The Library Department has started preparing for a fully online fall. One of the challenges we've encountered is that many faculty members assign print books for classes and, as a result, students rely on physical Library access to use these books. Although not every textbook can be purchased electronically, and many publishers make it difficult for libraries to get electronic access (the issue is explained very well here and in more detail below), the Library would like to avoid the tumult of the past semester by working with faculty, now, to find digital alternatives to print textbooks.
As we look ahead to the fall, we want to make sure students and faculty have access to acceptable digital versions of their textbooks for the fall.
You have a few options for locating digital versions of print books for your class:
1. Search the LaGuardia Library
The library already offers thousands of books as eBooks. You can find them using OneSearch. This image shows you what filter options to choose to search for eBooks.
2. Search Local Public Libraries
Since our area public libraries are limiting their hours, many are making additional content available electronically.
3. Open Education Resources
There is lots of information about OER online. Perhaps too much! We recommend starting with these three collections of cost-free, digitally accessible textbooks:
Many faculty have started assigning an OER textbook as a backup book for students who cannot access the assigned commerical text. If you want more information, visit our scholarly communication guide.
4. Ask us to help you find your book!
Email: email@example.com or contact your Library Liaison
The pandemic has changed the nature of Fair Use. You might be able to digitize a work yourself for your students. The CUNY Office of Library Services Copyright Committee has a useful COVID-19 and Fair Use guide here. The Graduate Center has a helpful guide to making PDFs with your phone.
With the move to remote teaching and research in the COVID-19 pandemic, copyright specialists revised fair use considerations summarized in a Statement on Fair Use & Emergency Remote Teaching & Research and discussed in an April 2020 Association of Southeastern Research Libraries webinar.
CUNY library resources provide readily available online course content. Link to library-licensed articles, books, chapters, and recordings rather than upload them to a course platform. Some vendors have extended access to their products in response to the pandemic. This access will be short-lived, not durable. Contact librarians to help locate content that is available library subscriptions, or published openly.
If a licensed version of a work is not available to link to, conduct a fair use analysis to determine the suitability of providing a copy. Sharing reproductions of in-copyright works -- scanned texts or copied digital files -- requires consideration similarly applicable to distributing copies in-person.
It falls within fair use guidelines to share portions of works with students, for non-commercial, educational purposes.
Copy only as much as is needed for the pedagogical purpose.
It is less likely to be considered an infringement to reproduce parts of works, not entire works.
In unusual circumstances, or when works are otherwise unavailable, it may be considered fair use to copy lengthier portions of a work.
Limit access (using password protection) to enrolled students, only for as long as it is required by the course.
Adapted from “Rapidly shifting your course from in-person to online” by Nancy Sims, University of Minnesota Libraries, and licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License.