Mike and Janet Carroll

Making textbooks available at no cost to students

Janet and Mike Carroll photoWhen Mike and Janet Carroll learned about the Textbook Affordability Initiative at the University of Florida, it resonated with them since their daughter Katie is a student here. They asked Libraries staff what their greatest needs were and the Textbook Initiative was the one that resonated with them the most. They generously donated $100,000 toward the project, which uses the funds directly to purchase textbooks.

Expensive textbooks place a substantial burden on students’ budgets and negatively affect student success. When students cannot afford a textbook, they often struggle through without purchasing it, or drop the class entirely. The University created the Affordable UF Initiative, a wide-ranging effort that brings together partners across campus to tackle the affordability challenge from multiple perspectives.

The average undergraduate student spends more than $1,200 per year on books and supplies. The rising cost of textbooks is a cause for concern, especially in the sciences. Each year, the Libraries purchase textbooks for high-attendance classes and place them on 2-hour loan. Given the high cost of books and the number of courses offered at UF, the Libraries are not able to purchase as many textbooks as needed.

Last fall when many students were not on campus to check out the reserved books, the Libraries staff converted many of their textbook purchases to electronic delivery so students have access while studying remotely as well as on campus.

“We enjoy knowing that the textbook fund is providing immediate and tangible support for the dedicated students of UF. The program is well-organized and many students have found it to be a valuable resource,” said Mike. “I have always had a love of libraries. As a young boy, I would ride my bike to the public library in St. Petersburg, Florida and marvel at the stacks of information and wisdom available to all. As a student at UF I spent many hours studying in the nooks and crannies of Library East (now Smathers Library).”