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For Staff

Budgets and ordering

A Libguide dedicated to all things MU Staff, bringing together useful resources, tools and services available to MU Staff in one place.

How does my budget work?

MU Library gives your department a fund that allows you to order books up to that amount in an academic year. This budget is for ordering books and ebooks only. If you want to order journals, you can request these from the library but it comes from a different budget, called subscriptions. Generally, departments order the following types of material:

  • Important works on a subject (canonical works)
  • Material to support research needs
  • Material to support teaching & learning needs - especially the books listed on student reading lists
  • Textbooks; as their significant cost may use up a large proportion of the departmental budget, departments are advised to additionally consider the use of Open Educational Resources (OERs) as a possible solution. Some faculty in MU have discovered OER that are very suitable for adoption for modules, and in some cases, superior to the proprietary textbook.

Library Reps and Heads of Departments are given a password to allow them to order. Some departments give this password to academics, and others centralise the ordering. 

We welcome a broad approach to developing the collection. Students and researchers should have access to interesting, innovative and new material on their subject in MU library, and we are keen to work with you to continue this. If you'd like to discuss your orders with us, please contact us.

When is the end of the budget year?

The book fund for the academic year starts afresh each year at the end of September. If you get your book and ebook orders in by the end of May, these should come out of that academic year's budget, as long as there are no significant delays with the order. The Library Rep can order books at any time during the year. Pile of books

If the order doesn't come out of the present academic year in time before it rolls over to the next year, this is not a major issue - unless the item is exceptionally expensive or your department is significantly overspent. If you've any queries related to this contact Library Acquisitions. 

Want a budget statement?

We send out statements to all academic departments on a bi-monthly basis during the academic year. If you would like an updated budget statement for your department at any stage, just email us and we'll produce one immediately.

Pile of ten euro notes on a surface.

What happens if monies remain unspent in our budget?

If monies in your book budget are unspent, they are not carried forward. The new budget total for your department will commence again at the start of the academic year.

MU Library reviews the book budgets for each department on an annual basis as well as the spending patterns during the year, to ensure you have a budget that suits your needs. If you have any queries about your department's budget, contact Library Acquisitions.

There's a gap in what the Library stocks on our subject

Some departments find that there are gaps in the collection of books or journals. This can naturally happen over time as lecturers often focus on ordering books to support modules. As modules change, the focus of research changes or staff change, this can all lead to gaps occurring in the collection and what's available to you, your fellow researchers and your students in the Library. Read more about Collection Development here.

Have you found a gap in the Library's collection?! Contact the Academic Engagement Librarian with your feedback.

Ordering books

  • Check if MU Library has a copy of the item already, using the LibrarySearch box below:
  • If we don't have it, check the details such as ISBN, format, price & publisher of the publication in BookData online.
  • Open MU Library Book order form.
  • Please try and fill in as many fields* as you can; it helps us get the correct item for you.


I want to order a very expensive book; what should I do?

Check your current balance and if you have sufficient monies in your account, we do not have any issue with the purchase of expensive items. If it would take up a large proportion of your department's budget, then it may be useful for you to check with your Head of Department prior to ordering.

Claiming material published in Ireland under copyright law

Under Copyright Law, Maynooth University Library (MU Library) is entitled to receive one copy of any book published in Ireland. If you have noticed a book published in Ireland that you think MU Library should have a copy of in its collection, please notify us and we will claim it for the collection.

New module in my department; can I order material to support this? 

A new module has been given approval. Has MU Library got the books, eBooks and eJournals to support your students' reading and research? Have a chat with the Academic Engagement Librarian to discuss how we can support your module delivery. 

Ordering - max 10 print copies: I need more than this...

Normally we have a maximum of 10 copies for any print orders. However, we recognise that some modules can comprise very high numbers and so, if you wish to order more than 10 copies, get in touch with Helen Farrell, Academic Engagement Librarian, to arrange this. 

I want to change the loan period on a book

Sometimes you might want to change a book to a shorter loan period (especially popular ones on your reading list), if your students are having a hard time getting the copy or copies on loan from the Library. It's easy to do! Just fill in the details here and we will change the loan-period for the book. The borrowing periods for different categories of students are listed below for your information.

Undergraduates & Higher Diploma

  Standard Loan AV Items Week Loan 2 Day Loan 1 Day Loan
Number 6 3 4 1 1
Duration 3 weeks 3 weeks 1 week 48 hours 24 hours

Postgraduate Diploma & Taught Postgraduates

  Standard Loan AV Items Week Loans 2 Day Loan 1 Day Loan
Number 8 6 4 1 1
Duration 3 weeks 3 weeks 1 week 48 hours 24 hours


Research Postgraduates

  Standard Loan AV Items Week Loans 2 Day Loan 1 Day Loan
Number 20 10 4 1 1
Duration Semester 3 weeks 1 week 48 hours 24 hours

Book ordering 23-24: a step-by-step guide

Finding material on your subject

These websites are a useful source of academic book reviews and ordering information:

  • Book Data Online - good for looking up ISBN's, book details, availability and formats. 

  • British National Bibliography - good for looking up all UK/Irish titles since 1950's, UK library holdings, and details of forthcoming titles too. 

  • Whatever eJournal you use regularly to keep current in your subject area. 

Many of our eJournals and databases provide regular academic book reviews; you can even set up an alert in many of these online sites that will email you when a new book review is added. Email the Academic Engagement Librarian for more information about this service. Because scholarly reviews tend to place the work in the context of current scholarship, they can sometimes take several years to appear after the book was published. I've chosen three major databases below to show you how to find reviews. You can then use this search to set up an email alert for updates. If you use JournalTOCs, the online table of contents alert service, your chosen journals will include book reviews as direct links too. 

  • JStor Use Advanced Search and limit to "Reviews". You can also limit by discipline.
  • Social Science Premium Collection Open Advanced Search. Enter "Book review" AND [your subject area]. 
  • Web of Science Conduct your search for book or author, and then limit to "Book Reviews".

Preparing your reading list

You'll probably be producing a reading list for your module. (See our guide that covers some aspects of Module planning also, as well as supports for using digital primary sources in MU)

The references on your reading list may contain:

  • E-books and journal articles 
  • Scanned chapters and articles from our "Digital on Demand" service (where copyright / licensing allows) 
  • Records on our online library catalogue 
  • Newspaper articles 
  • Primary source materials
  • Websites, blogs, and news sites 
  • Videos and other media (Youtube, for example).  

To ensure your students have access to the material on your reading list, you'll need to:

  • Check that the material you're recommending is available from MU Library, OR is freely available online, and
  • Order them in if they're not.

This is a manual process. You can check your reading list material using the LibrarySearch box below.

Screenshot of saving a permanent link from LibrarySearch.

Once you've found the article, book or ebook from your reading list, click the Permanent Link option (the icon that looks like 2 links in a chain, see above in the screenshot) to get a stable link to the resource that you can add to your reading list (see image above). This link can be added to your Word document, email, or uploaded to Moodle.

If you want to specifically link to an eBook chapter, or an eBook directly, you'll need to use the stable link option (also called a "DOI") within the eBook itself. If you need assistance with that the Academic Engagement Librarian can meet you on MS Teams to quickly show you how to make sure you're linking effectively.

Book vs eBook: How to decide

You can order books and eBooks out of your departmental budget.

There are pros and cons of print versus digital that are worth considering:

  • eBooks typically cost 3-4 times the cost of a print item (but they may be many more times' the cost), but they usually allow multiple concurrent users (this number varies, depending on the resource and can be 3 concurrent users, up to unlimited), so both factors need to be considered. eBooks are available 24-7 to registered students. eBook orders can be expedited faster than print. eBooks/eJournals often have additional accessibility features, as well as virtual bookshelves and easy ways to share the content with your students.

Often, academics order a mix of formats for essential texts, to ensure their students have the best chance of accessing the material. 

When we receive your book order, if you've ordered more than 2 copies of any title, we automatically order an eBook and don't order print - unless you've specified on the order form that you wanted print. However, we understand that not everyone likes eBooks, so you do have the option on the book order form to choose print, if you prefer.

Specify number of Copies & Format in the Notes field in the book order form so that we know your preference for format. Access to ebooks purchased in this way is perpetual. If an order is urgent, you need to specify the urgency of the order (so that we have material in place for you) on the order form - use the "Notes" field, and also to tell us if the item is an essential reading on your booklist. If we have any concerns regarding the price of either an ebook or a print book, we will get back to you. As mentioned above, some ebooks can be very expensive.

You may find the following article interesting as it explores some of the serious challenges in the current eBook market; 

Anderson, Yohanna  and McCauley, Cathal  (2022) How the Covid-19 pandemic accelerated an e-book crisis and the #ebooksos campaign for reform. Insights the UKSG Journal, 35 (13). pp. 1-8. doi:10.1629/uksg.586.

Cathal McCauley is the Librarian in Maynooth University. 

When is the latest I can order a book for the start of a module?

It is best to order before the end of May of the preceding academic year, if you want to have access to the book or ebook in place for a September start. Realistically though, academics do order books during the summer in the hope that they will be available by Semester 1, and although this may be the case, MU Library can't guarantee this. There can be a large disparity of order fulfillment times between publishers. We will do our best to work with you to ensure that you and your students have access to the material needed. Some book orders will take longer than others if coming from the US, or if awaiting a reprint. We'll advise you of any delays along the way, by email.

What happened to my book order?

Have you got a query about your book order? You can contact us at any stage.

If you filled out the book order form and requested that you be notified when it is available, the library will be in touch with you.

You can query the status of your orders at any stage by email.

Seen a promo offer price?

Not all advertised publisher promotions are given to institutional orders.

Occasionally we are contacted by academics who order on foot of a 50% sale, or the offer of X-number of ebooks free with a hardback purchase. While we do our absolute best to avail of these promotions in order to make your budget stretch further, sometimes publishers do not pass on these savings to library orders. This is very frustrating for us all and it is not a restriction from the library side. It is better to calculate the potential cost to your department on the normal RRP information. If you need to ask us about this, you can contact us.

eBook available: why can't the library get it?

Very occasionally we find that publishers will make an ebook version available for purchase on their website but only if purchased by an individual. This is frustrating for everyone. This is not due to any system restriction on our part, but on the part of the publisher to license a copy for institutional use. We will do our best to find material in the format that suits you and your students, but occasionally we are unable to supply a version due to these kinds of restrictions.