By Nathaniel Crouch
The costs of textbooks can add up quickly for students. Ryerson annual student expenses estimate the average cost of books and supplies is $700-$1,500 per year. A recent informal library survey found students paid approximately $248 per term in 2019 and $333 per term in 2018. However, course expenses varied considerably from program to program.
A new Ryerson library initiative aims at increasing access to the required undergraduate and graduate course textbooks—at no cost to students.
The Ryerson library lending program launched this semester and was created to address the rising cost of textbooks.
During the month of September, students borrowed from the collection over 2,000 times, despite the program having little promotion.
The program makes textbooks available on two-hour reserve for students to drop in and sign out what they need. This program can help students avoid some really high prices. One of the many textbooks on reserve is Chemistry: Molecular Approach—which is $169 at regular price. Other types of course material, such as electronic course readings (e-reserves), have long been available, and it now has a new comprehensive textbook collection.
“The two-hour loan periods help keep the collection moving,” said Kelly Kimberley, head of library borrowing and lending services.
For the library, the project is a sizable financial investment. The cost of implementation is estimated at between $75,000 and $100,000.
The benefits of the program are much more than the money students will save. Shepstone says having textbooks available is also helpful from a convenience perspective.
“Maybe it’s a situation where the student thinks, ‘Oh my gosh, that reading is due today?’ And they didn’t bring their textbook with them. Now, we have it here,” she said in a Ryerson Today article, adding that the students can now be spared having to carry around backpacks full of heavy materials with the program.
The library says there is a strong effort to have every required textbook available for students, but the library can only provide required textbooks on reserve if professors have purchased them through the university bookstore.