Hit the books, start saving money with UT Libraries

Emily Caldwell

The UT library system is doing its best to help students not spend money on unnecessary things. The only problem is that not enough students take advantage. UT Libraries consistently ranks as one of the largest research libraries in North America and quite easily as the largest one in Texas. With materials such as these at their disposal, all UT students should use library resources to save money and make their lives easier.

According to Michele Ostrow, the assistant director of teaching and learning services for UT Libraries, there are 60 librarians, 170 staffers and 220 student staffers waiting to help students with whatever they may need — locating research resources, attending skills workshops, checking out course materials or simply finding answers to random questions. “We’re just there waiting, and we like (answering questions),” Ostrow says. “That’s why we became librarians.”

UT Libraries has more than 10 million physical items throughout its collections — not to mention the countless number of journals, papers, e-books and movies. Research projects can be daunting, but UT students have more than enough resources.

“I think it’s really important for undergrads in particular to understand that, as librarians, it’s our job to help them do research,” Ostrow says. “Even if they were super library users in high school, a humongous research library is a completely different thing, so that’s what we’re here for.”

The services and resources offered to UT students by the library system deserve more attention and more use — especially because they’re 100 percent free.

Every student should have the “How to save money with the UT Libraries” guide bookmarked on their browser. Students often end up spending money on course packets and textbooks when they really could have accessed them for free using the library. “If you have readings, see if we have them in the library before you pay for a course pack,” Ostrow said. “There are a lot of things in the library that are on your syllabus that you can get for free here.”

Textbooks are undeniably expensive, but if a student is willing to sacrifice a little bit of time and (sometimes a whole lot of) effort, they can reduce the cost of their class materials. From databases to textbooks on reserve and standardized test prep materials, UT’s library system is a fountain of free information with not enough use. “We spend millions of dollars on subscriptions, and they’re right there at your fingertips, whether you’re on or off campus,” Ostrow said.

Academic skills workshops, 10 million books and access to class materials — all 100 percent free. UT Libraries is a resource that we have access to as college students, and it’s time we realize what we’re missing.

Caldwell is a Latin American studies and journalism sophomore from College Station.