Answered By: John DeLooper
Last Updated: Dec 16, 2022     Views: 16

eBook Guidelines for Classroom Use

Leonard Lief Library faculty encourage active input from campus faculty to address identifying alternate or
low-no cost online textbooks and resources to facilitate student access to required course materials.

Use of Library-purchased eBooks for classroom use has proven highly successful in providing access to
textbooks for students at point-of-need: whether they don’t possess the textbook or never purchased it due
to affordability. CUNY students face daily challenges accessing textbooks, even before the pandemic. CUNY
faculty research the myriad benefits of OER and ZTC materials in their courses.

To assist faculty requesting and using existing Library eBook titles for purchase, we have established the
following Guidelines to facilitate use of these texts in a course setting, whether as required or suggested

  • Current volumes of popular textbooks or potential best sellers are often available to the Library for purchase only as eBooks in one-user access models. This means ONE person can read the title online at a time, with no options for downloading, copying, or printing the whole or portions of the text. Since these texts are so restrictive, these are not recommended for use as required readings. For suggested reading, they can possibly be included as long as there are other similar titles for students to choose from. Students should also be informed about the title’s restrictions.
  • To determine whether an existing Library eBook is a one-user access model, search for the title in the Library’s OneSearch. Once on the vendor platform, look under Concurrent User Level or Availability. Here is an example from EBSCOhost and another from ProQuest.
  • eBooks available as three-user licenses can be used as required course materials, but should be communicated to students as being limited in terms of only three users at a time being able to read, download, copy, or print the eBook. When using these titles, downloading the full text should be discouraged since it detracts from the three-user license, leaving only two for others. Students should be instructed to download multiple chapters at a time and be attentive to signing out from their session to free up the eBook for their classmates’ use.
  • Library subscription eBook collections occasionally lose access to titles if the vendor cannot reach an agreement with a specific publisher. If a title you select for classroom use is no longer available, please contact your Library Liaison to determine whether funds are available to purchase access through another method.

Library faculty partner with instructors to investigate and identify viable textbook alternatives:

  • Adopting an existing eBook in the relevant subject area from the Library’s eBook collection or requesting that we purchase one. However, many academic eBooks aren’t considered textbooks, and therefore not available for purchase.
  • Teaching with an Open Educational Resource (OER). OERs are freely available educational materials openly licensed to allow for reuse and modification by instructors.
  • Creating an Online Reserve Packet by:
    • posting individual book chapters or excerpts and scanned copies of content, subject to copyright limitations
    • linking to content from the Library’s existing collection of electronic resources (eBooks, journal articles, streaming media, and other digital materials)

Library faculty are available to assist discipline faculty in locating alternatives to required textbooks,
including eBooks in our collection and OER: