The ever-increasing cost of textbooks has forced some students to turn to Malcolm A. Love Library’s largely underutilized Course Reserves, where students have access to free, short-term textbook rentals at the Circulation and Course Reserves desk under the dome.
Course Reserves allows students to check out a selection of textbooks and equipment for four or six hours at a time, with some materials being available for longer. The library also offers course readers, learning aids, CDs, DVDs and some eBooks.
“Textbook affordability has become an obstacle for a lot of students,” Course Reserves Director Adrian Montano said. “Course Reserves is about increasing accessibility.”
The program, which could allow students to save money on their textbooks, is available to all SDSU students. However, the library does not have reserves for every class, textbooks are available on a first-come-first-serve basis and there may only be a few copies of a textbook available per class.
“We have a lot of returning students checking out books,” Montano said. “The reason for the two and four-hour time limits is to make sure other students have access.”
Jenna Bisla, public relations junior and library liaison, said she is currently heading a campaign to bring more attention to Course Reserves.
“It’s never too late to use Course Reserves,” Bisla said. “While the best time is at the beginning of the semester, students can always come to the desk and see what’s available.”
In fall 2018 Montano said there were over 7,000 checkouts.
However, Course Reserves is not a new development. The library has provided the service for several years and continues to grow the collection of textbooks available.
Since 2015, Montano said the library has used Student Success Fee funds to purchase new textbooks and replace damaged copies.
Professors must submit a request for a textbook to be included in Course Reserves. Sociology professor Amy Wong, who has made the textbook for her sociology 101 class available through Course Reserves for the past 20 years, said this process is made very easy.
“I think everybody should have access to information,” Wong said. “By students having to pay for textbooks, we are already ranking, stratifying and making it harder for some people.”
While textbook prices continue to rise, the library continues to expand its collection. Each fall Montano purchases new textbooks and additional copies of textbooks already available.
Textbooks are also added to the collection by students donating ones they have purchased.
These frequently replace worn out or damaged materials.
To find out which course materials are available for check out, visit the Circulation and Course Reserves Desk under the dome, call (619) 594-6793 or visit the Course Reserves website.