Free STEM e-textbooks: LSU Libraries’ initiative and its impact
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Louisiana State University Libraries recently launched an initiative to provide students free access to required textbooks. Using course adoption title lists, the Libraries identifies required textbooks that are in existing e-book collections or available to purchase. All titles meet three essential criteria: are DRM-free, allow for an unlimited number of simultaneous users, and provide perpetual access. In the 2014-2015 academic year, the initiative has had the potential to save students $450,000.00. This has aligned the Libraries with strategic priorities of the university, including diminishing barriers to retention and reducing the escalating cost of higher education while ensuring access to materials critical for student success. This presentation will discuss how LSU Libraries established and deployed their e-textbook initiative, which includes selecting e-books, accessing and searching the bookstore’s required textbook lists, and developing promotional strategies to launch the initiative. It will cover project assessment and impact, highlighting STEM disciplines in particular, and ideas for expanding the reach of the program.