Science - January 26, 2006

Library offers discount on new books

The library will be offering WUR employees a fifty percent discount on the purchase of books. These books will, however, then be registered in the library’s catalogue. The library is hoping in this way to keep track of new books, which are now disappearing into private collections.

Librarian Dr Dick van Zaane estimates that five of the seven new books ordered by the Sciences Groups currently go ‘underground.’ This means that they are not available to the librarian, other employees and students. ‘The books wind up in the bookshelves of the people who order them. With this discount we want to encourage employees to order books through us, so that they can become accessible to everyone. In the end this will save money and it contributes to the common good: the compilation of a comprehensive collection,’ explains Van Zaane.
Based on a random survey, Van Zaane estimates that the institutes and departments collectively spend about 100,000 euros on books purchased outside of the library. That is about two and a half times as much as what is purchased through the library. ‘Sometimes these are dictionaries or reference books that an individual employee uses frequently. Or a specific book is needed quickly for a project and it is therefore simply ordered via the Internet. But this is only true for a small number of the orders.’
Employees who order via the library will now get a discount and the book will be registered in the catalogue. The person who orders it will get it first and can take advantage of an extended or indefinite lending period. In the latter case, the book stays in the employee’s bookcase, but is still part of the library’s collection. ‘If someone wants to take a look at it, he or she can simply pay a visit to the book’s holder,’ says Van Zaane.
This offer pertains only to scholarly books related to the fields of study at Wageningen UR. Van Zaane: ‘Of course we will retain our advisory role and will give feedback on purchasing behaviour.’
The posting of books that are ordered electronically within Wageningen UR will also become free of charge. Up until now, the library charged six euros for this service. This fee will now only be charged for books that the library has to obtain from elsewhere. / GvM

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