Introducing the Textbooks on Reserve Pilot Program

Textbooks are expensive, we know.

The top two most expensive textbooks at this university cost $446 for an accounting textbook and $396 for an Italian language textbook with the accompanying online access code. Libraries and colleges can work together to reduce the burden of textbook pricing on students. The Catholic University of America University Libraries is leveraging its membership in the Washington Research Library Consortium to examine options. The impact of textbook costs on students was discussed in a University Libraries blog post in April 2019.

One solution to resolving the crisis is expanding textbook access through library reserves.

For Spring 2020, we are introducing a Textbook on Reserve pilot program.  We analyzed courses with highest enrollment and expensive required texts. We limited the pilot to courses that have an enrollment of 50 or more students. Based on the analysis, we have identified 8 courses and purchased 9 textbooks that will be placed on reserve for limited use.

The courses identified for the pilot project are ARPL 102, CLASS 211, ECON 102, SSS 740, ENG 101, MATH 168, ME 342, and TRS 280.

Subject Course Number TTL course enrollment Textbook cost Title Author Instructor (Spr 2020) Required Spr 2020 Yes/No
ARPL 102 64 $60.00 DESIGN DRAWING-W/CD Ching Ohnstad, T y
CLAS 211 116 $106.65 CLASSICAL MYTHOLOGY: IMAGES & INSIGHTS Harris Lao, E; Stanchina D y
ECON 102 61 $250.00 PRINCIPLES OF MICROECONOMICS Mankiw Asguet, E; Nowroozi, B; Kane, K y
SSS 740 59 $150.00 ETHICAL DECISIONS FOR SOCIAL WORK PRACTICE + PRACTICE BEHAVIORS WORKBOOK Dolgoff Zitzmann, B y
SSS 740 $120.00 ETHICS FOR PROFESSIONALS IN A MULTICULTURAL WORLD Cooper Zitzmann, B y
ENG 101 386 $117.35 BEDFORD HANDBOOK + DEVELOPMENTAL EXERCISES FOR THE BEDFORD HANDBOOK, 10TH ED. Hacker y
MATH 168 99 $232.20 FOR ALL PRACTICAL PURPOSES: MATHEMATICAL LITERACY IN TODAY’S WORLD. Comap Semiyari, H; Khurshid S y
ME 342 88 $125.35 FUNDAMENTALS OF MACHINE COMPONENT DESIGN Juvinall Luo, X y
TRS 280 80 $126.65 ANATOMY OF THE SACRED: AN INTRODUCTION TO RELIGION Livingston Porter, J y

 

The textbooks can be checked out from the Mullen Library Circulation Desk for a 2-hour period. Students will need to bring their Cardinal ID card to check out a book. The books cannot leave the library.

We hope this service will save students money, as well as help with student retention and timely completion of degree programs.

Student success and retention have been demonstrably improved through transitioning to affordable textbooks (Winitzky-Stephens, 2017; Hardin, 2018).

In addition to the textbooks on reserve pilot program, the University Libraries have also partnered with the Washington Research Library Consortium to join the Open Textbook Network. The Open Textbook Network is a group of higher education institutions that provide access to openly-licensed textbooks. These open textbooks are written by academics, peer-reviewed, and may be found in the Open Textbook Library collection. The Open Textbook Library currently includes 690 textbooks, with more added all the time. The textbooks may be used or adapted freely to better meet instructional needs.

Open Educational Resources (OER) materials lower the cost and increase access to required texts. The below figure from a Department of Education analysis shows the relative cost and access issues that students face (Akani B, College Textbook Affordability, ED598412, March 15, 2019 [http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED598412.pdf]).

An interactive calculator created by the Open Education Group can show the impact of adopting OER material in lieu of traditional copyrighted texts: https://impact.lumenlearning.com/

If you wish to learn more about the textbook on reserve pilot initiative, please contact Lea Wade, wadel@cua.edu.

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