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Written by on November 12, 2013

LibRAT tips and tricks for saving money

Since working as a LibRAT, I have learned many library tricks to save some extra cash on my course textbooks. Now, I get to pass on some of my tips to you!

Tip #1: Link+ “links” us to more libraries

Kennedy Library is able to expand the amount of books and other physical resources students can check out with Link+. Link+ literally “links” Kennedy Library to other university and public libraries throughout California and Nevada.

You can use Link+ for more than just checking out books for research. With a simple swipe of my PolyCard, I have checked out several readings for my GE classes that I only needed for a week through Link+.

One clever LibRAT was even able obtain her textbooks for the majority of her classes on Link+ for free!

Tip #2: Getting the most out of Course Reserves

Instead of lugging your textbooks all the way to library, you can check them out through Course Reserves. Course-specific materials are set aside by professors for their students to use. In fact, Course Reserves is one of Cal Poly student’s favorite resources in the library.

During the 2009-2010 academic year, Course Reserves were accessed over 40,000 times. Last year when I worked on the Student Library Advisory Council’s (SLAC) Winter 2013 Survey, we found that 80% of students rated the improvement of Course Reserves as “important” or “very important.”

With these facts in hand, Associate University Librarian and co-adviser of SLAC, Sarah Cohen, teamed up with library faculty and staff to develop a new program that would provide more free textbook options.

Tip #3: Meeting study buddies with OATS

This new program is Open Access Textbooks (OATS). OATS is Kennedy Library’s new collection of free textbooks and course ware for students located in the Reference Room (Room 111). The 150+ new textbooks, workbooks, and study guides are free and open access for students to use throughout the library.

When I saw my physics and organic chemistry textbooks (both around $200) as part of the collection, I became one of OATS most enthusiastic spokespersons. I immediately told all my friends!

From my view working at the Reference Desk, I’ve seen OATS’ matchmaking abilities. Students using OATS are bumping into their classmates and forming new study buddies. It’s awesome to see students snuggling up and working together with OATS.

If your course textbook isn’t part of the collection, there are supplementary OATS workbooks that apply to every Cal Poly student. I stumbled upon an anatomy study guide with detailed illustrations and practice questions that helped me study for my quiz on leg muscles this past week.

How do you save?

Every penny counts as a college student. Link+, Course Reserves, and OATS are part of a collection of free services offered through Kennedy Library to increase affordable learning at Cal Poly. If you have a money-saving library trick of your own or ideas to improve affordable learning at Kennedy Library share them below!

Learn more ways you can save on course material at Kennedy Library.

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