SGA initiative plans to provide free access textbooks


Ryan Clayton

Textbooks donated by students and faculty located in Moffett Library, March 10.

The Student Government Association is hosting a semester-long book drive for the MSU Texas campus, where students may donate old textbooks to the library for other students to check out, instead of purchasing on their own.  The SGA office is taking textbooks donations throughout the remainder of the Spring 2021 semester. 

“The textbook initiative is basically a drive for students and faculty to donate used textbooks or instructor copies of books to the library,” Brian Lang, secretary of the SGA, frequent creative contributor to The Wichitan and biology and psychology senior, said. “These donated books will be placed on course reserve, which means that students can use them at any time, but they can’t leave the library.”

Brian Lang sees textbooks as a significant cost in attending college. Despite options like and rental books, which provide cheaper alternatives, textbook access from the library has been unavailable to MSU students until the initiative.

“Really, my goal has always been to provide a cheaper option for students who need books, especially in their core classes,” Lang said. “It’s silly to buy or rent a book that’s not in your degree plan, and I felt like this was an easy alternative to that system.”

Lang made contact with Moffett Library last semester and has delivered several textbooks to MSU librarian, Cortny Bates.  The library is already in the process of adding those textbooks to its system.

“Brian has done most of the work by gathering the textbooks and the cataloger is now responsible for getting them in our system and available for students,” Bates said.  “Students can check out the available textbooks for 4 hours at the Circulation Desk with their MSU ID.”

Lang brainstormed the initiative a year ago when he was chair of the SGA’s Public Policy Committee. However, the pandemic put the project on hold.  This year, with most students back on campus, Lang felt he could take the initiative into the spotlight.

“When I was elected Secretary for this school year, I really wanted to finish this project,”  Lang said. “It’s kind of been my baby over the past year, but I’ve definitely gotten lots of help from the administration, and I’m working with the library to make it work.”

The initiative won’t need approval from the SGA, but it depends on MSU’s students and instructors providing a collection of textbooks for the library. However, Lang is pushing for a provision that he thinks will give the initiative an extra boost in awareness each semester.

“The SGA won’t vote on this initiative per se since the project itself won’t require a bill, but I’m working on a bill that would require professors to mention the initiative in their syllabi,” Lang said. “That way, it will get free advertising every semester.”

Lang foresees other positives to the initiative beyond reducing costs. Studies show anxiety negatively impacts college achievement, and Lang views alleviating college expenses as a way of reducing student stress and increasing student grades.

“My goal is that this will help boost academic performance at MSU simply by eliminating a financial obstacle that many students face in their courses each semester,” Lang said. “My long-term goal with this is that it’s something that a lot of students use and continue to donate over the next few years.”

The initiative depends on textbook donations from MSU students, and some students are already taking the SGA up on their offer.  Seventy books have been donated to the drive, and Lang plans to deliver the books to the library soon. Located in the Clark Student Center Atrium, the SGA Office is still taking textbooks to further the goal of a more affordable college education.