New program offers alternative to buying textbooks

September 19th, 2013

For many college students, purchasing textbooks for classes has developed into a major concern as prices continue to skyrocket. After paying for tuition, room and board and meal plans, the thought of paying hundreds of dollars for the newest editions of textbooks and access codes can cause headaches at the start of every semester. As a solution to this dilemma, John Carroll University now offers an alternative to purchasing textbooks.

Tia Pearson, an acquisitions associate, and Adam Green, the interim head of circulation for Grasselli Library and Breen Learning Center, listened to the complaints of students and stepped up to help.

During the fall 2012 semester, Pearson enlisted the help of Green to start the Textbook Sharing and Lending Program. The idea initially arose from a project a class was completing. When Pearson saw how beneficial the program could be to the students, she decided to take action.

Pearson formulated a survey to ensure students would be interested in the program and received an overwhelming 700 surveys back, all indicating a desire for the initiative. Pearson then worked with Green to get the program started.

The program works as follows: if a student decides they want a book from the Textbook Sharing Program, they can rent it for use within the library for a two-hour period.

During the 2012-2013 academic year, the program offered 33 books available for rent. Collectively, the books circulated 624 times during the year. For the 2013-2014 school year, 13 books were added to the program, bringing the total number of available books to 46.

“The basic concept of [the program] was to recognize the increasing cost of textbooks and give students other options besides having to purchase them,” said Green.

With the Ohio Textbook Library Summit coming up, programs such as these are a topic of conversation among libraries across the state.

“John Carroll is one of the few schools that has one of these programs,” said Pearson. “It is all funded by the library right now.”

The program has elicited a positive response from the student body.

Sophomore Emily Williams expressed her excitement about the program, saying,“I think the textbook sharing program is an option that could really help students save money, and I’m really excited that John Carroll is offering this program.”

The program started with the goal of helping JCU students access their textbooks with more ease, and the growth of the collection relies on the donations of textbooks from students. Old and used textbooks are collected in bins at the end of each semester and are added to the program.

Students who are interested in the program or who have questions are encouraged to visit the circulation desk in the library or to email Pearson ( or Green (