With the cost of living constantly haunting us, books shouldn’t be another expense that students have to spend their money on.
There is a plethora of books available on campus. The Student Union Bookshop and the library are two available places to get your resources for college.
But what if the books are not there? What if they’re out of stock or all the other students managed to grab that one book that you desperately needed to have read for the next lecture?
Your fees allow you to be a student and learn. They also allow you to use places such as the library or study spaces. They fund societies and clubs too. What they don’t cover is the cost of books.
When you start the academic year, you’re tasked with obtaining a number of books and resources within the first two or three weeks of the semester. You are responsible for buying the books that may or may not be in stock in one of the few bookstores that are available in Galway.
There are grants and funds that you can apply for such as the Student Universal Support Ireland or other funds that you may be eligible for that can help assist you in purchasing books. But there are other expenses that need to take priority, such as electricity bills and food.
Your lecturers may be generous and provide you with some of the college materials in the first week. But most of the time, they expect you to go out and fetch those paper slabs yourself.
On top of that, you have to have read and studied the material to understand the following lectures to a decent level. All of this stress is extremely unwarranted and could easily be reduced with very simple solutions.
A solution could simply be searching up these books and materials on a database. A lot of the resources that are on the internet are accessible for free, so why not make a database specifically for student materials and literature?
But not everyone excels at reading and annotating on a digital screen. Some people prefer the analogue methods of writing on paper or putting sticky-notes on those pages.
More duplicate books need to be introduced into the library. I find it hard to believe that there are only twelve copies of Jane Eyre available when a couple dozen students need that book and are forced to buy it with their own money.
No one is informed about online versions of materials either. You’re always told that the resources will be found in the Student Union Bookshop or perhaps in one of the local bookstores, which is very frustrating.
You might be unfortunate enough that the book you’re seeking isn’t available in the bookstores and you’re forced to miss a week or three worth of content because you had to order the book online. By the time the book arrives, the lecturer has already moved on from the content relevant in the book.
Students should have access to all of their college resources and books, as well as be informed about these alternatives instead of being told to go on a fetch quest for them. We’re all students here. We need these books to research and develop our skills.
There needs to be more initiative in relation to book acquisition for students – new students especially. Finding a solution for this would greatly reduce the amount of money that students have to spend in their day-to-day lives.