Steely Library now offers e-books

Steely Library now offers, for the first time, online access to part of its book collection for Northern Kentucky University students, faculty and staff.

This offer is made possible by the library’s purchase of the rights to a collection of entire electronic volumes through NetLibrary. The purchase is in conjunction with the Greater Cincinnati Library consortium, according to Associate Vice Provost of Library Services Arne Almquist.

Almquist said that the number of titles available has not yet been determined.

“It depends on how many libraries actually end up participating in this,” he said. “I want to say that the number is around 8,000 titles.”

This new collection is a part of an ongoing electronic strategy to supplement the library’s limited collections in order to provide more academic resources.

When the university’s accreditation was last up for review the library was scrutinized. In the October 1997 Self Study Compliance Report on Criteria to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, the collection was said to be “barely adequate” (to support undergraduate programs) and that “Steely Library resources are barely adequate, at best, for graduate programs.”

“Historically, we have been under funded in terms of collections,” Almquist said.

He said there have been great improvements but “we’ve got a ways to go. We’ve got to build the breadth and depth of the library’s collections.”

He said the library must supplement its current collection in order to adequately support the university’s undergraduate and graduate programs. He said the university has been supportive of the library’s efforts so far.

One area the library seeks to improve is its academic journal collection. Almquist said that academic journals are a vital part of the collections because they represent current knowledge, but keeping the collection up to date is expensive. The cost of academic journals increases at around nine per cent each year, and purchasing the journals consumes nearly nine-tenths of the library’s materials budget.

Electronic resources can help to alleviate the cost while still providing a current journal collection. The library has purchased access to entire electronic archives of the full print runs of several journals through J-Store and other electronic brokers. They are integrated into the library’s cataloguing system. It has also established an electronic document delivery system allowing access to more obscure journals upon request.

Other electronic supplements include the electronic reserve system, for professors to reserve materials for their students and classes; the reference chat service, where patrons can have an in-depth virtual research conversation with a librarian; the online databases, that offer online journal and index access; and the proxy server that makes all these accessible to NKU campus community members on any computer off campus.

Students hope to benefit from the electronic additions to Steely Library.

“I use the library a lot,” said Jason Rodriguez, senior, sociology. “For all of my outside resources for papers, I get hard copies from the library. I would definitely use that.”

Applied Cultural Studies Senior Bridgette DeLong said she would use the online book service “for research”. She said she thought it would be more accessible and convenient for her. She said she already “use(s) the (library’s) databases online for class.”

“It’s easier if you have access from your house, especially for me,” said Humaira Azam, sophomore, economics. “I only come to school two days a week for classes.”

Students, faculty and staff can reserve an e-book through the Netlibrary site ( for up to four hours at a time from any computer with Internet access – on or off campus. The books must be viewed online and cannot be downloaded, but they can be renewed just like any other library book.