By Amie Freeman, scholarly communication librarian, and Tucker Taylor, head of circulation, University Libraries
Thanks to the creativity and generosity of Ted Besmann, students enrolled in Introduction to Nuclear Materials will no longer have to purchase a textbook.
Besmann is director of the General Atomics Center for Transformational Nuclear Technologies and SmartState Chair. He is aware of the financial difficulties many students are experiencing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. He used endowment funds to purchase 15 textbooks to loan directly to students and, with the help of University Libraries, each enrolled student will receive a mailed textbook to keep for the duration of the fall semester. The libraries will continue to circulate the textbooks to enrolled students each semester.
Besmann is one of many UofSC faculty who are striving to make things better for students. University Libraries are here to support him and faculty like him. Here are a few ways we can help:
- Locate open educational resources for your class
- Acquire library licensed ebooks (when possible)
- Scan library content
- Provide copyright information
- Upload and link content directly into Blackboard for your class
For the past six years, an annual grant available through the libraries has supported faculty who want to commit to using open access textbooks and items freely available to students. The four newest recipients of the SCoer Faculty Award have committed to using these resources during the 2020 - 2021 year. Their efforts will save students nearly $50,000 this year alone.
Many university faculty have helped students by using teaching materials the libraries have licensed as an ebook or content scanned to Blackboard via fair use. Unfortunately, the current trend among publishers is to set prices of ebooks for libraries at rates that are often three and four times more than that of print textbooks, making it very difficult for libraries to purchase online content for use in the classroom. Libraries are aware of this problem and are continually advocating for reasonable prices.
Compounding this issue, many traditional textbook publishers have never been open to licensing to libraries, a concern being brought to the forefront by COVID-19. Despite these issues, University Libraries are able to offer a large amount of ebooks through our existing electronic collections.