As a general policy, MSU Library does not purchase textbooks for the collection. The Library may acquire textbooks selectively for the collection if they have long-term research, study, or archival value.

What is a textbook?

Textbooks are materials that generally are designed to be used by students for introductory, intermediate and advanced courses of study; include discussion topics, problems and study questions at the end of individual chapters; and may be published in subsequent editions.

MSU Library also uses a third-party bibliographic service, GOBI Library Solutions, to identify materials classified as textbooks.

Why doesn’t MSU Library generally purchase textbooks?

Montana State University Library purchases materials that support the teaching and research mission of Montana State University. We work with our librarians, faculty, researchers, students, and community members to build collections that matter to our patrons. All purchasing decisions are informed by our collection development policy, budget, and physical space constraints.

Textbooks present challenges to library collection development:

  • Textbooks are frequently updated with new editions.
  • Textbooks are designed for one-copy per student, whereas it is generally our policy to maintain a single copy of resources.
  • The Library’s budget and physical space constraints make it impossible to maintain a comprehensive collection of materials required for all courses.

Are there exceptions to this policy?

The Library may acquire textbooks selectively for the collection if they have long-term research, study, or archival value. Sometimes texts required for a course may already be part of the library’s collection because they meet the criteria of the Library’s general collection development policy, not because they are required for specific courses. Examples of textbooks that may be added to our collections include but are not limited to: