“I can’t afford both books and food,” reads a University of Idaho student’s comment on a Change.org petition to reduce the cost of textbooks. “I have to choose to either eat or pass my classes.” That student has a champion in Annie Gaines, who moved from a clerical position to become the University of Idaho Library’s first scholarly communications librarian.
College bookstores are evolving for a future that is based less on textbooks and more on supporting the course material ecosystem, campus services, and merchandise. When it comes to textbook issues, academic librarians and the campus bookstore should work together to give students affordable solutions.
This fall, as part of a $10,000 grant program funded by the NC State University Foundation, NCSU Libraries has invited faculty members to develop alternative course materials. The Alt-Textbook Project is a competitive grant for faculty members to develop free or low-cost alternates to traditional textbooks using open source material.
Last month I enjoyed the distinct privilege of keynoting the Conference for Law School Computing (also known as “CALIcon”), a gathering of legal educators, law librarians, and IT professionals in law put together by the Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction (CALI). I can’t say enough in praise of the ever-present spirit of sly spirited fun at this conference.
In 2012, I wrote about the San Jose State University (SJSU) School of Library & Information Science’s (SLIS) evaluation of its core courses. We’re currently putting the finishing touches on a reimagined LIBR 200 class called “Information Communities.” While colleagues reworked other core courses, I’ve partnered with Debra Hansen, one of our senior faculty and a library historian, to create an evolving, modern course that presents students with our foundations as well as an overview of information users and the social, cultural, economic, technological, and political forces that shape their information access.