Libraries' Textbook and Educational Resources Fund is a 2018 Class Gift finalist

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State University Libraries’ Textbook and Educational Resources Fund has been named a finalist for the Penn State 2018 Class Gift campaign. The fund exists to provide textbooks for loan to every student who needs one, or to provide low-cost or free electronic resources where they are needed.

Voting is open through midnight this Friday, Oct. 13, to seniors of the Class of 2018, who can vote online or in person at the HUB-Robeson Center on Penn State's University Park campus.

“We are proud to be the home of a 2018 Senior Class Gift finalist that truly has the potential to benefit all current and future Penn State students, including students studying online, through our Textbook and Educational Resources Fund,” Dean Barbara I. Dewey, dean of University Libraries and Scholarly Communications, said. “Whether we are selected as a beneficiary of the Class of 2018’s generosity is up to their voting selections, of course, but we hope that all students will become more aware of our active efforts to lower their costs of attendance by providing access to required course materials through a variety of efforts.”

The many ways the Libraries provides those materials range from placing physical textbooks on reserve to linking copyright-vetted e-reserves through Canvas to providing physical kits that model structures of various types — anatomical, chemical, geological and more. Other means of providing such access includes educating Penn State faculty about the high quality of open textbooks and encouraging them to adopt use of open textbooks in their courses.

“All of these efforts will be supported through our Textbook and Educational Resources Fund, and we are grateful to every individual who provides gifts of support to help current and future generations of students,” Dewey added.

The idea of a textbook fund was created in 2015, in response to overwhelming student requests for textbooks on reserve primarily at University Park’s first floor Pattee Library Commons Services desk and at University Park branch library locations, several of which also offer required texts on reserve for two-hour checkout periods. Many of the titles on reserve are textbooks for science, engineering and mathematics courses. These are among the most expensive textbooks for college students to purchase.

Anecdotes from library employees noted that students frequently create queues to await the return of a textbook from a student or group of students who had checked out a title for its two-hour loan period.

As a result of this high demand combined with an opportunity to assist even more Penn State students University-wide, the University Libraries’ Development team designated the Textbook and Educational Resources Fund as the recipient of its annual Giving Tuesday campaign.

A permanent endowment, made possible by Giving Tuesday donations, was formally established in 2016. This fund aims to supplement the University Libraries’ budget in this area, addressing a high-priority need for students at all campuses. A conservative estimate by Libraries staff would put the total cost to provide one textbook on reserve for each course offered University-wide, at a minimum of $1 million annually.

All individuals interested in supporting the Textbook and Educational Resources Fund may do so at any time online at giveto.psu.edu/textbookfund.

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Last Updated October 11, 2017