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Sussex Library Online Reading Lists Guide

Submission date deadline

Autumn term: 

30 June

Submission date deadline

Spring term:

30 November

Reading List Strategy 2021/22

Library materials for education and students: How to get what you and your students need

This section outlines how the Library will support academic colleagues in moving to a blended learning model. Inevitably this shift will require a change in expectation and approach for all staff involved in delivering and supporting the student experience. We hope that the steps outlined below will enable you to deliver module resources successfully and provide the materials your students need in order to learn effectively, both on and off campus


Best Practice:


  • Supply - All Essential readings should be online, either as Ebooks, articles, digitisations, videos, webpages, or other options.

  • Structure - Weekly or topic sections should be employed on the list where possible, reflecting the teaching content of the module.

  • Size – The number of items should be considered, e.g. 150 max for an online reading list, with the remainder resting on a bibliography for research purposes (as evidenced by lower usage of longer lists).

Read to Succeed: engage with your online reading list and your students will too

  • In a remote learning environment, students require a clear, supportive structure to help them navigate their learning.

Smart money: Re-focus Library expenditure to where it is most required

  • Given the likely pressure on future funding, it is important that library budgets are directed to where they will deliver maximum benefit whilst addressing the complexities of a blended learning offer.

You can view the full policy guidance here. If you have any questions, please contact us on

Purchasing Policy

Purchasing policy

The Library uses the online reading list to purchase resources for students. When we receive your list, we consider the estimated number of students on the module and how important the item is for those taking the module: for example, is it an essential reading to be used over multiple weeks, or is it suggested background reading to be used for a particular essay question?

For us to be able to make the right purchasing decisions, the online system requires you to tag the importance of each item and we have three categories to choose from:

  • Essential Reading - e-resources only, no print items. 
  • Recommended Reading - print and e-resources.
  • Suggested for Student Purchase

Print books are purchased using the following ratios as a guideline:

Type of reading (indicated on reading list) Number of copies purchased Loan status allocated
Essential - no print items will be purchased.



Recommended  1 copy Short Loan
Student purchase 1 copy Reference Only

We don't aim to provide enough resources for each student to have their own copy, so students should be advised that they will need to plan their reading to get the best out of the Library's resources. If they do need a particular text for the duration of a course then they should give serious consideration to purchasing a copy. See the Library Borrowing Information for details about the different loan statuses.

eBooks policy

eBooks purchasing policy

The availability of academic ebooks is increasing all the time. Thousands of titles are now available and the cost is often comparable to print, so we are keen to develop our collection further.

Where possible we will purchase ebooks, particularly for courses with large student numbers and for those in which students have placements. All ebooks are made available via Library Search and can therefore be linked to your Online Reading List. 

The exact ratio of electronic to print copies will vary depending on the type of ebook licence and access model provided by the publisher. For more information about ebook purchasing, please contact

Out of print items

Out of print items

Please be aware that out of print copies in good condition can be difficult to source with resultant delays. If they are Essential or Recommended reading for your course, we will endeavour to obtain at least a single copy of these titles and place the item(s) in the Reference Only Collection. If further copies are required we will need to work with you to find a solution.