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Easing the cost of textbooks

By Costa Maragos Posted: September 13, 2016 11:00 a.m.

(l-r) Launching the student textbook initiative are: Brett Waytuck, University Librarian; Jermain McKenzie, President of the U of R Students’ Union; Colleen Murphy, Associate University Librarian; and Dr. Thomas Chase, Provost and Vice-President (Academic).
(l-r) Launching the student textbook initiative are: Brett Waytuck, University Librarian; Jermain McKenzie, President of the U of R Students’ Union; Colleen Murphy, Associate University Librarian; and Dr. Thomas Chase, Provost and Vice-President (Academic). Photo by Rae Graham - U of R Photography

Some relief is in sight for students burdened by the high cost of textbooks.  
Expensive textbooks will be available for use through the Dr. John Archer Library.
 
The University of Regina Students’ Union has worked closely with the Library and other university departments and groups to ensure the program is launched early in the fall semester.
 
“This initiative came about as a way to assist students in fulfilling their academic missions, while helping to relieve some of the financial challenges they face,” says Jermain McKenzie, President of the U of R Students’ Union.

“No student at the university should be hindered from achieving success because of their financial situation.”

The library is acquiring one textbook from each class that normally costs more than $100. Books are already arriving and are being put on reserve for use by students. Currently there are 133 books on reserve with an additional 90 on order.
 
“The University Library is focused on student success, so we were very excited when the U of R Student’s Union approached us about textbooks on reserve,” says Brett Waytuck, University Librarian. “Co-operation and funding from across the University have made this pilot possible.”

This textbook initiative has the full support of the University. More than $45,000 has been raised thanks to contributions from the Students’ Union, the University Library, the Deans’ Council, First Nations University and the Graduate Students’ Association.

The most expensive books from each faculty will be purchased with priority for those with larger class sizes. A reserve fund will be used to purchase additional copies of textbooks in very high demand or lower-cost textbooks where required.

“The cost of textbooks is a major factor in a student’s education,” says Dr. Thomas Chase, Provost and Vice-President (Academic). “Anything we can do to help students reduce their costs and ensure that they have access to high-quality, peer-reviewed, academic materials is something we as a university welcome.”

This textbook initiative follows the University of Regina’s Open Access initiative that will also help ease costs for students.

Faculty have submitted proposals to develop open textbooks and ancillary materials for students in first- and second-year classes. University of Regina Press is overseeing the project.

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