By Lauren Lavelle
For underclassmen struggling with the soaring costs of textbooks, Rider now has an efficient, money-saving solution that has recently gained more followers.
Established in fall 2015 by President Gregory Dell’Omo, the Textbook Reserve Program provides students with free 100- and 200-level textbooks from the Moore and Talbott libraries on the Lawrenceville and Princeton campuses.
“Affordability issues block many students’ abilities to stay in college, so they are always looking for ways to make their college education less expensive,” said Robert Lackie, librarian and department chairperson at Moore Library. “This program is a small, but important, innovative effort on the part of Rider University to further assist some of our students to manage the increasing costs of their education.”
To reserve a textbook, students must contact the library circulation desk where they can sign out textbooks for up to two hours at a time. They must remain in the building with the books.
According to Lackie, the program has gained immense popularity after its introduction, with more book titles available to students every week.
“It has definitely grown in size and usage,” he said. “More books are being added to the collection right now, with the estimate being about 60 more textbooks available by next week, once cataloging, labeling and incorporation into our integrated library system is completed.”
Statistics provided by University Communications and Marketing show a spike in the number of textbook titles available from 2015-2017 — 205 two years ago compared to 310 now.
Student checkout, circulation and usage numbers have also increased with the number reaching 992 as of August 2017 compared against September 2016’s 325.
Nikita Mycyk, an office assistant at Moore Library, credits increased promotion for the popularity of the program.
“Many students ask to borrow books from the program now,” she said. “I think it’s because there is more advertising being done on campus.”
Mycyk, ’16, praised the program and said she wishes it was in place when she was an undergrad.
“It’s extremely beneficial,” she said. “I would have loved to have access to this program when I was a student.”
Despite its positive aspects, many professors do not agree with the goal of the program and feel students owning their own textbooks is more beneficial to their college experiences, Lackie said.
“Many faculty see value in this well-intended and somewhat creative method to help ease the financial burden regarding textbooks,” he said. “Others have pointed out to me that they see even more value in students owning their own texts so that they can annotate, underline and highlight them to review these internally written notes and refer back to them as they progress in their studies. It’s a good point and why some have asked not to have their textbooks placed within the program.”
When asked about the future status of the program, Lackie acknowledged that there is definitely room for improvement when it comes to expanding textbook usage across all grade levels.
“This program may extend beyond freshman level courses in the future,” he said. “Although it’s no longer considered a pilot project, the Textbook Reserve Program is still very much a work in progress.”