UW Tacoma’s library has been making textbooks that cost over $75 available to students in all programs across campus since fall quarter 2017.
Students can search on the library website to see if their textbooks are held at the reserves desk, which is located on the first floor of Tioga Library Building. Books held on reserve are available to be checked out for four hours at a time.
Students and instructors can also request textbooks to be purchased — even those costing less than $75 — and instructors can place personal copies on reserve. Requests for textbooks to be purchased can take two to three weeks.
The program at UWT to make expensive textbooks more accessible originated with library staff members Serin Anderson, collections and budget coordinator, and Hannah Wilson — access services manager.
“At the library, we recognized that expensive textbooks can be a burden that hinders student success, and that impact is often felt most severely by students with the least financial means,” Anderson said. “This program offers one avenue for trying to provide access to resources that are often critical to a student’s success in class.”
A pilot program ran in spring quarter 2017, focusing on textbooks for the urban studies and institute of technology programs. The results of the initial pilot were positive, and the library decided to continue the program and broaden the types of books this school year.
“We expanded the 2017–2018 pilot to include all programs across campus, with all textbooks $75 and over automatically placed on reserve,” Anderson said. “The parameters for this year’s program were based on feedback from the bookstore, data from our initial textbook pilot and an evaluation of Bothell’s long-running textbook program.”
The library will be evaluating what should be changed in regards to the course reserves program going into the next academic year to better serve the needs of UWT. Anderson and Wilson are always accepting feedback about the program directly and a survey is planned for spring quarter.
The library has also been a supporter of open educational resources, and became a member of the Open Textbook Network in 2015 — consisting of schools who support the online Open Textbook Library and promote open textbooks.
According the online Open Textbook Library operated by the University of Minnesota, “Open textbooks are textbooks that have been funded, published and licensed to be freely used, adapted and distributed.”
The goal of these programs is to help faculty create and utilize textbooks and course materials which are free and accessible — as opposed to commercially published textbooks.
To see if your books are on reserve, or to
request that one be purchased, visit