The TRU Library is looking into a recommendation from the Student Budget Consultation that may help students cope with the rising cost of textbooks. A “textbooks-on-reserve” system would ensure that any student who couldn’t afford a required course material could access a shared copy in the Library.

Students have identified textbook affordability as a priority for improvement in the Student Budget Consultation for the past two years. There is no doubt this has become a crisis. In addition to rising fees, students have faced an 88% increase in the cost of textbooks between 2006 and 2016 – four times the rate of inflation!

One of the ways students try to save money on textbooks is to access copies on reserve in the Library. This option, however, is only available where an instructor or department provides the copies, leaving many students with no choices but to buy a textbook or go without it. Last year, the Student Budget Consultation Report 2017/18 recommended that the Library establish a more comprehensive system of textbooks on reserve, with enough copies to meet demand. Unfortunately, the Library reported that its budget could not support such a textbook reserve.

This year, the Student Budget Consultation again recommended the establishment of a textbooks-on-reserve system, and urged TRU to explore alternative funding to make it possible.

Thankfully, the Library has shown an appreciation of the problem, and a willingness to be part of the solution in a number of ways. This includes the following commitments:

  • Undertake an environmental scan of current textbook-on-reserve programs at other universities to determine the possibility of establishing a program at TRU
  • Continue to support the use of open educational resources as course materials with little or no cost to students
  • Continue to support the use of existing library resources (subscriptions, journal articles, book chapters, etc.) as course materials with little or no cost to students

It is important to note that this is not a guarantee that TRU will create a textbook-on-reserve program, but the investigation is a promising first step!

Student Budget Consultation

To stay up-to-date on all of TRU’s responses to your priorities, check out the Student Budget Consultation webpage!

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Full TRU Response on Reserve Textbooks 

To see the full response to the recommendation for a textbook-on-reserve system, click here.


For more information, contact:

Tatiana Gilbert

 Alex McLellan
University Governance Coordinator