Archive for October 2009

16th Annual Children’s Book Drive   Leave a comment

Give a child the gift of reading!
16th Annual Children’s Book Drive


For the month of October, Harper College Library is collecting new and gently used children’s books that will be donated to the District 214 Community Education Program and the Elk Grove Village Township.  You can help give a child the gift of reading by bringing donations into the Harper College Library, or by putting them in donation boxes we have in L building – Liberal Arts Division Office, X building – Health Careers Division Office, F building – Academic Enrichment and Language Studies Division Office, M building – Wellness and Human Performance Division Office, and W building in the employee lunchroom.

Help us reach our goal of donating 1,600 books for the 16th anniversary of the Children’s Book Drive.

Posted October 23, 2009 by Michele Ukleja in Library events, news

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Textbooks in the Library?   Leave a comment

Textbooks in the Library

For the first three weeks of every semester the most frequently asked question in the library is “do you have the textbook for my class?”  Unfortunately the answer is probably no.  Typically libraries do not purchase textbooks for a variety of reasons

  • The library’s role is to buy materials that supplement and expand materials presented in the textbooks.
  • There would be no way to purchase the multiple copies of a text book that would be required on a campus this size.
  • Too many editions; on average a new edition of a textbook is produced every three years.  It would be extremely difficult to be purchasing all these new editions.
  • MONEY!  The average cost of a textbook is $57-$61, students pay close to $900 for textbooks in a year.  If we do some admittedly simplistic math we see that there are 793 courses taught this semester at Harper, at $60 per book that would be $47580 (This figure is only for this semester and doesn’t account for different sections of the same course using a different textbook).  This figure is 21 percent of the entire book budget.

Issues surrounding the cost of textbooks are a big concern on every college campus.  Textbook prices are rising at four times the rate of inflation.  New editions are published rapidly, which harms the used textbook market.  The same problems that plague students are multiplied many times for libraries.

If you are having trouble getting a textbook from the bookstore or you want to try and save some money, there are a few things that you can try.  The first is to check the Library Catalog.  We do have a few textbooks and sometimes you can get lucky.  We also have access to books and other materials from libraries across the state and nation.  It is possible to borrow a textbook from another library using the I-Share catalog or interlibrary loan service.  Be aware, however, that this is not a sure thing.  If the book is available it may take anywhere from 3-14 days to get it and you will not be able to keep it the entire semester.   Ask your teacher to put a copy of your textbook on reserve in the library.  Many times an instructor will have a copy of a textbook which can be put on reserve.  Usually the book would be available for in-library use only, to make sure that the most people have access to it.  Unfortunately there will be many times when you have no option but to purchase the book.   You may wish to checkout online booksellers like or, which has a textbook section on their website, also, has a textbook section.

The future of textbooks looks a little brighter for example, downloadable E-textbooks which could be purchased in smaller units, like chapters.   Classes could also be taught using open source materials freely available on the Internet.  Some courses now are taught using a “coursepack”, a collection of materials distributed in class rather than using a textbook.  Some schools have also developed textbook leasing programs. For now though, issues surrounding textbooks continue to be a big problem for students and the library.

Posted October 14, 2009 by Michele Ukleja in library, Library resources

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