Being a relatively new librarian and the head of both technical services and collection development at a medium-sized state liberal arts college has provided me with a unique perspective about eBook adoption. The University of Montevallo (UM), like most libraries, has seen dramatic budget cuts over the past several years. These cuts have wreaked havoc on the monograph expenditures, for a couple of years the budget was cut in half. Because of the uncertainty of looming cuts and the many eBook models based on subscription pricing, UM has been very cautious in adopting eBooks. With only a few subject-specific collections paid for by the state consortia NAAL (Alabama Network of Academic Libraries) and one dated academic collection, the time has come to reexamine these reservations.
An examination of relevant literature reveals that eBook usage in academic libraries has been varied. I plan to add to this body of research in the early Fall 2013 semester with a campus wide survey to reveal the interest and perceptions of eBooks, their current and potential use on campus, and the subjects desired by the students, faculty, and staff at the University.
Additionally, there will be a number of questions related to eBook readers and tablet interest among UM’s patrons. At the time of the Charleston Conference, I will have completed a literature review, the survey results will be available, and I will have had time to analyze the data. The survey data will inform librarians at institutions of a similar size or mission to UM or any institutions that have been hesitant to adopt eBooks. This examination will also bolster the existing research on eBooks for individuals working in collection development, technical services, eBook sales, emerging technologies, as well as library and university administration.