Lending Library Increases Textbook Accessibility

by Gillian Sampson

4 mins read
person holding a book on wooden shelf
Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

As a first-generation college student, political science major and Student Government Senator-at-Large, Gabriella Ramirez (‘23) was shocked by the number of additional costs that came along with receiving a college education. Meal plans, parking passes and textbooks are not included in tuition. Given the importance of each, such additional expenses can impose a financial burden on students and their families. Ramirez wanted to see a change for future students. Almost every class needs textbooks to complete the work, and they can cost hundreds of dollars. Ramirez believes that she found a solution: the Textbook Lending Library. 

Housed in the University Library, this resource is available for need-based students depending on their financial needs. Started back in Fall 2020 and going on its fourth semester, the Lending Library has received external funding through grants and books through textbook donation drives. Donated textbooks from the Drew community range across various disciplines and a student can borrow a textbook for one semester at a time. This resource allows students to learn on an even playing field no matter their financial backgrounds or needs. 

When asked about her goals for the project, Ramirez said, “Without access to the needed textbooks, students will not be able to perform to their best ability in the classroom; this ultimately can influence their grades, which can have a long term impact on their post-undergraduate opportunities.” The effects on a student’s mental health should also not be ignored—something Ramirez addressed while bringing up that “stigma against urban students and telling them they are not smart enough to be successful is what deters students from being able to pursue their passions.” She hopes that “the Lending Library not only teaches students about the importance of civic engagement and community support, but teaches faculty, staff and administrators how to use their networks and privileges to do the same.” 

person holding a book on wooden shelf
Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

Students can check for available textbooks by going to the University Library’s website and typing “Textbook Lending Library” in the search bar. They will then be directed to the resources page where a link to a current list of books is located. They can place a request and wait for a notification from the library staff that they are eligible and the book is ready to be picked up. 

Professors should share this resource with their students—both those who could benefit from it and those who could donate—and consider donating desk copies of required texts. Students can help by donating their used books to the Lending Library. To do so, students and faculty can either drop off books in the book drop box outside the library with the name of the class and the professor for which it is being donated or mail the books to the library. 

For more information or questions about the Lending Library, students can email library@drew.edu or refer to the library circulation desk. 

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