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Great expectations?

“Many texts for courses are not available online. The library can never stock enough for all students to use. Those students who can’t afford to buy textbooks lose out”

Arthur Baker (Eureka Finalist 2014)

eureka books

Final Year Economics and Politics Student Arthur Baker had a lot to say about the Library’s approach to e-book provision at the 2014 Eureka! Library Innovation Challenge event. Arthur was one of six finalists at the contest given the opportunity to present a concept or idea designed to enhance the student experience within the library.

His pitch to the judges addressed the very real perception among students that the library does not hold adequate numbers of core texts. Conscious of the costs borne by students purchasing their own textbooks, Arthur was seeking to create a system in which required e-books could be made more easily available to him and his cohort.

Arthur is not alone in feeling that the current system isn’t working. 91% of Manchester students who took part in an independent market research consultation said the library should make all core readings available electronically.

The gap between what students want in terms of e-book provision and what we can legally provide is often significant, yet the fact remains that the frustration of not being able to access core texts – especially when assignments are due for submission – causes considerable problems for our students.

Arthur’s idea was for a dedicated e-book reader room in which devices would allow students to purchase books on demand as and when required. This idea caught the eye of the Eureka judges and our job now is to successfully manage student expectations.

Arthur’s Eureka! idea touches firmly on the fundamental objective of the Books Right Here Right Now Project – to improve the student experience by increasing the supply of electronic core texts provided by the library. Arthur’s pitch challenged us to “make headlines and history by being the first university to deal with this issue”.

Arthur, watch this space!