Textbook plan takes shape

By Daimon Hardy

The textbook expense is hard to avoid, but MCSG is taking some steps to help the financial strain presented the beginning of each semester. In addition to the Macalester College Textbook Scholarship, which helps students with extreme cases of financial need, MCSG has spearheaded a new book sharing initiative led by Aaron Brown ’10. “The program is student government’s way to make text books easy for students,” Brown said. Brown took his inspiration for this program from a friend. “Last fall I was talking with a friend of mine and she had just been abroad in London and at her university they had a program where . . . students didn’t really buy their textbooks. The university just had a set of them and the students just used them when they needed to” he said.

The new program at Macalester is similar. $6700 was allocated to purchase books. To determine which books would be purchased, MCSG developed a specific selection process based on the frequency of that class and the expense of the book.

“We went through the entire class list of courses that were offered during the fall of 2009 and we found classes that were (a) taught very frequently, at least once a semester, often more; (b) classes that had very expensive text books . . . the criteria was around 100 bucks or more; and (c) classes that many students take,” Brown said. Another factor that influenced selection of these certain books was the time it would take before they became obsolete. Brown hopes that every book will last five years.

The courses that the books were selected for are CHEM 111: General Chemistry, ECON 119: Principles of Economics, MATH 153: Data Analysis and Statistics, and MATH 137: Single Variable Calculus.

“Students can check [books] out from the reserves desk at the library,” Brown said. All books can leave the library. Half are available for two hour check-out and the other half for 24 hour check-out.