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Support Textbook Affordability

Library & Open Educational Resources


Textbook prices have increased over 1000% since the 1970s and the average student needs to budget over $1200 for books and materials. Because of these high costs, many students put off buying their textbooks, share the costs with several other students, or don't purchase the textbook at all. Each of these workarounds have a negative impact on student learning. There are better, cost effective options that benefit students, faculty, and the Commons. This guide will provide information on Open Educational Resources (OER), library licensed materials that you can use for your courses, and the Winona State Student Senate Textbook Affordability Initiative.

What Are Potential Solutions?

Open Educational Resources

Open educational resources (OER) are free and openly licensed educational materials that can be used for teaching, learning, research, and other purposes. OER are emerging as a strategy for lowering barriers to student academic success, specifically by ensuring that all students have access to course materials regardless of their financial situation.

MinnState provides support for faculty in moving to Open Education Resources through their OER Community Sharepoint Site. Your library faculty liaison can also help you find, evaluate, and incorporate OERs into your course.

Krueger Library

The Darrell W. Krueger Library is your avenue to discover all sorts of research, videos, art, and data. Typically, libraries don't purchase textbooks for many of the same reasons students encounter: they're expensive. We need to make sure our resources are supporting the curriculum and faculty research which is why we primarily focus on our book, ebook, journal, and database collections. But you can use these collections for your courses as well!

  • Does the library already have a copy of your required text? Search OneSearch to find out!
    • If we don't contact your liaison to see if we can purchase it.
  • Do you have an additional copy you can place on reserve?
  • Could you use a combination of resources -- books, book chapters, articles, and video -- to replace a textbook?
  • Do you need help finding an appropriate OER for your course? Contact your liaison!
  • Do you teach a popular gen ed? Contact your liaison and we can possibly use funds to purchase your textbook and place it on reserve.


Textbook Affordability Task Force

The WSU Student Senate passed a motion in support of Textbook Affordability in September 2018. This motion led to the creation of the Textbook Affordability Task Force comprised of faculty and students to address textbook costs at WSU. Student Senate was also able to get funding through the WSU Foundation to purchase some textbooks for popular gen ed courses and place them on reserve in the library. This program started in Fall 2019 and the Textbook Affordability Task Force, including library representation, is hoping to promote this program and other textbook affordability initiatives again in Fall 2020.

What Is the Problem? Textbook Cost Inflation Explained

License and Attribution

This guide is modified from Anderson, T. & O'English, L. (2018). Open educational resources: Tools for affordable learning. Washington State University Libraries. Licensed Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0). Retrieved from