Textbooks will be more widely available in the library for students to check out starting Monday, according to Student Government Association freshman senator Edward Adutwum, who spearheaded the project.
Some of the books can only be used in the library, but some of them will be available for students to check out for a week, similar to the iPad program, Dean of Libraries Mark Roosa said. The books that will be available are from the Social Sciences and Humanities divisions, including Political Science 104, Economics 200, Sociology 200, Psychology 200, and Humanities 111, 212 and 313.
“One of the reasons I started this was to address the needs of my class and the student body,” Adutwum said. “At the freshman town hall last semester one of the issues that came up was textbooks. We couldn’t fix the prices, but we could look into making them more available. We could at least lessen the burden.”
SGA passed the resolution to grant $5,398.48 to the library to buy the textbooks Wednesday, Jan. 29, deemed the “General Education Reserves.” Roosa said it has been a quick process as the discussions started only about two weeks ago.
“I hope the biggest problem is that we have more demand than we can handle and we know the program is a great success,” Roosa said. “If there’s overwhelming demand, we have budgeted to get a few more copies if we need to. We’ll look to get feedback from students as we go forward. But from an operational perspective, I don’t see any issues.”
Roosa said SGA decided what books to get based on factors such as student input, faculty advice, prices and weight.
“We looked into what books will be most likely to continue and most popular,” Adutwum said. “We looked into what we could do to make sure we were helping the students who need it the most.”
Roosa said there have been textbooks on reserve in the library, but there have been hesitations because of the amount of money it takes to buy and update the textbooks as new editions are released. He said GER became a reality because SGA agreed to fund it.
Adutwum said the goals of the project changed throughout the process as they recognized realistic capabilities and resources, but he said he is pleased with the way GER has turned out. “We didn’t give up on the challenge. The prices of text books are high, and even though we couldn’t address it directly, we addressed it by working with the library to help students.”
As for the future, Adutwum said it’s a work in progress, and that it depends on the success and popularity of GER as it is.
Roosa said he could see it growing in a couple ways: by the books being replaced by newer editions as they come out and/or increasing availability so students can take them out of the library.
“I think it’s more fine-tuning. I don’t see it getting too much bigger unless there’s overwhelming demand,” he said. “From the library’s perspective, we’re just providing another service to support academic achievement. Having information available when you need it is key.”
Whether a student can’t afford a textbook or just doesn’t want to carry their textbook to the library, Roosa said he thinks it’s important that they have the information for their classes available to them.
Follow Falon Opsahl on Twitter: @FalonGraphic