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Library Textbook Project, Started by Student, is a Big Success
Victoria Lamagna '13 will be graduating on May 19, but her presence will be felt by students at the University of Hartford for years to come.
Lamagna, who is academic vice president of the Student Government Association (SGA) for 2012-13, started an initiative called the “Textbook Project.” Through this project, required textbooks are placed on reserve in Mortensen Library and can be taken out by students for two hours at a time. If more time is needed and another student has not requested the book, the book can be taken out for an additional two hours.
The project is designed to help undergraduate students who cannot afford to purchase textbooks. As an added benefit, it also helps to reduce the number of books that students have to carry to and from the library.
“This is a great project,” said Director of University Libraries Randi Ashton-Pritting. “It’s a wonderful example of students helping other students.”
Lamagna started the Textbook Project in the fall of 2011, and it has steadily grown and developed since then. In the spring of 2012, SGA received a $5,000 grant from the Parent’s Association, which has been used over the past year to purchase a total of 71 textbooks for the library.
To date, there have been about 600 checkouts of textbooks on reserve, and more are expected over the next few days, said Acquisitions Librarian Kristina Edwards. Among the most popular texts on reserve are Fundamentals of Anatomy and Physiology, as well as textbooks on chemistry, psychology, and art.
To start the project, a list of required textbooks for each semester was obtained from the University Bookstore. Using this list, books were prioritized based on the number of sections for each class, subject, and course number. In order to benefit the greatest number of students, the textbooks for classes with the most lecture sections and lowest course levels – for freshmen or introductory level students – were purchased first, Lamagna said. Courses that had five or more sections were given the highest priority.
Lamagna and SGA worked closely with Ashton-Pritting, Edwards, and other library staff to acquire the textbooks and set up shelves for them in the reserve section of the library. They have sought textbook donations from faculty members, and Lamagna herself said that she has donated multiple science textbooks.
“In the future, we will be requesting more funding from other sources with the hope of continuing this project and purchasing more textbooks to help benefit even more students,” Lamagna said.
If you are interested in donating money or textbooks to the project, you can contact Taylor Clark, the newly elected SGA academic vice president for 2013-14, at email@example.com, or SGA advisor Susan Fitzgerald at firstname.lastname@example.org.