Engineering Faculty Guide to the Library: Requesting new library materials

Library storage costs

The University Libraries are keeping a very close watch on book purchase expenditures for 2019-20. Our strategy will be to purchase most of the usual kinds of specific requests received from faculty, but to initiate a minimum of "just in case" purchasing initiated by librarians. Also, we are very aware of the costs of storing materials. Below are some figures, and elsewhere on this page, a form to request materials. In addition to the purchase price, there are the following costs and considerations:

 Estimated Annual Storage Costs:

  • $4.26/ volume annually in stacks
  • $1.53/volume annually in high-density storage system [1]

For every 10,000 monographs added (net):

  • 2,000 square feet of space is required; 2007 construction cost/square foot: $300 = $600,000
  • For every 10,000 monographs retained in stacks, lifetime maintenance cost: $1,195,600 [2]

Circulation probability (1979):

  • If a book did not circulate within the first 2 years of ownership, its chances of ever being borrowed were reduced to 25%
  • If a book did not circulate within the first 6 years of ownership, its chances of ever being borrowed were reduced to 2%.[3]

2010: On average for 4-year colleges, 53% of  books published 2006 or earlier never circulate. If a minimum of 2 uses were established as a criterion for a cost-effective acquisitions program, 71% of the titles would not have been purchased.  Book circulations per enrolled student have decreased from an average of 15 in 1997 to 6 in 2007. [4]  


[1] Courant, Paul and Matthew “Buzzy” Nielsen. “On the Cost of Keeping a Book.” CLIR pub 147: The Idea of Order: Transforming Research Collections for 21st Century Scholarship. 2010.

[2] R2 Consulting LLC. 2010.

[3] Kent, Allen. “Use of Library Materials: The University of Pittsburgh Study.” Marcel Dekker Series: Books in Library and Information Science ,Vol. 26. 1979.

[4] R2 Consulting LLC. 2010.

Book request general guidelines

  1. Criteria for purchase:
    • materials should support the course assignments and the research needs of students;
    • materials should be used at least twice in the first 2 years after purchase
    • consider the quality of the scholarship, uniqueness, authoritativeness, or creativity.
  2. Check to see if we own the item.
  3. Use Document Delivery for obtaining items to support your research; encourage students to do the same.
  4. Send emailed requests to librarian Debbie Morrow (  Or, send annotated print catalogs in campus mail to Debbie Morrow, 240 LIB.

Textbook alternatives

There are many alternatives to expensive textbooks. GVSU Libraries' Open Educational Resources guide may be useful.

You may wish to explore this extensive guide on Textbook Alternatives (by Kate Pittsley-Sousa, EMU), for possible openly, freely usable texts.  This guide is most comprehensive, and includes:

Email me with open educational resources you are using!


Subjects: Engineering
Tags: faculty
  • Last Updated: Apr 19, 2024 9:53 AM
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