Professors should ensure that their texts for class are available for checkout in the library and that those books are on limited loan.
Once, a professor of mine asked if anyone in his class would be using the library to read the books for his class. I raised my hand. It wasn’t a class where the texts were something I’d want to keep my whole life, or even to drop $100 on. No one else raised their hand, so my professor waved at me and said that he wouldn’t ask the library to put the books on a limited loan.
The library can loan out books for less than two weeks if a professor asks them to keep them on reserve. The books are usually kept behind the desk on the main library level where the first level of books are and can be checked out for an hour without leaving the library all the way up to a few days. This allows students to use class-required books without taking them from their classmates for weeks at a time.
Someone else checked out the books and brought them to class. I had to go buy my own because the student wouldn’t return them before I needed to use them to write the essays.
This wasn’t the only time that a classmate has hoarded all the books for a class in a semester, but it was the only time I’ve had a professor address the topic. Yet professors can’t know for sure that students will be polite with one another.
I know this is more work for professors. But I don’t want to buy all of my books, and I don’t want to keep getting into situations where I am counting on saving money and can’t because no one else had the courtesy to return their in-demand books when they were done with them. Having books in the library, especially in the College of Arts and Sciences where the books are common and used for years, is a common-sense service that we could be offering to students.
Book sharing, too, isn’t always an option. Even if you do know someone willing to split the cost of books and work out a schedule to share them on, it’s a nightmare to do. What happens when you can only read a book after midnight and they need it the next morning? What happens when you both need it to write or study for the class? Chaos, that’s what! It’s a bad time.
Students don’t always have the ability to purchase 13 books for a single class, nor the time to shop for bargains and compare prices between renting and buying. If the university were to provide the materials for classes, students are likely to be better prepared, earning better grades and frustrating professors less because they’ve actually done the readings.
I understand that this takes away some of the book sales for important authors in academia. There are ripple effects. But some students will always make sure to buy their own books because they want the book, or they just like marking up the pages. It won’t damage the academic book industry to help out students.
By utilizing the limited loan system, the university wouldn’t have to buy multiple copies of the books. And we already know that these books are worth having in our library because professors require them! Clearly, they’re important books. Just as obviously, students need them. Why not have them on hand and make students’ lives easier at the same time?