This semester, in an effort to help students save money, Library and Information Services (LBIS) has made all books assigned for 100- and 200-level classes available on course reserve at the circulation desk in Library B.
The new program arose from talks between Director of Collection Services Chris Hudson and General Manager of the Kenyon Bookstore Angus MacDonell after they attended a conference sponsored by OhioLink last fall on affordability for course materials. It is a joint project between Collection Services, which purchases items for the library, and Access Services, which operates circulation and reserves. The Bookstore provided library staff with the list of courses and required textbooks.
Previously, the books on reserve were dependent on the professors’ requests.
Over 500 books for 104 different courses are currently on reserve.
LBIS bought around 246 of those books, spending about $9,200. Hudson anticipates that this cost will go down over time as most introductory-level classes continue to use the same books.
When collecting the necessary books, the library first referred to other CONSORT libraries and checked for electronic versions. The books that were not available in these ways were then purchased from the Bookstore.
While the program is piloting with lower-level courses, it could expand to include higher-level classes as well.
“If it becomes wildly popular, then I think it’s not out of the realm down the road to try to incorporate more of the upper-level courses — and there are fewer of those, too, so that makes it hopefully more possible,” Hudson said. “It has the potential to be a real cost-saver and a useful service that hopefully everybody will find out about and take advantage of.”
At the end of this semester, LBIS will assess the program, before running it again in the fall semester.
Associate Vice President for LBIS and Library Director Amy Badertscher noted that there is a growing trend in colleges to try to help alleviate textbook costs and is excited to have such a service at Kenyon. “I think it’s just a real attempt on our part to find ways to help students a little more,” she said. “I don’t think it will happen in one semester, but I think it will become an important part of what we do.”
MacDonell said that the Bookstore was happy to help with the project.
“We actually do want students to save money … The hope is that students who may not be able to afford all the books they need will be able to use these books when they need them,” MacDonell said.
“We’re all for student success. I mean, we all work at the College, and the idea is to have students succeed: [to] get the education they need and do it as affordably as they can. We all have that same mission.”