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Research Guides

Eastern Washington University Libraries

Faculty FAQ for Purchasing Library Materials

Faculty FAQ for Purchasing Library Materials

Please contact the Collection Services unit of EWU Libraries at with any questions about the information on this page.

Selection of materials is a shared responsibility between librarian liaisons and department faculty.  Librarians coordinate the depth and breadth of the collections assigned to them depending on funding and the needs of undergraduate and graduate programs and research.  Faculty can make purchase requests to the appropriate librarian liaison or to the Collection Maintenance Librarian at any time.

What happened to Library Funds, money allocated from the Library to departments and managed by a faculty liaison?

Due to budget cuts in 2015, the library budget was restructured into library subject funds, managed currently by the Collection Maintenance Librarian in consultation with the Dean of Libraries, Faculty Chair, and librarian liaisons.

Does this mean faculty will not be able to buy any books?

Absolutely not.  Funding may have decreased and workflows restructured, but the library is committed to supporting academic needs of the students and faculty at EWU.  The restructuring makes it easier for faculty to order books:

  • Any faculty member can make a request, not just a faculty liaison
  • Departments no longer have to worry about managing a specific dollar amount, and spending that dollar amount by deadlines
  • Funds previously allocated to departments less interested or not in need of books or DVDs can be utilized to support those areas with greater need

How are materials requested?

Faculty send emails directly to their librarian liaison or by utilizing the EWU Libraries' Suggest a Purchase form.

Who is my librarian liaison?

Click here to find out.

What types of materials can we request?

One-time expenditures only (books, DVDs, CDs, maps, etc.)  For more on video content from EWU Libraries - scroll to the bottom of this page. Both serials (journals, magazines, newspapers) and electronic resources (eBooks, e-journals, databases, etc.) require ongoing financial commitments as well as potential licensing, and as such they must be considered differently from monographic purchases. 

What type of information do I need to provide in my email?

  1. A full item citation (minimum: author, title, and ISBN)
  2. Reason for the request (upcoming course, personal research, core title, library lacks coverage)
  3. “Date needed by” indication
  4. Format preference (print or electronic)
  5. Campus preference where the book will be shelved (JFK or Spokane Academic Library)

1-3 are required; 4-5 are optional, and the default will be print JFK.

Can I send links?

Yes, as long as you also indicate items 2-3 above.

Can I order textbooks to put on reserve for my class?

The library does not purchase textbooks adopted as required texts in EWU courses for primarily cost reasons, but also because of the frequent issuing of new editions by the publishers, the speed with which textbook editions become obsolete and out of print, and the library's desire to encourage open education resources.  Instructors are welcome to put personal/desk copies on reserve.

For more information on available open education resources, from the Open Textbook Library.

Not all books assigned in the normal course listings are considered to be textbooks.  The library purchases non-textbooks in selected disciplines that may be used as texts in some classes.  

What are the deadlines for purchasing materials?

Faculty can make purchase requests at any time; however, because of library workflows and EWU fiscal year funding restrictions, requests received after May 1 may be queued for ordering until the new fiscal year - depending on funding and title availability.

What if I need an important book for the summer?

Request early.  As we approach the close of the fiscal year, ordering may be delayed as we reconcile and close the fiscal year (June).  Titles may need to be held for ordering depending on availability and shipping expectations from our vendors, the closer we get to the end of the fiscal year.

Will everything we request be approved?

Purchase requests must be weighed and prioritized based on many factors.  Licensing restrictions might prohibit the library from being able to place the order.  Some requests could be returned to the requester for reconsideration.  Others may be fulfilled in ways other than a purchase.  The library is committed to supporting the research needs of the students and faculty at EWU while responsibly managing fiscal resources available to us.

As a member of the Orbis Cascade Alliance library consortium, EWU considers the three copy threshold before any purchase is made.

How do we get important journals or databases that we need for our field if we can’t use library funds to purchase them?

Subscription costs for serials and electronic resources have been increasing at higher rates than for other resources, and therefore, requests for new subscriptions must be considered carefully, as these resources could consume a disproportionately higher share of the ongoing collections budget if not monitored. 

Send requests for journals or databases directly to the Collection Services unit, at

I desire more specific information about how purchases are prioritized and made at EWU Libraries.

See our Collection Development Policy.

Looking for DVDs?

DVDs often have licensing and/or cost restrictions that can create use expectations incongruent with our needs as an academic library.  In 2016, EWU Libraries licensed access to Kanopy streaming videos in response to such concerns in acquiring physical DVDs for academic use.  Take a look at Kanopy to see over 26,000 streaming movies, documentaries and indie and foreign films from hundreds of producers including Great Courses, PBS, BBC, the Criterion Collection and thousands of independent filmmakers, now accessible to users at EWU!  Through Kanopy's extensive catalog of titles, we can provide more timely access to a variety of streaming video content (and often times, more economically via Kanopy's licensing model) than in licensing individual DVDs that are sometimes priced more highly, and with limitations on usage.  Kanopy also provides the ability to browse streaming content by subject or search by keyword, in addition to searching by content supplier.