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Funds for Buying Books for Teaching - what's normal?

(9 Posts)
BuyingAcBooks Fri 19-Aug-16 12:58:01

So I am in the very fortunate, lucky, position of having recently started a Lectureship (Humanities) at a new institution. I do have previous teaching experience, but only while I was either doing my PhD or in the not-quite-viva'd period (as this was longer than is usual), so never as a proper member of Faculty before.

What I'm wondering is what's normal in terms of access to funds for buying personal copies of books. At my previous institution, I was informed that there were funds within the department which I could have used to buy books for teaching - but only after the fact, so I never used them, and it wasn't clear whether this was offered because I was a broke student, or something which was available to all members of staff.

I am looking ahead to two terms of teaching now, and aware that my personal library is unusually tiny for someone in my subject, and very focused on my own research area (which the teaching doesn't overlap with) - mostly because of the broke part of my student life. I'd really like to get some copies of some of the key works I'll be referring to during teaching, to make sure that the library copies are free for students, and that I have access to my own copies at home/in my office to refer to and work from. So I am wondering whether people normally have access to funds they can apply for for this, or whether that was likely to be a one-off? I don't want to look ridiculous by asking my new institution for money if it turns out that this is really unlikely - especially as I have a real salary this time, so am maybe being a little tight not to just buy my own from my own funds (although academic books are expensive!)

A little rambling, but basically - do your institutions (or your previous institutions) give you any money for buying books for teaching? Or is this totally unheard of?

Lules Fri 19-Aug-16 13:00:50

You can get inspection copies for books you are going to use for teaching or say you will which the publishers will send you for free. Have a look on their websites.

Dancingupthewall Fri 19-Aug-16 13:26:35

Not at all! I wish ... But I've always bought books since 1st year university it's not spending money is it? I think it's part of developing your own professional library. And that's my money, not the university's.

We order books for the Library, and the preference, if the budget is constrained, is for teaching texts in multiples.

Dancingupthewall Fri 19-Aug-16 15:39:51

Also, if you review mss for publishers, or contribute essays to collections, you can sometimes opt for payment in books from that publisher. I've had hundreds of pounds worth of books this way. I often order them for my postgrads and postdocs this way.

haybott Fri 19-Aug-16 15:50:16

In my department (not humanities) you would either get inspection copies from publishers or pay for books from your own research budgets; there would not usually be departmental funds.

It might be worth noting that if you buy the books from your own money you should be able to claim back tax, as they are a legitimate expense for your work. (Similarly I believe that you can claim back tax for memberships of professional organisations.) Probably not worth the effort, though, unless you spend a lot on books!

Dancingupthewall Fri 19-Aug-16 16:00:17

Oh I always claim the cost of books to a couple of hundred £s per tax year. It's about a third of what I actually spend though.

shovetheholly Fri 19-Aug-16 16:09:30

Some institutions let you use your research allowance fund (budget for conferences etc) for books as well. But obviously that cuts into funds for conferences. smile

Project funds can have a book account built in (if you can remember to do this as part of the 50,000 forms you have to fill in).

I generally just buy my own copies. Amazing what you can get cheap on Amazon/abebooks.

BuyingAcBooks Fri 19-Aug-16 23:44:31

Thanks all, some really helpful information here. I will definitely have to look into inspection copies, and the tax side of things for the future! Sadly the research/project funds aren't really an option for this year, as my role is very teaching-heavy - perhaps next year, though!

hefzi Fri 26-Aug-16 01:24:56

I'm late to the party, but let me know if you manage on the tax side of things- whenever I've tried (I spend c. 1 months net salary on books every year, for teaching) I've been told by HMRC that's it's not an allowable expense "because if it was essential for your job, the university would pay" hmm

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