Thursday, January 17th, 2019

New project seeks to ease burden ofn buying books.

Krysteana Scribner | The Free Press

Posted on November 12, 2016 in News
By USM Free Press

By Pierce and Nick Beauchesne

Students scramble each year to get ready for the beginning of the fall semester. One of the more stressful aspects of getting prepared to take on the new course load is the process of securing books, often times at a price that breaks the bank. Through a new program offered this year at USM, though, all textbooks from coreany 100- level courses will be available to students free of charge.

This program, the Textbooks on Reserve Project, is part of a partnership between the USM Student Government, Student Body President Muhammad Khan, and the USM’s campus lLibraries. One textbook from each 100 level course will be accessible at the library on the campus where the course is primarily most often offered. If, for instance, the particular 100- level course you are enrolled in is offered primarily on the Portland campus, the textbook for that course will be housed in the Glickman Llibrary on the first floor.

Students should be aware that there is not an unlimited supply of textbooks for students to take for free and forever for any 100- level course that they are enrolled in. Rather, one copy of each text for each class will be housed at one of the three USM libraries on the (Gorham, Lewiston and, Portland campuses).

Each textbook housed at its respective library is available to be reserved and used at the library for two hours at a time. Along with these in-house copies, if the textbook is one that is available in e-book format, it will be accessible as such.

Though thisis program is meant to support those students who are in dire financial straits, though highly beneficial to the student body,it is not intended to entirely supplement eliminate the potential necessity the cost of of purchasing textbooks for all 100- level courses. With there being just one hard copy for each courselisting, students will still be required to purchase their own copy material if they intend to have it for personal use outside of their library’s hours itself.

USM Pprovost Jeannine Uzzi sums up the purpose and limits of the project, highlighting what the program offers and what it does not.

“Keep in mind that we are providing one copy of each book, so it’s not designed to replace the 100 level textbook purchases, but to at least provide a copy for first come, first served use,” Uzzi said.

Despite the limitations of the project in terms of physical textbook availability, the Textbooks on Reserve Project is a significant olive branch offered by the uUniversity to alleviate the burden of purchasing all textbooks, but only if students take advantage of the opportunity.

Student Bbody Ppresident Muhammad Khan, sees this program as a push in the right direction towards in terms of his vision to have textbook prices greatly reduced and eventually eliminated.

“I think, when people look back, they will see this as the first concrete step toward the overall goal,” Khan said. “It is good to dream big, but it is also good to start with a small, practical step. Obviously twelve thousand dollars (the program cost) was not just a small step, and we got it done.”

Aside from the relief provided by the the program to the students body, it is also an impressive example of the student body, the administration and the university library system working together.

David Nutty, dDirector of Libraries and and Continuing Education at USM, sees potential in the project.

“My hope is that the textbooks on reserve are well used and the feedback is positive,” Nutty said. “We are asking students who use the books to do a very short survey for feedback. If the project is successful, Huzma and I will ask the President and Provost for additional financial support to extend the initiative to more courses.”

If students take advantage of the program at the onset, there will be more incentive for the program to be renewed and expanded in the future. Though the days of paying zero dollars for textbooks is still far off in the future, this program is a step forward in that direction.


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