May 27, 2022

How UMass is Making Textbooks More Affordable, and How Students Can Access Them

From The Massachusetts Daily Collegian:

Aside from purchasing textbooks, a coalition of various members around the UMass community is working to create free education options for students. The W.E.B. DuBois Library also offers a free supply of textbooks available for loan.


The Open Education Initiative works with the library and Provost’s Office to allocate funding to faculty who wish to implement open education resources into their curriculum. OERs are “openly licensed teaching materials such as videos, textbooks, lesson plans, slides, etc. that are able to be freely shared with the world,” Smith said.


Gabe Stetson, coordinator of digital curriculum, reserve and media and co-chair of the Work Group explained the library loaning program, explaining the library loans textbooks  “for a period of three hours at a time on a first come… Book scanners and photocopiers are available on the lower level if students need to make limited excerpts while they have the books… on average, we supply reserve material for over 400 instructors, encompassing over 3000 physical and digital items, per semester.

“Current issues include a lack of awareness about our services.  For instance, some students think we have a copy of every required book on reserve in the library, which we currently don’t. Also, not every instructor is aware of and takes advantage of our services.”

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About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.