Higher education is expensive, and academic libraries have generally been in the happy position of being able to offer students an extraordinary array of free resources and services. Of course, they’re not really free, but paid for by student tuition, but we librarians still like to think that libraries provide just about the best value for your money anywhere.
On the 2014 Customer Satisfaction Survey, we received a number of comments about unexpected costs associated with using the Library, including these:
- “Sometimes the EbscoHost Academic Search Complete database shows me an item available through Linksourse result, and when I click on it, the paper isn’t available…Other times, I find it at the website for the journal which published the paper, and it’s usually a subscription or pay per article or both.”
- “Please advise online students about the fees associated with the return of requested materials. It is very possible that I could have purchased the book I borrowed for the shipping cost I incurred by sending it back.”
Here are three tips for saving money when using the Library:
- First of all, don’t waste money on fines! The Library offers online viewing and renewing of check-out materials. Do you know what you have checked out? Click here to find out.
- Never pay for an article. Not only journal websites, but even some of our databases will try to sell you articles for which the Library’s subscription does not include full-text access. Our InterLibrary Loan department can acquire nearly any journal article you need in 1-3 days.
- Although, the Library provides free shipping of books to our distance students, we do not pay for return shipping. This means that if you are not planning a trip to campus before the books are due, it might be a better option to get them from your local public library or use their InterLibrary Loan service if they offer it. Another option is to get a library card at an academic library in your area. The Regent Library will reimburse our distance students up to $100 per year for an academic library card. Click here for more information and a reimbursement form.
The Library recognizes that, for most students, attending college or graduate school presents a major financial challenge. We certainly do not want you to have to spend more money on fines and shipping fees. Following these simple tips will save you money and may even make the Library entirely free during your academic program.