LSU Libraries has received $10,000 to support e-textbooks through an LSU Student Government Finance bill during this semester’s legislative session. The e-textbook initiative provides students with free access to e-book versions of required textbooks. In the 2014-2015 academic year, the Libraries provided e-texts for more than 170 courses and had the potential to save students nearly $500,000.
The bill, SGFB No. 6, was put forward by senators Zack Faircloth, Jacob Phagan, and Myles Sonnier, and received the Senate’s unanimous support. It funds the creation of a web-based platform for instructors to search and select e-textbooks for use in their classes. The platform will include items currently owned by LSU Libraries and e-books that can be added to the collection, allowing instructors to proactively choose course materials that students can access for free from the Libraries’ website. These e-books come from reputable academic publishers, including Springer, Taylor & Francis, Wiley, and university presses. All titles allow for unlimited simultaneous users, meaning they never have to be checked out and won’t be unavailable when being used by others. They are also free of DRM—digital rights management—and therefore do not have technical roadblocks that could limit use or restrict printing and saving functions.
Emily Frank, Instructional Technologies Librarian, shared her excitement for this collaboration, stating, “Thanks to Student Government, the creation of the platform will allow LSU Libraries to extend the reach of this project. In the spring semester, we provided free access to a math textbook being used in 8 sections and by more than 300 students, and to an agronomy textbook that cost $180 new from the bookstore, in addition to many other titles. The platform will deepen our impact while saving students money and ensuring access to materials critical for academic success.”