Chapter 30 - Reading Lists Policy

  1. Introduction
    1. The Reading List Service is a vital component in enhancing the University of Exeter student experience. Reading lists integrate directly into the VLE and provide ordered and consistent access to a variety of learning materials, including e-books, e-journal articles, multimedia and digitised content. When planning new modules, academic staff and the Library need to work in partnership to ensure the very best learning experience for students. The aim of this policy is to provide a clear structure to enable this collaboration, by detailing the responsibilities and expectations of each party.
  2. Key Principles
    1. The following key principles are vital in order to provide a high level of library support to students:
      a) Reading lists are accurate, clear and consistent.
      b) Instructions to students are clear.
      c) Resources listed are available or can be obtained in time.
      d) Resources are accessible to all and available 24/7.
      e) Lists enable access to a wide range of material in different digital formats.
      f) Compliance with copyright legislation is ensured if reading lists are used.
    2. To achieve these principles, reading lists need to have the following attributes: 
      a) Realistic: so students can complete reading within expected timeframes and sufficient access to resources can be provided.
      b) Prioritised: so the Library knows what is needed and students understand what they are expected to do.
      c) Clear: links to sections of modules so students understand the relevance of the resources listed.
      d) Current: ensuring students are working with the latest information/research in their discipline.
      e) Accurate: including details of correct editions, so the right material is easily located.
      f) Timely: ensuring the Library has time to obtain and make available the required resources.
  3. Responsibilities
    1. All taught programmes are required to adhere to the Reading Lists Policy from the 2020/21 academic year.
    2. The Library’s Reading List Service should be the only source of reading lists.
      All reading lists should be managed and made available using the Library’s reading lists software, which is embedded in the university’s VLE and enables compliance with the principles listed above.
    3. Sufficient budget will be available for reading list materials.
      Library staff will obtain reading list materials utilising Faculty/Department book budgets as needed. Subscription resources will be assessed for relevance, value for money and ease of use: resources meeting the minimum criteria will be obtained if institutional subscription budget limits allow.
    4. Reading list content should be appropriate.
      Content of reading lists should be appropriate for the students they are designed for, including consideration of anticipated use of resources, as well as noting any expectation that students will purchase material. In order to ensure continuing access, all resources on reading lists should be available digitally.
    5. Reading lists should be accessible.
      Whilst the Library recognises that long reading lists may be desirable in some disciplines, in general, reading lists should not be overly long. Expectations of what the Library can supply and how much students are able to read should be realistic. Reading lists should be structured in a way that communicates the relevant importance of items on a list to students. This also enables the Library to prioritise decision-making over acquisition of material.
    6. Module Leads are responsible for the maintenance and currency of reading lists.
      Module leads are responsible for updating the content of reading lists annually (or in advance of commencement when modules do not run annually), or delegating and monitoring this work. Updates should be communicated regularly to the Library’s Reading List Service, so that lists in the VLE are as up to date as possible.
    7. Reading lists should be submitted by the agreed deadlines.
      Reading lists may be updated at any time, however, if resources are required for the start of term, lists should be submitted to the Library by the published deadlines to give the Library sufficient time to arrange the purchase and digitisation of resources. The Library will send out reminders to Departments at regular intervals, at least one month ahead of each deadline, aligning these messages with the structure of the academic year and likely acquisition timescales.
    8. Usage of reading lists will be monitored and evaluated.
      Engagement with reading lists will be regularly monitored and evaluated and the Library will provide access to regular reports to Departments, including detail on staff uptake, student engagement with reading lists, resource availability and student feedback.
  4. Further information
    1. This policy will be reviewed by the Library on an annual basis. Additional information and guidance can be found on the Library’s website: 


Last reviewed August 2023

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