In 2016, two Cornell students founded a library to help out their peers who could not afford to buy textbooks. During the spring and fall semesters of 2018, the library rented out approximately 840 books and 100 iClickers.
“For the first time, we are enabling students to tell us what materials they need for their courses, which we hope will allow us to better support students who want or need to utilize library resources for their work,” Hines said.
First-generation and economically challenged college students can now to borrow their textbooks free of charge from the Cornell Lending Library. Students from First in Class — a campus-wide initiative that supports first-generation college students — began planning the Lending Library last semester, according to Sarah Anderson, a program coordinator in the Office of Academic Diversity Initiatives. Nicholas Karavolias ’18 has been leading the program since its beginning, when he noticed students struggling to afford their textbooks, he said. “I realize that high textbook prices are a barrier to students with socioeconomic problems faced,” Karavolias said. “Some students will pick up extra hours of work, and some will not pick up their textbooks and fall behind academically.”
The idea behind the Lending Library has already been implemented in several other colleges, according to Anderson.
Buying textbooks at the start of every semester has become significantly cheaper for the hundreds of students across the country who have taken advantage of Skoobit.com.
Skoobit is an online textbook rental company that enables students to potentially save money by renting, as opposed to buying, their textbooks. Textbooks can represent a large chunk of the cost of higher education and it can be exasperating for students to spend hundreds of dollars per book, only to turn around and sell it at the end of the semester for only a fraction of the purchase price.