Notice: Access to Special Collections material, the Reading Room, and Instruction will temporarily be suspended starting on Aug.12, 2024 as the collection will be moved from the basement to 3 East. Normal operations are anticipated to resume late in the semester. Read more for current updates.
Notice: Access to Special Collections material, the Reading Room, and Instruction will temporarily be suspended starting on Aug.12, 2024 as the collection will be moved from the basement to 3 East. Normal operations are anticipated to resume late in the semester. Read more for current updates.
Notice: Due to ongoing construction, 4 East is currently closed to the public.  To obtain items located on 4 East, please place an online request for the item to be paged for you using the ‘Place Request’ button in the catalog. Please visit our Circulation FAQ page for assistance in using our catalog.
Notice: Due to ongoing construction, 4 East is currently closed to the public.  To obtain items located on 4 East, please place an online request for the item to be paged for you using the ‘Place Request’ button in the catalog. Please visit our Circulation FAQ page for assistance in using our catalog.

Textbook Programs & Information 

The Michigan State University Libraries continuously explore ways to provide textbooks and course materials at no cost to MSU students. If you're interested to learn about the programs and ways we're helping make textbook and course material costs affordable for students, please refer to the sections below. 

Table of contents

Course Reserves

Course reserves are required books, coursepacks and other materials that are available for the entire class to access. Many items are on reserve electronically. Some electronic books only allow a few users at a time, while others allow unlimited users. These electronic books also have different restrictions on downloading and printing.

Print items have shorter loan periods (2 hours for most) and must be used inside the Libraries to ensure students in a course can access and use them.

Course Reserves FAQ

Course Material Program

MSU Libraries Course Materials Program provides faculty with research, referrals, and production support for course packs, online library resources, and contacts within the library. All materials sold to students are produced at cost on a nonprofit basis.

Electronic Textbooks, Books & Materials

When required textbooks, books and other materials are available for the MSU Libraries to purchase electronically, we try to! Unfortunately, many publishers do not provide electronic purchasing options for textbooks to libraries so some of our resources are only available in print.

We prefer to purchase online textbooks and materials that allow unlimited users and are Digital Rights Management (DRM)-free. When publishers only allow one or a few users at at time and put restrictions on downloading and printing, we will purchase the best available option.

Cambridge University Press Electronic Textbook Package

The MSU Libraries subscribes to the entire package of Cambridge University Press' online textbooks, over 1,000 titles. Cambridge titles we've identified as being used for MSU courses should be in our course search and our catalog/library search.

Instructors interested in using a Cambridge textbook for their course can search Cambridge Textbooks Online or contact course reserves.

Health Sciences

The MSU Libraries has textbook, video, and question bank resources for MSU health sciences programs in the College of Human Medicine, College of Nursing, College of Osteopathic Medicine, and College of Veterinary Medicine. The electronic medical book guide lists the most commonly used textbooks for medical students with links to guides for the physicians assistants, nursing, and veterinary medicine programs. We try and purchase everything we can electronically and with unlimited simultaneous users, but for textbooks only available in print for Libraries to purchase, we will get the physical book. Print books and their locations are noted in the guides.

Open Educational Resources

Open educational resources (OER) are teaching, learning, and research resources that are copyright-free (public domain) or have been released under an open license that permits others to reuse, revise, remix, retain, and redistribute them. The MSU Libraries OER program offers financial and practical support and services to MSU faculty and courses interested in using, adopting, or creating OER. 

Affordable Textbook Program

The Affordable Textbook Program is intended to help alleviate the high costs that MSU students face when paying for their textbooks and to ensure students have access to their textbooks so they can succeed in class. As part of this program, the MSU Libraries have purchased multiple copies of textbooks for some MSU courses with high undergraduate enrollments and/or high cost textbooks. These textbooks are placed on Course Reserves in Main Library or the Business Library.