Borrow Textbooks for Free in the Library

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The Library is experimenting with buying all textbooks above $75 or during the 2017-2018 academic year, making college more affordable for students.

The price of textbooks is continuously on the rise, making it more difficult for students to purchase them.

In 2016, Student PIRGS (Public Interest Research Group) released a report titled “Covering the Cost.” The report explained that the price of college textbooks has increased by 73 percent since 2006, with the average textbook ranging from $200 to $400.

In recognition of the rising costs and the financial toll on students, the UW Tacoma Library staff followed in the steps of a similar UW Bothell program and began purchasing all course assigned textbooks of $75 or more through the UW Bookstore.

During Spring Quarter, the library did a pilot run with Urban Studies and the Institute of Technology to collect data and student feedback. At the end of the quarter the student responses were highly positive, encouraging the library staff to expand the program.

Currently, textbooks are shelved in the reserve collection at the circulation desk on the first floor of the Tioga Library Building. All textbooks purchased through this program are first come, first serve and will be available for checkout for four hours at a time. If a student checks it out for four hours within library closing, it can be kept overnight.

If the textbook costs less than $75, it can still be placed on Course Reserves, but this done through faculty or student request. Students may submit a request for the LIbrary to get a textbook through the Library Purchase Request Form.

Already, staff have noticed a significant increase in textbook circulation over last year. Tracking student usage will help determine whether or not the library will continue the program. At the end of the academic year, library staff will evaluate the viability, costs, and feedback.

To help, library staff is asking that students and staff give feedback by emailing This feedback will contribute to the end of the year decision to continue the program.

More information about 2017-2018 textbook pilot program

Written by: 
Erika Wigren, Digital Project Specialist and MLIS Candidate at the UW Information School / November 6, 2017
Media contact: 

For more information please contact:

Serin Anderson, Collection and Budget Library / 253-692-4815

Hannah Wilson, Access Services Manager / 253-692-4391