Textbooks and Reserves

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  • OK folks, here is an other issue we are considering.

    We have a department that has purchased a classroom set of textbooks for their students to use. They want to put this classroom set on reserves for their students to check out. I have researched extensively as to other institutional policies, and I cannot find anything that specifically addresses the issue of textbooks that have been purchased by the institution (not the library). I have talked with textbook vendors and they are saying that the issue is purchase of the book, so whether the department purchases the book or the student purchases the book doesn't matter. In essence, the book HAS been purchased. I can see the logic of this, but what does not make sense to me is having these classroom sets on reserve for an extended time (i.e. several years). But, I still come back to the argument of the fact that the books HAVE been purchased.

    Has anyone else come across this little sticky area? What is your policy and why?
  • If these aren't copies- that is, they're separately purchased books- then this shouldn't be a problem copyright-wise. Generally, it doesn't matter how the library gets them if they're legitimately acquired books. That is, whether the library bought them, whether the library received them as gifts, whether someone bought them for the library, and or so on, wouldn't matter. This would probably fall under the doctrine of first sale (assuming U.S. law). The copyright owner no longer controls actions related to that original copy past the initial sale.

    If these are copies (that is, photocopies or otherwise reproduced) rather than original purchased books, then you need to look deeper. If they're the originally purchased books, then I think you're fine putting them on reserve. Putting them on reserve isn't terribly different from having them available at the library.
  • Many K-12 schools work this way now to keep students from taking books home--they have a classroom set of purchased books and students all use them.

    I agree with COvalle-I see no problem with this.
  • It has been awhile since anybody posted anything on this thread and I was wondering if anything has change in regard to putting textbooks on reserve since 2005. We put textbooks on reserve that we purchase and I believe that the 'First Sale' doctrine covers this. However, what about desk copies donate by faculty or desk copies that we requested from publishers? Thanks in advance for your help.
  • We have Textbooks On Reserve here at University of Oklahoma. We have no problem using "first sale" as a justification for doing it, but it helps that 1) we purchase them through the bookstore, and 2) the money comes from a presidential fund set up to address a state directive that universities find a way to help keep textbooks affordable.

    We DO NOT put workbooks and other consumables on reserve, though. Just the textbooks and accompanying AV materials.

    Desk copies, if donated, are counted as gifts added to the collection and thus subject to "first sale." If the faculty member wants to retain ownership, we treat them the way we do other personal copies on reserve.
  • Just one additional point about the use of desk copies by libraries, as posed by Sean above: some publishers have set in place explicit policies that prevent donation of these books to the Library.

    As an example:

    Wiley Evaluation Copy Policy (excerpted from http://www.wiley.com/WileyCDA/Section/id-301906.html)

    "Evaluation copies are provided to qualified academics and professionals for review purposes only, or for use in their courses during the next academic year. These copies are licensed and may not be sold or transferred to a third party. Upon completion of the review period, please return the evaluation copy to Wiley. Return instructions and a free of charge return mailing label are available at www.wiley.com/go/returnlabel."


    My understanding from this policy is that if a library has any reason to believe that a donated desk or examination copy was not "legal" then Section 109 of the Copyright Act would not apply. Additionally, the faculty member who donated the book would be in violation of the license with the publisher -- a breach of contract law.

    Would be interested in other interpretations of publisher's policies such as these...

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