Library moans

August 20, 1999

With regard to the overview of (among other things) student attitudes to college library facilities ("College libraries brought to book", THES, August 6), do we really need such a survey to discover that Trinity as "a well-off college, has a lot of stock"? What we do need is more studies of the growing crisis facing many courses regarding the availability of books for students.

At times it appears that some students no longer "read" for a degree, but rather rely on lecture notes and the internet to obtain one. One possible solution is to create a system of regional inter-library loans that would allow participating institutions to share their facilities and combine their purchasing power without the intervention of the British Library system.

It also seems that universities do not flex their muscles with publishers on such matters. Now that there is supposedly a free market in book prices, why are major textbooks still sold at the full price to students?

The coming electronically distributed book and article revolution will play a central role in ending some of these problems (in those institutions that invest in the facilities), but until then problems are likely to remain acute if no extra action is taken.

David Baker Reader in British politics Department of politics and economics Nottingham Trent University

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