JMU Libraries is working to make textbooks more affordable

Posted on: February 22, 2023

At JMU Libraries, free and equitable access to information is at the core of what we do. Here are four ways we are working to make textbooks and other academic resources more freely available for JMU students:

1. We encourage faculty to reserve texts for their students: Using our Course Reserves program, instructors can reserve items from our collection for use by students enrolled in their courses. By placing a shorter checkout window on these items, instructors make it possible for students to share texts that they would otherwise need to purchase.

2. We help Dukes to get books from other libraries: Almost any item that is not in our collection can be borrowed from another library for free using Interlibrary Loan. While this option cannot replace purchasing a text in many cases because of limits on checkout times, highlighting/marking, and availability of texts that are in high demand, it can meet a need in specific circumstances.

3. We purchase online copies of textbooks: We purchase digital copies of some books required for JMU classes and notify faculty when they are available so that students can access these books for free.

4. Our Open Education Librarian, Liz Thompson, works behind the scenes to help with textbook affordability at JMU by collaborating with faculty and administrators and spreading the word to students about affordable alternatives to expensive textbooks. Read a Q&A with Liz about her work to learn more, or contact Liz if you have ideas for promoting affordable textbooks at JMU.

While students can still expect to purchase textbooks for most of their classes, we are working hard to make academic resources more affordable and accessible for all students at JMU. Check out tips for students who are struggling with the cost of textbooks or visit our website to learn more about how we promote Open Educational Resources at JMU.

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