Library bookshelves

Tips for Making Library Purchase Requests

By SUNY Press Date: April 19, 2022

While many university press titles will appeal to individual scholars who want to purchase a book for their personal collections, libraries remain the largest audience for most scholarly books. Libraries are also vital for increasing the discoverability of your book which is why most academic publishers (like SUNY Press) work closely with library aggregators like ProQuest, EBSCO, Project MUSE, and so on.

But how do you, or your students/colleagues/peers at other institutions, request that your local library purchase a book? The specific answer depends on the individual institution, but a good first step is to type the name of your university/college library into a search engine followed by either “suggest purchase request” or “request a purchase.” Chances are that one of the first few links will take you where you need to go.

A few things to keep in mind:

  • Most libraries will ask you to check that this book is not already available in their collection or through their institutional interlibrary loan service. You will often find that there is a copy of the eBook version in the library collection, but not the print version. Many librarians prioritize purchasing print copies of any book published by faculty members, so it’s good for you to make them aware of the book’s availability.
  • Purchasing practices depend on the budget and organization of the library. Some universities have centralized purchasing or a specific acquisitions librarian. Others may break their decisions down by department. Some depend on a department or college liaison or members of a library committee as the main contact with the library. Some have an open-ended form and faculty, staff, or students are entitled to a certain number of requests per year. Some may have a more restrictive process. The only way to know is to check on your library website (or ask) and find out the best way to make a request.

 It may take a few minutes of digging but going through the proper channels will help to ease the process for your librarians while also getting your book on the shelf so other students, faculty and researchers on your campus have access to it.