Resources for Students

Buying Textbooks? Start Here (flowchart)

Top tips

  • Search by ISBN to be sure you get the exact edition your professor assigned
  • Shop around using online price comparison tools
  • Consider renting books if you won’t need them beyond a single course
  • Check the library to learn whether you can access your assigned readings there (see Textbooks and course materials in the Library)
  • Don't hesitate to ask your professor if you can use an older or cheaper edition of the textbook
  • If you need accessible reading materials as an accommodation for a disability, contact the Office of Academic Advising

Textbooks and course materials in the Library

Course Reserves

If your professor put readings on reserve, find hardcopy reserves at the Check Out Desk and electronic reserves in Moodle.

Hardcopy reserves at the Check Out Desk

Reserve books may be checked out for 2 hours; reserve DVDs may be checked out for 3 hours. Overdue reserve items accrue fines by the hour.

  1. Check course reserves in MUSCAT Plus
  2. Search by item title, course title, or professor
  3. Using the call number, request your item at the Check Out Desk

Electronic reserves in Moodle

  1. Login to Moodle
  2. Select a course
  3. Open the Library Text Reserves folder or Library Video Reserves folder for that course
  4. Click on the item you want to view

Books in MUSCAT Plus

Your assigned reading may be part of the library’s collection. Search MUSCAT Plus for your required readings. Don’t hesitate to ask if you have a question about a particular title.

Interlibrary Loan (ILL)

Sometimes Interlibrary Loan can be used to help access your required course materials. Our Interlibrary loan service allows you to borrow materials from other libraries that aren’t available at our library. Note that loans are shorter than a whole semester.

Free stuff – Open Educational Resources (OER) and the public domain

If your professor assigned an open textbook or OER, you’re in luck! The cost of your digital book is $0. Do you prefer a print copy? Openly licensed books are legal to duplicate, so you can print what you need without fear of copyright violation. Some open textbooks have low-cost print versions available for purchase (for example, see OpenIntro and OpenStax titles). Another option is to submit a personal print job to the campus print shop (nominal fee – inquire about cost).

Student advocacy can influence a professor’s choice to assign free, open textbooks instead of expensive, commercial textbooks. Use your course evaluation to provide feedback on the assigned books. Check out this guide (written for students at a Canadian university) for fast facts and tips for advocating for OER!

If your assigned book is in the public domain (meaning it is no longer protected by copyright), you may find a free, digital copy. For U.S. publications, works published 96 or more years ago are in the public domain. Start your search at DPLA Open Bookshelf and Books Should Be Free (LoyalBooks).

Questions? Comments?

Contact us at oer@gettysburg.edu.