Expensive Textbooks on Reserve Policy

Since spring semester 2015, McCain Library has wanted to help address the issue of many students having difficulty affording the cost of certain required textbooks used at Agnes Scott College. When the Library is able to determine which textbooks fit these scenarios (using searches of the course registration website) or if a faculty member alerts us to the need for a Reserve copy, the Library strives to purchase one copy of the most expensive required textbooks for introductory courses.

Funds for this purpose come from gift donations that cannot support regular library resources. Further, this is NOT a replacement for the expectation that students obtain and read required course materials.  Rather, it can help if they are waiting for a copy of their own to arrive early in the term, or if personal economics makes it necessary to avail themselves of a loaner copy that may be read for short periods of time in the library building.  

The textbooks must meet the following criteria, based upon student feedback:

  • Not all required textbooks will be available. 
  • Required for 100- and 200-level courses in certain subjects such as STEM (Biology, Chemistry, Psychology), Economics, Statistics, and foreign languages, where books may cost $200-300+ each. (Students told us that for upper-level classes in their majors, they’d likely want to keep the textbook after purchasing it themselves, hence the intro-level focus of this program.)
  • Costs over $100 retail.
  • Not readily available as a used book costing less than $100 via Amazon.com, Chegg, or other booksellers.
  • Available in print (the Library cannot purchase textbooks with individual/single-user codes for online workbooks or assessments, for example).
  • For a course likely to be taught again.

The books will be listed in the SOPHIA Catalog as on Reserve for a specific course and semester.

They circulate within McCain Library only, for two hours at a time, also based upon student feedback, to make them available to as many students as possible.

rev. 3/2019