, 20, 50 years and beyond. That meant some critical decisions needed to be made about investing in the infrastructure (electrical, data, etc) required for stationary desktop computers. Once incorporated into the structure, those utilities are difficult to remove or re-purpose.

Rather than make that costly investment, Charles Library is based on a future of mobile computing where students use laptop computers, tablets and smartphones for their computing. This is based on the following types of data and information:
1) Large numbers of Temple students own and bring laptops and tablets to campus everyday;
2) Our analysis of the time spent on Paley desktop computers told us that the average computer session is less than 30 minutes and often less than 10 minutes. Further investigation identified that students were primarily using desktops for quick email checks, sending documents to printers and other quick uses – not longer-term writing or research activity (and yes – quite a bit of entertainment activity).
3) Our pilot of the laptop share kiosk in Paley clearly showed that it lead to an increase in the use of the laptops and a decrease in the use of desktops in the same area of the library.
4) Temple University is committed to supporting a campus-wide laptop/battery share system that will place these devices throughout campus buildings thus making it truly convenient to pick-up and drop-off laptops all around campus.

The vision for Charles Library is that students will primarily use laptop computers and other mobile devices. We support this vision with our portable battery kiosks – which allow students to charge their devices on the go. While that may not sit well with today’s students when they are looking for a desktop, since we have no way of knowing what sort of computing solutions will exist 5, 10 or more years from now, why commit ourselves and future generations of students to a computing solution that only works for today’s students? That said, please consider the following:

  • Stand-up computers have been added around the library that can be used for quick searches, email checks, sending print jobs, etc. Please consider using these and let us know if we could use a few more of them and where.
  • For now instruction room 210 is left open and it contains approximately 30 desktop computers. If there is no instruction class in session students may use the computers in that room.
  • If you haven’t given the laptop and battery share kiosks a try, please do. Students are using the laptops quite regularly and they are meeting the computing needs of our students.
  • As much as we’d love you to spend all your time in Charles Library, the TECH is a 5-minute walk from Charles and that facility continues to offer hundreds of desktop computers.

Thanks for your question and continue to share your thoughts about Charles Library with us.

Steven Bell
Associate University Librarian


More Furniture, Please

With the amount of space in Charles Library I am wondering why there is such a limited amount of seating. I’ve had trouble finding a place other than at tables. What about more desks like those that were in Paley? Also, there seems to be only a limited number of outlets here.

Thanks for sharing your questions about Charles Library. By design, the plan to was open with less furniture than the building will ultimately accommodate, in both number and styles. Rather than immediately fill up the building to capacity with furniture, the planners chose to wait and learn more about how the building and available furniture was being used by students and others. We are currently conducting a user survey about the furniture. Plans are already underway to acquire additional furniture for Charles and it’s possible some will be in the style of individual study carrels.

Yes, there are fewer outlets than might be expected. To better facilitate students ability to charge their devices, Charles Libraries offers Battery Share kiosks. These power packs offer 6 hours of charging time for laptops, phones, and other devices. They can be returned at any kiosk.If you have yet to do so, please try borrowing one of our batteries at any of the kiosks conveniently located throughout Charles Library.

Where’d That Link Go…Some Tips for Our New Website

What happened to the suggest a purchase form? Why did you hide the EZ Borrow link on the homepage? Why can’t I select what I want to search like I could on the former website?

While the opening of Charles Library received much of the attention when the 2019 fall semester started at Temple University, the Libraries had another rather significant change in store for Temple students, faculty, staff and pretty much everyone who uses our library website. Just prior to the start of the new semester, we unveiled a totally redesigned website. As is often the case when a website you are familiar with changes, some familiar links and resources will now seem challenging to locate.

While the overall reaction to the new Temple Libraries website has been overwhelmingly positive, we have also heard from some library customers who want to know happened to links or features that used to be easy to find. We hope you will take some time to explore the site and discover what’s new and improved.

What about those quick links to resources such as EZBorrow, ILLIAD and frequently used forms? Most of those links have been moved to the bottom of each webpage:

screenshot of quick links from library homepage

A link to “frequently called nubmers and our “staff directory” have also been added to the bottom of each page.



While we have eliminated the familiar search tabs for different types of materials from the new site, on the left side of the homepage there are still options for limiting your search to book and other items such as databases, articles and our collection of research guides.

With fewer options to choose from and streamlined content on every page, navigating the site is improved, but as with any website, you may not immediately know which link to choose. With the enhanced “Search Everything” it is actually now easier to locate just about anything on our website. For example, if you want to locate our page with information for Temple alumni (now under “Visit and Study”) just search the word “alumni” in the “Search Everything” box.

screenshot of search everything

Example of “search everything” results page

The first link at the top of the “website” results list will take you directly to the page with information for alumni and the services available to them.





We get that introducing a new website can be just a tad awkward when what you used to be able to find has now been moved elsewhere. But if you explore the new site and try out “Search Everything” as a discovery tool, we think you’ll prefer it to our old site. And if you can find what you’re looking for, let us know by contacting our Ask-A-Librarian service. Just click on the “Contact Us” link at the top of the page and we’ll respond quickly to let you know where to find it.

Steven Bell
Associate University Librarian

Why Didn’t My Library Search Work When I Have the Author’s First and Last Name?

The new Library Search system may work better for people who don’t know how to search at all or only know how to type into google, but it takes away large amounts of control from someone who does know how to research. It also doesn’t even work the way it is supposed to. I entered an author and your system said you had no books by her. Then I entered the title of a book by her, and you did have it, as well as another book by that same author, which I reached by clicking on the hot link for the author after going to the detailed view. Apparently your system can’t recognize Last Name, First Name in the author search, and is set up purely for people who don’t know how to alphabetize by last name–I had been expected to enter First Name Last Name, though that was nowhere mentioned.

Thank you for sharing your concerns about the Library Search and the issues that you have experienced recently.

In general, the current search should retrieve results for author queries regardless of how you format the name itself (i.e. “Last Name, First Name” vs. “First Name Last Name”). For example, in the advanced search for Author/Creator, you can specify whether you would like to retrieve results with an exact search phrase or all the words contained in the query (regardless of word order or placement). However, glitches do occur with the underlying system occasionally, causing unexpected results like in your case. Sometimes, this is related to errors in the records themselves, but often it is due to technical bugs and other issues with the current search platform, which is provided by a third-party vendor.

In order to address this type of problem and build out new enhancements, the Library Technology Development department is currently working on an updated version of the Library Search, which is scheduled to replace the existing one by July 2018. With this development, we are committed to addressing the feedback and concerns raised by our users, providing features for both novice and advanced researchers.

Please refer to our Library Search Road Map for more information about the work in progress. In the meantime, if you need assistance with the Library Search more generally, you can Ask a Librarian or contact asktulibrary@temple.edu for further help.”

I’m Finding the New Library Search Confusing. Please Help.

I am finding the library’s new search, Library Search, somewhat confusing. For example, when I search for a book and there are multiple locations, why isn’t the information for each location all together in one place? What can you do about this?

Thank you for contacting us about your frustrations with the Library Search. At this time, the staff at Temple University Libraries are still working to address some of the changes caused by our library system migration over the summer.

In some cases, for instance, there may be multiple records of the same work for items at different library locations. We encourage you to report problems with the Library Search to asktulibrary@temple.edu, so that we can do everything that we can to identify and address specific issues/bugs.

If you are unsure if an item is available at your current location, though, here are some tips for filtering by location and availability in order to get most out of the Library Search:

1.  If you are getting too many results after your initial search, you can limit your search by selecting one of the filters in the left-hand column. This includes Availability, which allows you to limit to items available “Online” or “At the Library,” and Library, which allows you to limit to a particular library location.

2.  In the search results, you can see if an item is available online and/or in a physical location. When something is available in more than one library, one of those locations will be highlighted in the search results, but not all. Make sure to open the record page for full details on the locations and statuses of library items.

3.  You can also text a call number from the Library Search to your phone for quick reference. Look for this option in the search results and at the top of record pages. 

If an item is unavailable at your campus, you can request that item from another library. For more information, see the FAQ How do I request an item that is unavailable at my library?

For general information about the Library Search, you can also check out the Library Search FAQs, which includes information about how to find books, articles, and more. If you need further assistance, you can Ask a Librarian or contact asktulibrary@temple.edu

Why Don’t More Catalog Records Have Book Summaries and Table of Contents

I’ll keep this short: It’s incredibly frustrating how many entries in Diamond are missing summaries and even a table of contents. There’s nothing more frustrating than finding an interesting sounding volume in a Diamond search, clicking it to find out more, and being left with some cryptic ISBN numbers and the oh-so alluring “includes bibliographic references.” I really hope this is fixed with the roll-out of the mysterious “Library Search” system.

Thank you for contacting us about your frustrations with the catalog information.

Since you mention having received information about Library Search, you know that the Diamond Catalog will cease to exist on June 29.

I asked our senior cataloging specialist, Carla Davis Cunningham to respond to your question about the added content to a bibliographic record and why the summary and contents are sometimes available and other times, not.

Here is her reply:

Thanks for sharing your observations about the book descriptions in the library catalog.  We’re very interested in knowing what the library’s users value.

When you see records that include summaries and tables of contents, it’s usually because the publisher has provided that information to the Library of Congress.  The Library of Congress shares all of its records for books with other libraries, so we get to enjoy the advantages at no extra cost.  However, not all publishers provide that data and not all records for books come from the Library of Congress.

At our library, it comes down to finding a balance between preparing materials for use quickly and providing the kind of enriched description you are looking for.  Our turnaround time for getting most new materials into the library catalog and available is pretty quick (if we do say so ourselves). To get those rich descriptions in all the records would take considerable added time and/or allocating additional funds to purchase this content (NOTE: There are commercial services, such as Syndetics Solutions, that sell the added content to libraries. Funds spent on these services would reduce the overall funds allocated for book purchases).

The note you mentioned, “Includes bibliographical references” can be taken as an indication that a book is scholarly in nature.  Hopefully the subject headings are of some use, but you are certainly correct that summaries and tables of contents provide much more detail.  I’m with you—I’d love to provide more descriptive information.  But like so many other things, it comes down to the cost.

The move to Library Search will not initially change anything about our descriptive metadata for books.  However, we will bring your concerns to the library administration and explore some possible ways to enrich our catalog with more of the content you’re looking for.​

Thank you again for sharing your concerns with us. As Carla indicates, I will share your message with the appropriate library administrator.

Steven Bell, Associate University Librarian
Temple University Libraries

Frustrated by Missing Books? Here’s What to Do.

I would like to express my disappointment with the library service about borrowing books. I am a first-year doctoral student who needs to write tons of papers, which means, it is important for me to locate and borrow books from the library with high efficiency. However, my experience in borrowing books in this semester has been very unsatisfied. After I locate the books that are supposed to be on-shelf indicated in searching on “Summon,” I usually find some of them missing on the shelves. Then I need to talk to a librarian to request a book from E-Z Borrow. It turns out that many of the books that appear as available on searching on “Summon” are actually missing.

Thanks for sharing your concerns about searching for a book in the stacks only to find that it is not there. I find that pretty frustrating myself when it happens. But let me share what I do when it does. I follow the same procedures available to any member of the Temple University community.

Like you, first I will seek out assistance from a staff member. Look for our student assistants who are wearing red staff vests. They can assist you by checking to make sure the book location information you have is correct and the correct location has been visited. If you don’t see a staff member in the area, visit the Stacks Supervisor office which is room 211 on the second floor of Paley Library.

If the book is not immediately located you should submit a “Missing Book” search form found at: http://library.temple.edu/services/forms/search-request  This will notify our staff to do a more thorough search throughout the library in the next 24-48 hours. You will then receive an email on the status of the search.

This will also help us to identify books that are missing so we can change their status on our online catalog. If books are missing and we don’t hear about it, there’s no way we can search for them or update their status on our system.

If the book is not found after the staff search for it, then you may want to search for and request it using E-Z Borrow. Just to clarify, you do not need a library staff member to request a book from E-Z Borrow for you. It is completely self-service. If you need assistance to learn how to use it, please ask a staff member for instructions.

One last thing, please know that we are currently preparing to move our collections to the new library. Yes, even though it opens in 2018 we still need a substantial amount of lead time to prepare for the move. We are currently identifying all the books that need new barcodes. As a result, many books are waiting to be processed. So something you are searching for may be on a book truck waiting for processing. If you notify us about a missing book, then we can hopefully locate it among those waiting for processing.

Since we don’t like missing books either, we will do everything we can to keep them from going missing. But when they do we are here to help you locate them or obtain them from another library.

Steven Bell, Associate University Librarian
Temple University Libraries