More Books – Your Books!

The Library recently packed its shelves with your personal requests for the “More Books – Your Books!” scheme. Which departments placed the most requests? Which books were most popular? Read to find out… by Chris Bradford

For the last few years the library has been quietly running patron driven e-book selection schemes, whereby large collections of e-books from a number of publishers are added to the library catalogue, and then only those that are accessed by students or staff are purchased.

But we wanted to extend this to include both print and e-books, and to more actively involve the student body in requesting new purchases. So, from 23rd January until 9th February this year we piloted the “More Books – Your Books!” campaign to involve our students in developing the library collections to better meet their needs.

Our hope for the campaign was that it would be a proactive response to regular comments that we receive via NSS returns and other surveys about there being insufficient texts in the library. We wanted to enable students to actively participate in addressing their own resource needs, and for us to gain a greater understanding of specific gaps in our collections.

We promoted the scheme to all students, and each requestor received a speedy response and a commitment to purchase the book they needed. We preferred e-book format if available, as these are usually accessible from the library within a week.

Over the course of the scheme we spent £9397.16 on 190 requests.  We enjoyed seeing the sheer variety of books that were ordered.  41 of the requests were for further copies of key texts from reading lists, other requests were to support interdisciplinary interests, or were requests for recently published books or texts to support work on theses.  112 requests came from the undergraduate community and the rest were for post graduates.

We have learned a tremendous amount from the requests we received. The “More Books – Your Books!” scheme has enabled us to help students in their learning and research activity and we have a better understanding of where some of the greatest need for additional book resources lies.

The hottest book with the most requests was Daniel Kahneman’s Thinking fast and slow, closely followed by Andrew L-T Choo’s Evidence

Departments placing the most requests included English and the Business School, the ones placing the least included Theatre Studies, Life Sciences and Maths.

We were delighted with the positive feedback that we received from students using the scheme and, although the campaign has finished for now, we are always very keen to receive book suggestions from our students – just contact your Academic Support Librarian.

We are running a Focus Group with students to analyse how the campaign went and how we might improve it in the future – but, overall we think it was a very positive experience and hope to be running it again soon!