direct edit

EMU Library Text Affordability Initiative

Why use free or affordable materials?

A 2023 survey shows that most EMU students worry about affording required readings—only 10.6% of students were not at all worried. 35.4% frequently do not purchase the required text and 39.9% of students frequently use an older edition. Due to high text costs, 46.5% report earning a poor grade, 16.9% report failing at least one course, 35.5% reported taking fewer courses, and 26.3% dropped at least one course. EMU students often avoid courses with high text costs and some have even changed majors due to text costs. The survey also showed that 72.8% of students were dissatisfied with purchasing codes for online homework systems, and even more students (76.6%) were dissatisfied when they were automatically charged a fee for a textbook/homework system

EMU faculty who've used library ebooks and open texts report that more students complete the readings when provided with a free option. Comments from EMU students in our recent survey show that providing free readings makes students feel cared for, can improve academic performance, eases student stress, helps with equity, and more.

Initiative Services

  • Request Library Ebook Versions of Assigned Titles
    Sometimes the library can purchase a library ebook version of a title that students can use for free with their EMU NetID.
  • Find OER and Affordable Alternatives
    Finding alternatives can be complicated, since there are multiple ways to search for Open Educational Resources (OER) and other alternatives. This guide provides links and advice on how to find OER, library ebooks, and other affordable options.
  • Text Consultations and Search Services
    • Library faculty can assist in your search for affordable readings. You can ask library faculty to put together a list of possible texts that you can evaluate for possible class use—lists can include open texts, titles that can be purchased as library ebooks, and/or less expensive print text options from smaller specialty publishers.
    • This service is increasingly popular with EMU instructors: The librarian’s search expertise saves instructor time and usually instructors find something on the list that they want to adopt. To request a search, contact your subject librarian or the Initiative Coordinator, Kate-Pittsley-Sousa, [email protected].
    • It’s possible to work comprehensively with a librarian to make an entire degree program more affordable. This can work well when planning new programs or redesigning degree programs.

Professional Development for Faculty

Library faculty provide information on finding, using, or creating Open Educational Resources and other strategies for lowering text costs via Faculty Development Center programs and other campus venues. You can invite library faculty to visit departments and program area faculty groups. Contact your subject librarian or the Initiative Coordinator, Kate-Pittsley-Sousa, [email protected].

If you want to publish an Open Text

The library has a platform that can host your open text and make it findable via Google Scholar and OER Commons. Contact Scholarly Communications Librarian, Julia Nims, [email protected].

Support the Text Affordability Initiative

As an instructor the most important thing you can do is to provide affordable materials in your courses and to promote affordability efforts in your department. This project has been funded by EMU Student Government, GameAbove, a grant from the Institute for Museum and Library Services, an EMU Women in Philanthropy grant, an EMU eFellows Grant, the EMU Credit Union, the Faculty Development Center, a Brickley Endowment Award, and donations from individuals. If you plan to give to EMU, you can direct funds to the Initiative via the EMU Foundation.

More Information


Halle Library, 955 W. Circle Dr, Ypsilanti MI, USA 48197 Phone:734.487.0020