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Contemporary Library

FAP-Books releases funds for the purchase of 130 thousand titles

The higher education institutions and research institutes of the state of São Paulo have received in the last few weeks a formidable injection of information in book form. At least 130 thousand items – the overwhelming majority made up of printed material, but also e-books, microfilms and CDs – are at the acquisition stage. All the material will now be part of the collections for the libraries that have had their requests appreciated and approved by FAP-Books, a FAPESP program that periodically finances the purchase of scientific and technological books.

This is the fifth version of the program, which has received an investment of R$ 27 million. “R$ 20 million was originally forecast, but we decided to increase the amount because of the demand and of the quality of the requests”, says FAPESP’s scientific director, Carlos Henrique de Brito Cruz. 161 applications were approved, out of the 172 received. FAP-Books supports the purchase of works on scientific and technological research to update the collections.

For the first time, books in electronic format, the e-books, have also been included. The Cruesp/Libraries Consortium, which brings together the three library systems of the São Paulo State universities, integrates 92 libraries that serve over 230 thousand students, and was responsible for the indication of the titles of the electronic works. “The approval for purchasing e-books was very important for placing at the disposal of Cruesp’s community the same set of information, with the advantage of transcending the libraries’ physical and geographical barriers”, explains Adriana Cybele Ferrari, one of the three managers of the consortium and a director of the Integrated Library System (SIBi) of the University of São Paulo (USP). “All the libraries of the three state universities will benefit from the virtual books, in their majority foreign titles”, she says. “This project complements the individual requests made by the libraries.”

One of the matching actions required by FAPESP is to guarantee the maintenance of the access to the e-books or to the publications in other media, with the institution’s own resources, for five years, at the least. According to Adriana, the requirement is a guarantee of the continuity of access to these collections and meant that the projects were well dimensioned.

Microfilms and CDs
Of the 130 thousand titles approved by the program, the largest part, about 30 thousand, went to the library of the Philosophy and Human Sciences Institute (IFCH) of the State University of Campinas (Unicamp). Almost all the books will come from abroad. “There are fantastic things in Europe and in the United States, and to manage to buy them for our library means a great advance”, says Michael Mcdonald Hall, the coordinator of Unicamp’s Library Commission and a history professor.

Besides the books, microfilms and CDs will be purchased. “There are minutes of meetings, material published in the press and historical documents that did not become books, but they are on microfilm and will be important for the researchers’ work”, says Clarinda Rodrigues Lucas, a librarian and former director of the IFCH’s library. “England, for example, has excellent documentation on the slave traffic.” The history of Africa was one of the themes of interest indicated by the researchers from the institute, as well as books and CDs on the history of art.

The Florestan Fernandes Library of USP’s College of Philosophy, Literature and Human Sciences (FFLCH) had the purchase of about 20 thousand books approved. The former director of the college and current pro-rector for Culture and University Extension, Sedi Hirano, celebrates the updating of the library, which now has a collection of 500 thousand volumes about philosophy, social sciences, literature, history and geography. Although FAP-Books is aimed at collections bought especially for research and used more by the postgraduate personnel, he stresses that the benefit will reach all the faculty and pupils of the FFLCH. “The knowledge that the postgraduate course professor accumulates is passed on to the student, it is not restricted to the researcher”, says Hirano. “The new books will make the library more contemporary.”

As occurs with the Cruesp/Libraries Consortium and with the IFCH, almost all the material bought by the FFLCH comes from abroad. “We gather the suggestions from the professors, and we believe that we have managed to include most of them”, says Márcia de Grandi, the director of the Florestan Fernandes. The library received an average of 2.5 thousand queries a day last year. USP’s largest unit, the FFLCH, has 10 thousand undergraduate students, about 2.5 thousand postgraduate students, and 4 thousand in university extension, and may close 2006 with 440 faculty. “With so many people, it is natural for the volume to be large.”

One of the advantages of FAP-Books that is much appreciated by the managers of the libraries is the cutting of red tape factor. “The researcher sometimes gets very anguished because he needs a given book, and the delay in the purchase process ends up jeopardizing the work”, says Adriana Ferrari, from the SIBi/USP. It also happens that the tender process comes to an end, but the work is not delivered by the supplier for being out of stock. Or the tender process simply fails. “With the funds released by FAPESP’s program, the acquisitions are made immediately. We gain twice: by updating the collection and in agility.”