The extent to which university libraries should provide curricular books for undergraduate readers has long been a matter of debate among both librarians and university teachers in this country. The debate continues. Over the years it has become more diffuse as new elements emerge for consideration and old ones are modified. For example, academic paperbacks were of less account ten years ago than they are now and the social background and habits of students have changed considerably over, say, the last thirty years. But probably the most significant variable of all has been the increasing size and complexity of universities themselves. The aim of these notes is to help clear the way for further discussion by surveying some of the factors involved in the provision of books for undergraduates in the libraries of British universities and the attitudes of librarians and academic staff towards these factors.
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