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Supporting student success with free access to textbooks

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

The University of Arizona Libraries are always looking for ways to support student success.

For undergraduate, graduate, and professional students, the costs of textbooks can be a real barrier. The University of Arizona Office of Scholarships & Financial Aid advises undergraduates to budget $800 for books and supplies and graduate students to budget $1,200 for 2020-21. Through a longtime partnership with the UA Bookstores, we're working hard to provide free-to-use course materials to students whenever possible. Students and faculty appreciate our efforts to make this happen in hundreds of courses each semester.

Earlier this month when Open Education Librarian Cheryl Cuillier notified instructors across campus that students have free access to library ebooks, their responses included: 

  • "Thanks to the Library for helping to save our students some money."  
  • "This will be very helpful. Thanks!"
  • "This looks great. Nice relief for the students from textbook costs."
  • "Thanks for working on the materials for my courses! Much appreciated!"
  • "This is excellent news! The students have really appreciated this opportunity."

Over the past year, Cheryl and Jeanne Pfander, our Liaison Librarian for the College of Agriculture & Life Sciences and the new College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM), have worked closely with the CVM faculty as they developed their brand-new curriculum for this fall. The University Libraries not only provided free access to ebooks, we helped with additional reference books and articles, as well as instructor training and resources.

As a result, CVM students will have free online access to 38 required textbooks through the UA Libraries across five classes this fall semester. Associate Professor Ryane Englar, director of Veterinary Skills Development and author of several of the textbooks, said, "We really don’t want finances to be a deciding factor between whether the student can have access to what they need or not." 

Thanks to Cheryl, Jeanne, and library employees Elizabeth Kominsky, Abby Bibee, Amanda Escalante, Ellen Dubinsky, and Rich Yu for making a big difference for countless students.

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