Open and Affordable Textbooks


Textbook Affordability at Rutgers

Rutgers University Libraries understand that course materials can be very expensive and cause a significant financial strain on students. In fact, according to the New Jersey Public Interest Group (NJPIRG), Rutgers students spend an average of $1,500 annually on their course materials alone.

The Libraries are trying to help reduce textbook costs through course reserves and the Open and Affordable Textbooks Program. You can be part of this initiative, too.

Students have to work 28 hours to buy one $200 textbook

Take Action at Rutgers University:

  • Talk to your instructors about the Open and Affordable Textbooks Program—we’ve already saved students over $2.1 million, and your class could be next!
  • Before you buy--check the Libraries. Make sure your course materials aren't in our course reserves area. Do a search for required/recommended reading e-books and journal articles. We're doing what we can to help keep your costs low through purchase or subscription.
  • Reach out to NJPIRG . They have some great statistics about textbook costs and work to raise the visibility of this issue on campus.
  • Take part in Open Access Week and Open Education Week by attending the Libraries' events.

External Resources: There are several national textbook exchanges, which you may be able to use in order to find used copies of textbooks. Note: these exhanges are not affiliated with Rutgers University Libraries.

For more, see

Course Reserves:

The Libraries offer instructors the ability to place a physical or electronic item on reserve for use (for free) by students in their courses. Books, electronic books, journal articles, images, videos, or other items may be placed on reserve, depending on the course. There are certain limitations to how these materials may be used. For example, textbooks on reserve typically cannot leave the library building, so you have to come in to use the item in person. In addition, there may be a time limitation on how long you can use the item, in order to ensure that other students can also have access to it. Some libraries check out reserve materials overnight. Many students find course reserves to be a great way to save money on their textbooks and other course materials. Since there is no requirement for instructors to place their textbooks on reserve, you will have to search our holdings to determine if the reserve is available. You should always encourage your instructor to take this step and to speak to a librarian in order to find out more about the process.

To search for a course reserve, click here.

Open and Affordable Textbooks (OAT) Program: 

The OAT awards are given to faculty and instructors who choose to redesign their courses with openly available and free course materials, or with library resources. These courses result in significant savings for students.

Am I in an OAT course?

If you are enrolled in one of the OAT courses, you should see the OAT logo in your syllabus.

Not in an OAT course?

If you are currently not in an OAT course, but would like to sign up for one in the future, you can consult our page of past projects to see which courses and faculty/instructors have taught in the past. The new OAT courses for 2018-2019 will be announced in January 2018.

What else can I do?

Please encourage your current faculty/instructors to apply to the OAT program. You can forward them this link or ask them to contact a member of the OAT team.