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

How About Adding Video Games We Can Borrow?

Does the Temple Media Service have video games rentals? This would be an interesting addition to the media services.

Thanks for your suggestion about adding video games to Media Services – and by the way…Temple Libraries always allows students to freely borrow its materials like books and DVDs. Rental is not our thing.

You may be pleased to know that our Media Services unit already does lend video games and game playing equipment. We currently have a Wii, Wii U, and PS3 available for four-hour in-house checkout and use in the Gaming Den, as well as a small collection of video games available for use with these systems. The Gaming Den is located on the third floor of Paley Library at room 308. Our library catalog lists the games we offer through Media Services for in-library use in the Gaming Den.

As you review the games we offer, do keep in mind that the library’s primary mission is academic support and our collection has been built from titles requested by faculty who use games in their courses, as well as from suggestions from the campus Gaming Guild. For this reason, we treat the collection more like a reserve collection, as students and faculty need access to complete their assignments and hold guild meetings.

If you are interested in using our games and equipment, use the reservation form we provide to reserve the Gaming Den. The key to the Den, plus the consoles and games, can be retrieved at the Media Services Desk.




Make it Easier to Find My Subject Specialist

It’s great to know we have librarians who serve as subject specialists for the different disciplines. Many students and faculty could take advantage of their research expertise. However, it is not easy to find out who these librarians are. Can you make a link to the subject specialists more prominent on your website – even putting it on the home page?

Glad to hear you plan to take advantage of our subject specialists. They are a great resource for the Temple Community. Right now the fastest way to get to the list is to click on the ASK-A-LIBRARIAN link on the home page. It’s on the next page. You can also bookmark the subject specialist page:


Thanks for your suggestion. We will give it some thought and see we might do a better job of publicizing the specialists. You may know we do highlight the specialists on the home page by rotating their photos. If you have other ideas, share it in a comment.