Textbook Tumbleweed: An Underused Resource

By Johnny Perreira, Staff Writer

The UMass Dartmouth Library has five floors full of…books I guess? I’ve been at this school for three years and yet the contents of what each floor and shelf of the library holds is beyond me.

Granted, my graphic design major has demanded my time in many other places besides the library, but I’ve had classes with workloads requiring that bustling serenity on a red library table.

One of these classes is one I’m retaking, Calculus I, and with all my money spent on design supplies I really needed to find a way to acquire the textbook cheap and legally. The library was of great service.

I had the opportunity to interview one of the front desk leaders, Denise Charland, and ask her about how the library offers help to students in the form of textbooks.

The fifth floor contains a few textbooks, not enough for a leader to know when asked on the spot. If a student is looking for the good stuff, they must ask about the reserves.

No, there’s no secret passcode like it’s Fight Club. In fact, binders full of textbooks lay bare and open right on the front desk, practically begging to be preened through and booked. When I asked Denise if she wished students would use this resource more, she said yes like she was waiting for the question all day.

Charland went on to say, “You want students to be prepared for class, but you also want them to wait until that first class when the professor says, ‘We have this on reserve.’ Then they save money.”

She explained the whole process to me: professors request the library to reserve a specific amount of textbooks, the library does its best to meet that, and then students may rent it.

Most textbooks are never touched, and only a few are in constant high demand (especially before tests).  I initially went into this article unsure about the system, but Charland made it clear that if students own the textbook, the resource is naturally going to be used less.

Charland mentioned two things for students to keep in mind. First, the library  can replace purchasing textbooks, so for frugal or low-income students, please consider it.

Second, she has been working on a project for Banned Book week, a shelf right at the entrance full of books that were once banned, burned, or censored. If you’ve picked up this paper and read this far, consider reading a little more from all the resources and fun the library offers.

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