Textbooks too expensive? Libraries offer relief

After listening to student feedback about the debilitating effect of expensive textbooks, Northwestern University Libraries are offering one way to mitigate that cost.

University and Mudd libraries have placed a growing number of textbooks on “course reserve.” These books can be checked out for a few hours at a time, just long enough to read an essential chapter or so at a time, without the need to buy the whole book.

The Libraries have focused on adding high-cost books — $100 and over — that serve high-enrollment classes. For example, the three highest-priced textbooks newly placed on reserve are:

  • “Finite Mathematics,” $330
  • “General Chemistry,” $300
  • “Investments,” $260

“We recognize there’s a real need to increase the affordability of course materials,” said Beth Clausen, head of Access Services. “Libraries were built to share resources, so we’re in a perfect position to get the most expensive books into the hands of students with budget considerations.”

Using the Advanced Search function in the NUsearch tool on the Libraries site, students can set the “Search Scope” to “Course Reserve” to check for their particular textbooks by title. Course reserves can be picked up from the Circulation desk in University  and Mudd libraries.