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Posted on Jul 6, 2020

Textbooks in the Library Collection

The 23 California State University Libraries share the statement below as articulating the constraints we face in providing service to the students that is our mission.  While the Affordable Learning Solutions initiative promotes the adoption of low or no cost materials, students may still find themselves unable to pay for essential reading.  When instruction is on campus, libraries can provide short-term access to textbook and other resources through course reserves. To replicate this in a virtual environment, major publishers would need to allow libraries to purchase digital versions of textbooks, which they currently do not. The publishers’ failure to do so deprives students who cannot afford a personal digital edition of the resources essential to their pursuit of an education.  We thank our colleagues at the University of Guelph Libraries who shared their challenges and the librarians at Grand Valley State University for their eloquent statement.

Grand Valley State University’s

Statement on Textbooks in the Library Collection

As we approach the fall 2020 semester, library faculty and staff are working hard to provide alternative access to the print course reserves collection. A significant portion of the books on reserve are print copies of required textbooks, and students cannot access them without coming into the library. Library faculty and staff have continuously explored approaches to how we acquire course textbooks, to ensure that students have access, even in a hyflex, distance delivery environment.

This work is complicated by textbook publishers who do not provide electronic purchasing options for libraries. Many existing course textbooks are simply unavailable to any library, regardless of budget, in formats other than print. Textbook publishers have built their profit models around selling e-textbooks directly to students. We also know that the cost of textbooks and other course materials are a barrier for students at every university and essentially sends taxpayer funded student financial aid back to content providers, who further exploit faculty labor and research to monopolize and dominate knowledge production.

This is not a library problem. This is an industry problem that impacts everyone in higher education: students, advocates in support and success roles, faculty and institutional research output, grant funding, and confuses prestige and paywalls with quality in scholarship evaluation.

Despite the library’s commitment to make copies of all required textbooks and course materials available to assist those students who are unable to purchase their own, the following publishers will not allow us to purchase an e-textbook version of their publications:

  • Pearson
  • Cengage
  • McGraw Hill
  • Oxford University Press
  • Most publishers of ‘common reads,’ popular fiction, and popular nonfiction
  • Many health sciences texts

This means that in courses that have adopted textbooks by these publishers, students who do not purchase the textbook will not have any alternative access to the textbook content. These publishers have the resources to support a global reliance on flexible distribution, and choose not to.

We are working with instructors to explore and identify viable textbook alternatives, including:

  • Using an existing e-book in the relevant subject area from the library’s e-book collection or requesting that the library purchase one. Many academic e-books that aren’t considered textbooks, and are therefore available for the library to purchase.
  • Adopting an open educational resource (OER). OERs are freely available educational materials that are openly licensed to allow for re-use and modification by instructors.
  • Creating an online course pack in Blackboard by:
    • Posting individual book chapters or excerpts and scanned copies of the content, subject to copyright limitations.
    • Linking to content from the library’s existing collection of electronic resources (e-books, journal articles, streaming media, and other digital materials).

Efforts will be made to secure online materials that are free from digital rights management restrictions (DRM) in order to ensure unfettered student access. DRM includes limits on the number of users that can access a resource at any one time, as well as limits on copying, printing and downloading.

CSU Library Questions?

Contact your CSU Library Dean

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Posted on Jun 9, 2020

Open letter to our vendors

To our academic library vendors: We — the California State University (CSU) Libraries — hope this letter finds all of the people in your organization in good health and your business minimally affected by the pandemic.

In anticipation of impending renewal and purchase discussions, the CSU Libraries want to be clear that we cannot agree to any materials or services price increases for the foreseeable future.  In fact, we will be asking for a 10% decrease in light of the Governor’s letter regarding CSU’s matching 10% budget cut. This is not a negotiation ploy — it is a recognition of economic realities. We fully expect a double hit to our budgets as the state reduces its financial support and students attend the university in lower numbers than in the past.

As a result, the CSU Council of Library Deans announces that we are unable to continue business as usual. We cannot commit to expenses that we cannot afford this year and next. In fact, we expect that we will be unable to pay any percentage increase in costs for at least the next two years. The CSUs have been long-term customers and we value our partnership. We look forward to conversations where we can discuss open access options and sustainable payment models. During this time, we can no longer accept the slow drip of annual price increases.

The landscape for academic library materials and services is clearly changing at the same time that the bottom has fallen out of our funding. At this dynamic inflection point in our relationship with those who provide our resources we need to develop a new approach to the pricing and marketing of those materials. We look forward to conversations that recognize the need for this shift and acknowledge the diminution of our funding.

Amy M. Kautzman
Dean & Director, University Library Sacramento State
Chair, CSU Council of Library Deans

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Posted on Mar 27, 2020

California State University Libraries Response to COVID-19

The 23 California State University (CSU) Libraries are providing expanded support for our students and faculty as we move to a virtual instruction environment. While some steps are purely local, two critical measures result from a system-wide collaboration:

  1. provision of a rich array of expanded, full-text databases and
  2. an extension of library circulation due dates for library materials (books, media, hardware, and more) and dismissal of library fines for continuing students, faculty, staff, and community users.

Your local CSU Library is engaged in expanded virtual teaching and research support (digitizing collections, equipment lending, online instruction or research help, and more). See the links below for more information from your specific campus library regarding services or how to safely access or return materials.

Expanded Collections

A significant number of publishers have provided all 23 CSU libraries with expanded access to a substantial number of digital textbooks, electronic journals, and e-books during the current pandemic. This centrally-managed work is testament to the power of the CSU library consortium. The CSU Libraries have activated these resources centrally in our Unified Library Management System so that they are available to all of our students and faculty, effective immediately. Please check your library catalog to see what new resources have been added during this time as we work to make these materials discoverable. We do not expect that they will be available past the end of May, but we are glad that these grants of access make it easier for our students and faculty to complete their research during this stressful time. They may not be able to enter the physical building, but the digital library just became much bigger.

The publishers whose expanded resources we have activated include JSTOR, Project MUSE, IEEE, Sage Video, JoVE, Emerald, and others. Do note, that at some point in the future access will be shut off. Our ability to connect to this content is due to vendors stepping up and helping higher education during this challenging time. Details on available titles can be found on your library’s link below.

Expanded due dates / No fines

As we shelter-in-place we do not want our students, faculty, staff, or community users to worry about returning materials to their library. Your safety is our priority; therefore, your local CSU Library will adjust all due dates so that you do not incur any fines.

All CSU Library due dates are extended to August 31, 2020.

If you are graduating this spring or summer, you may need to return your library materials before your paperwork can be finalized. Please contact your local library via email to determine the appropriate way to return items.

COVID-19 Response
CSU Library Informational Sources

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Posted on Mar 9, 2020

CSU / Elsevier ScienceDirect Renewal Supports the Future of Research in California

We are pleased to announce that the California State University has finalized a two-year ScienceDirect contract with Elsevier. In this impactful move, the CSU Libraries have agreed to a Read and Publish-Plus agreement with substantial savings, additional content, and a vision that moves the CSU Libraries and Elsevier towards a new model of academic publishing.

This agreement offers excellent content for a fair price, purposefully equalizes access across all 23 campuses, and sets the stage for the CSU faculty to more fully engage in Open Access publishing in ways that make sense for them and their fields of research.

See UC Statement in support of CSU.


The CSU Libraries and Elsevier have come to an agreement that the renewal costs will increase 1.5% for both 2020 and 2021 — a significant reduction from previous years. The final percentages will be lower in light of a subscription rebalancing reduction. The full contract will soon be available at CALUSOURCE, where all California public higher education systems contracts are accessible by authorized users. Additionally, agreements are subject to public disclosure via the CA Public Records Act.

CONTENT: Increased access & equity of access

The 2020/2021 two-year contract increases access two ways:

  • Access to the Complete Collection and Cell Press Collection, our previous standard holdings and Access to the CSU Access Collection (formerly Gratis List) at no additional cost
  • New access to the Freedom Collection at no additional cost


CSU authors will continue to be able to choose the copyright model they prefer. For authors who wish to go Open Access, all Author Publishing Charges (APCs) will be waived in both 2020 and 2021 for CSU corresponding authors. This option is unlimited and does not impact publishing decisions.


The California State University and the University of California are building a partnership in line with the Master Plan for Higher Education in California that affirms the values of both institutions in providing our communities and taxpayers with unfettered access to our academic output. Combined, we are the largest academic system in the U.S. and possibly the world. In the future and when possible, the priorities of affordable access to information and open access will be approached as a state-wide endeavor and may include partnerships with Statewide California Electronic Library Consortium (SCELC), who represents nearly all private academic institutions in California, and other California institutions as well.

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Posted on Jan 2, 2020

Update on California State Libraries negotiations with Elsevier

See Previous Elsevier FAQs


The CSU Libraries are negotiating terms of renewal with the publisher Elsevier, one of the world’s largest scientific, technical, and medical information publishers. These negotiations have carried forward into 2020.

The CSU contract expired on December 31, 2019. As we continue our negotiations in good faith, we do not expect any change in access. The CSU Libraries understand the importance of this journal package to our researchers and students.

These negotiations are more involved than in previous years because the CSU Libraries, like most of our academic library peers, are looking to negotiate lower-cost and transformative agreements with journal publishers. Our goal is to help make public research more accessible to the taxpayers who make it possible.

As we continue conversations about scholarly publications & creative activities and the many formats these practices can take, we reaffirm that faculty have full ownership over how they choose to publish.

  • At no point will any library contract require an author to agree to an Open Access contract or to pay an Author (or Article) Publishing Charges
  • Libraries support authors’ research and scholarship and will not dictate where an author can publish or in what format.

Should you have any questions, please contact your local University Library Dean

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