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New e-books available at William & Mary libraries

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    Selection expanded  Swem Library has gained access to 4,500 e-books through Virtual Library of Virginia collections.  Photo by Graham Bryant '13
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William & Mary has fifth largest collection of e-books among university libraries in the Southeast

William & Mary’s libraries now offer access to more than 4,500 new e-books from three premier collections available through the Virtual Library of Virginia (VIVA).  The Elsevier and Springer e-book collections cover the fields of science, technology, engineering, mathematics and health (STEM-H).

“Not all e-books are created equal. VIVA has negotiated unlimited simultaneous users for the Springer and Elsevier e-books which makes them ideal as supplemental classroom reading materials,” said Carrie Cooper, W&M’s dean of university libraries. “I encourage faculty to scan the title lists, and take full advantage of the licenses and potential textbook savings for William & Mary students.”

With over one million e-books, William & Mary has the fifth largest e-book collection among university libraries in the southeastern region of the U.S., according to a 2012 survey conducted by the Association of Southeastern Research Libraries.

VIVA, a consortium of nonprofit academic libraries in Virginia, received funds from the Virginia General Assembly for the purchase of the collections. The e-books may be downloaded in their entirety to many popular mobile devices, including tablets and e-book readers, and are available for use in the classroom and may be shared through Interlibrary Loan (at the chapter level).

The addition of these two collections coincides with the launch of VIVA’s demand-driven acquisitions initiative, which will provide access to more than 2,000 e-books from e-book supplier E-Book Library (EBL), with more books being added each week. This initiative will open access to a much larger collection of STEM-H books and materials than could be offered through the purchasing power of any single institution.

Students, faculty and community members will be able to find these e-books using the library-provided search. However, only those books that library users actually select to use will be paid for by VIVA, guaranteeing a return on each dollar spent in the program.

“Patrons will be driving our selections based on the books they browse in our catalog. Our library users will not realize they have made a purchase on our behalf, they'll simply just see a new book,” said Cooper.

The purchased books will be added to the permanent collections of all of the participating VIVA libraries, including William & Mary, and will remain a shared resource in perpetuity.

The availability of these new e-book collections will allow the university’s libraries to cancel print orders for books covered in these collections, reducing duplication of resources and expenses. The library expects to see immediate savings of $15,500 due to the cancellation of an e-books subscription now being supplied through VIVA.

The popularity of e-books is growing. Last year the U.S. e-book market was up 41 percent, as reported by the American Association of Publishers. This rise coincides with an increase in ownership of e-readers and tablets such as the iPad and Kindle. In 2012, more than 30 percent of Americans owned at least one of those devices, according to the Pew Research Center.

“The move toward e-books definitely has an impact on libraries, as patrons turn to us for access to more e-books,” said Natasha McFarland, William & Mary reference librarian. “Meeting the needs of our patrons and adapting to changing reading habits is a priority for us.”