Course Adopted Texts (CATS) E-book Initiative @ the Library

In an effort to help reduce student spending on textbooks, the library has launched an initiative to cross-reference the faculty course-adopted text lists with multi-user e-books that we either already have in our collections, or that we can purchase. When we find a match, we will notify faculty via email so that they can have the option to share the link to the e-book with their students through Brightspace. We have also embedded a key into our e-book records in LINUS so that faculty can identify candidates for CATS independently.

In Fall 2019, 24% of titles adopted for course use were available as unlimited user e-books through the library. 110 faculty across 28 academic departments were notified about these books, and we hope that these numbers can continue to grow.

Frequently Asked Questions

What constitutes a "match" for a CATS title?
Publishers make e-books available for purchase by libraries with different licenses. We have hundreds of thousands of e-books in our collections with unlimited user licenses, which are ideal for using as course adopted texts. If an unlimited user license version of an e-book that we don't already own is available, we can also purchase it (or upgrade a more limited license) per faculty request.

Can't I assign any e-book that I find in the catalog as a required text?
We encourage faculty to check the CATS key in the library catalog or consult with a librarian before assigning an e-book from the library collection. Not all of our e-books have unlimited user licenses. If a professor assigns a text and a link to the library record for an e-book with a single-user license, this can result in frustration for students who cannot access the book if the maximum number of other patrons are simultaneously using it.

Although we always check to see if we can upgrade to multiple user licenses, publishers do not always make these available. For these titles, we'd encourage using print reserves as a back-up. In some cases, a 3-user license will be more than adequate for your course needs; please discuss specific course-related questions with your library liaison.

Why can't the library find e-versions of any/all of my assigned texts?
The library can only purchase what the publishers make available. Unfortunately, traditional textbook publishers do not typically make e-versions of their works available for institutional licenses. If you are interested in exploring alternative course materials to help save your students money, librarians are happy to collaborate with you.

What if I or my students prefer print?
We fully support the individual preferences of all of our library users - faculty and students alike! The program is not intended to prescribe what faculty assign in class, nor to replace print books; it is designed to maximize accessibility to course materials wherever possible. Note that most of our e-books can be printed at the chapter level, so even if digital devices are discouraged in class, students could still bring printed chapters for discussion.

Why can't I or my students print/download/copy as much as I'd like to?
Ideally, every e-book that the library has would allow for unrestricted downloading, sharing, printing, and reading. But we are limited by the licenses that the publishers make available. Some are more permissive than others, and it varies by title. Here’s a useful guide with information about printing and downloading from e-books.

I have more questions!
Please contact your departmental library liaison, or the CATS project coordinator, Jamie Hazlitt at or 310.338.6010.


  • Request a Book form (indicate "e-book preferred," and you can add more information at the bottom of the form)
  • Scholarly Communication and Open Access at LMU
  • Peer-reviewed collections of open textbooks:
  • Open Education Group (interdisciplinary research group that (1) conducts original, rigorous, empirical research on the impact of OER adoption on a range of educational outcomes and (2) designs and shares methodological and conceptual frameworks for studying the impact of OER adoption.)