Low to No Cost Textbooks and Open Educational Resources: A Student’s Perspective

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By , July 17, 2014 12:52 pm


As a college student, there are many expenses such as tuition, housing, and other fees. Textbooks tend to be a large expense for students. Typically, one semester’s textbook costs range from $500 to $1,000.  Once the semester ends, students often sell their textbooks in exchange for a small fraction of the original costs. For example, I once purchased a textbook priced over $200 and received $20 in exchange at the end of the semester. I am (and I’m sure other students) delighted with the provision of low to no cost text books. In addition to affordable traditional textbooks, digital Open Education Resources (OER) will be low to no cost and also convenient due to online accessibility. Texts and class materials that are offered to students for download would be well appreciated considering today’s technological advancements and the prevalent usage of laptops, tablets, and other electronic devices by college students. With the use of low to no cost textbooks and OER, more students will be able to have their textbooks sooner for use. Although it is ideal that students have their textbooks during the first week of class, the reality is that many do not have their text until well after the start of class due to financial matters. For example, I didn’t receive a textbook that I ordered online until 3 weeks after the start of the semester. Textbooks are typically more affordable online; however one may have to go a considerable time without the material. Low to no cost textbooks and OER will definitely help to eradicate some of the financial strains of students face and provide efficient means of access to required material.

Update: A Post Card from the University Press

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By , July 2, 2014 12:36 pm

stacks of booksAs an intern you may find yourself in new situations daily. Today, I entered an office littered with books from the floor up. I noticed an empty bookcase and binders scattered across the room. “What’s happened here?” I wondered.
My boss was in the process of rearranging the office with the goal being a consolidation of two offices and the transformation of the one into a break-slash-conference room. Luckily, I’m a handy-man if need be and was glad to provide a helping hand. This change of pace provided an opportunity to use physical energy in the office as opposed to the more cerebral energy necessary in this field. I think that my boss’s vision will be helpful in the long-run as all University Press members will be able to work among one another.
Another interesting interning experience happened to be our Podcast Experience. Personally, I’ve never recorded a podcast and time really seemed to zip by during the process. The cast of this podcast included me and the staff of the University Press, Corey, Heather, and April (The Managing Editor, The Project Editor, and The Fiction, Creative Non-Fiction, & Poetry Editor, respectively).
Recording was fun and also informative. We discussed the growing popularity of Little Free Libraries.
I learn something new daily as an intern with the University Press and I am enjoying every moment of this experience.

Little Free Libraries

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By , June 26, 2014 8:36 am

There’s a story that’s been floating around the publishing world and has even gained momentum with national news outlets. It’s the story of Spenser Collins, a nine-year-old who was forced by his community in Kansas to remove a Little Free Library from in front of his house as it was against the city of Leawood’s ordinance prohibiting free-standing structures in the front yards of residential areas.

Aside from the public outrage against this action (including ribs from Today Show anchors), this story has also brought Little Free Libraries into the spotlight. Little Free Libraries are birdhouse-like structures that instead of holding nests, contain a small treasure trove of books. People are encouraged to “Take a Book, Leave a Book.” And these little structures have been popping up everywhere and are increasingly gaining popularity.

The idea of Little Free Library was started in 2009 by Todd Bol of Hudson, Wisconsin. Bol “built a model of a one room schoolhouse as a tribute to his mother, a former school teacher who loved reading.  He filled it with books and put it on a post in his front yard. His neighbors and friends loved it.  He built several more and gave them away. Each one had a sign that said FREE BOOKS” (http://www.littlefreelibrary.org/ourhistory). From these humble beginnings occurred a movement that’s sweeping the country with people building and erecting their own little libraries (mostly on private land as to not have to go through the hassle of getting permissions to place on public land).

Together with Rick Brooks, Bols started the Little Free Library Organization. In 2011, there were 100 little free libraries registered with the organization. That number exploded to 4,000 in 2012, and then more than tripled by 2014. Today there are over 16,000 little free libraries in at least 72 countries—and those are just the ones registered with Little Free Library.


The Little Free Library located in Dahlonega, GA Photo Credit: April Loebick

One of these libraries is located right here in Dahlonega, Georgia. It’s located just off the historic square in the Connor Memorial Garden. This small, well-built structure was donated to the Garden by Lumpkin County Retired Educators in 2012. It is registered with Little Free Library, charter number 0689.

For more information about Little Free Libraries, or to find one in your area, visit the organization’s website at http://www.littlefreelibrary.org.


Giveaway Winners

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By , June 18, 2014 8:48 am

goodreads_logoCongratulations to Patti Mills of Georgia, Kyle Truelove of Georgia, and Carrie Burleson of North Carolina. They are the winners of our Goodreads giveaway for “I have been so many people”: A Study of Lee Smith’s Novels by Tanya Long Bennett.

Didn’t win? You can still purchase your copy of for “I have been so many people”: A Study of Lee Smith’s Novels from Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, or you can come to our launch party on July 1, 7-9pm at the Vickery House on the University of North Georgia campus in Dahlonega, Ga. There you can meet the author and have your book signed. This event is free and open to the public. Free refreshments will be provided.

The Internship: A Journey Begins

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By , June 11, 2014 9:56 am

Mario and AprilBefore I started my internship, I expected there to be a lot of meaningless work. I also felt that I would learn bits of information often. I was subconsciously preparing myself for the worst possible scenario. I have never been an intern, and I wanted to make sure that I was being as realistic with myself in regards to the effort needed to successfully complete an internship. Prior to now, I worked as a salesman for AT&T and I had become accustomed to a fast-paced work environment, one that changed its direction weekly, if not daily. I had no idea what I would get myself into with this new internship.

I envisioned a very hectic and busy publishing office with tens of people frantically working to meet deadlines. I figured I would be sent into a tailspin with menial tasks and generally overlooked due to the busy publishing pace.
Looking back, I see that I had a dramatic expectation. The media and Hollywood often portray an intern’s life as a chaotic one that is less about learning and more so about being worked unreasonably. I bought into that idea.
Yet, the reality is that I haven’t been overlooked and I learn something new daily! It’s less the notion of work and more the feel of an experience. My first task as an intern was to clear out the website’s spam comments. There were 1500 comments to filter, and only 20 could be removed at once. Assignments became more interesting such as the Reader’s Report that I completed. A Reader’s Report is a summary of an author’s submitted work for publishing and whether or not it is suitable for the publishing company. I have also written an informative blog on Copyrights and gained insight into an editor’s work schedule/calendar. I’m lucky enough to have two mentors, April and Corey, to see me through this process. I look forward to learning more as my internship continues. Check back on the blog for further updates about my journey as a press intern.

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