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Open Educational Resources

Time is Money

OER is all about saving money by using free eTextbooks someone else made or by making your own with Open Educational Resource.

But that can be time consuming. Sometime the most effective way to provide an eTextbook to your students at no cost to them is to buy an appropriate eBook with unlimited users.

Each semester the Thrift Library provides up to 100 eTextbooks for use by classroom students at no cost to them.


  • As many as one in four eTextbooks are available for the library.
  • Average cost - $65.00

You can greatly improve the chances of providing your students eTextbooks by consulting your library liaison before choosing a title.

Thrift Library eTextbook initiative

  • Every semester the Thrift Library purchases every available textbook in an unlimited user eBook format.
  • It does not attempt to purchase textbooks in print as 1) that would wipe out our budget and 2) only one person can use a print textbook at a time.

Why do we do this?

Free textbooks have been shown to 

  • Reduce course withdrawals
  • Improve grades
  • Improve graduation rates

Get your free eTextbooks Here



  • Titles are in alphabetical order. Remember to look for your title under A, An, and The
  • The URL is in the last column on the right and has been modified for off campus use.
  • Always verify the url from off campus.
  • Always verify the title. This cannot be done by ISBN because eBooks have different ISBNs than books, and often different copyright dates.
  • Only you can decide if a Similar title is appropriate. Similar titles may be a different edition, copyright date, or even publisher. For instance, we have multiple versions for classics such as Northanger Abbey, Utopia and Candide. You would have to decide if any of these substitutes are appropriate.

The chances of the library offering a free textbook for a particular class during the Spring of 2022 was one in four. Why? Because three out of four eTextbooks were not available for purchase by libraries for unlimited users - or at all.



Viewing / Printing / Downloading 

With over a dozen eBook databases, the rules of use can vary greatly. While all databases let you view content freely,

  • Some provide access to the whole eBook, others to individual chapters, others to both.
  • Some require you to create a personal print or download.
  • Some require you to install third party software to download, first to your computer, then to your device.
  • Some limit the amount of pages you can print or download.
  • Some allow you to keep what you download. Others do not.
  • Not all allow downloading, and in some cases "downloading" really means "borrowing," with a limit of 3 to 40 days.