Guest post by Gary Brewerton, Middleware & Library Systems Team Manager at Loughborough University
While preparing my talk for the upcoming annual seminar of Dublin Business School Library, I found myself thinking about the benefits that reading lists can bring to an institution.
For a student, reading lists are an invaluable support in their studies. Reading lists can suggest alternative explanations for difficult to understand concepts. They can provide more examples than can be fitted into a lecture and reference additional information sources for both those struggling to understand the subject and those seeking to go beyond the bounds of the taught course, in their aim of getting a first! A well cited reading list can also be a time saver to students when searching for materials. This is especially true for an online reading list which can link through to the student’s local library holdings to easily check for availability.
Oh yeah, they support students. That’s true.
Reading lists are also important for libraries, as they can be used to identify gaps in their collections and make the most effective use of their budgets. Reading lists can help to ascertain when additional copies of particular texts are required and equally as important, indicate when material is no longer required (perhaps by withdrawing it to make room for material in higher demand). Access to reading list also makes it easier for library staff to best advise students on their reading and gain awareness of newer editions of recommended works.
Well yes obviously they support libraries… libraries go without saying. But apart from students and libraries…
Book shops and suppliers! Even with the move to online acquisition and electronic formats they can greatly benefit from the information on reading lists to determine both current and future student demand.
All right… all right… but apart from supporting students, libraries, book shops what have they done for us?
They can help academics. Good reading lists, that support students, mean that less one-to-one time is taken up going over lectures and tutorials and can be more constructively used in directing and motivating them. A well maintained reading list can also keep the library, bookshop, head of department and senior management off your back. They also come in very handy for any course accreditations that occur as they demonstrate a clear partnership between academic and librarian in support of students. And finally a reading list may be an invaluable resource for an academic when they have to take over another academic’s teaching.
What!? Oh … shut up!