Textbooks

Free Resources During the COVID-19 Virtual Learning Period 

Please note that, unless otherwise noted, these offers and from vendors and not sponsored or in any way affiliated with GW Libraries. Please read and understand the terms before signing up for any of these offers. 

Internet Access

Comcast -- two months free to new "Internet Essentials" customers in response to COVID-19 disruptions.

Charter --  free Spectrum broadband and wifi access for 60 days to households with college students who do not already have a Spectrum broadband subscription.

Altice USA -- free for 60 days to any new customer household within the service area for households with K-12 and/or college students who may be displaced due to school closures and who do not currently have home internet access.

Free Textbooks

RedShelf -- The GW Campus Store has partnered with the publishing community to provide you with up to 7 free eBooks from participating publishers through May 25th. Links to the digital version of individual Top Textbooks are available on the Top Textbooks page. You will be required to create a free RedShelf account with your GW email address to borrow books. Visit RedShelf to see if your other assigned textbooks are available. 

VitalSource --  Students and instructors at impacted 2 and 4-year non-profit institutions in the U.S. and Canada can access an expansive catalog of etexts, through May 25, 2020 in the US and April 30, 2020 in Canada, at no charge. You will be required to create a free VitalSource account with your GW email address to borrow books.

Common Ways to Obtaining Textbooks

Review common ways of obtaining textbooks and other materials needed for courses. Textbooks are not covered by tuition.

  • Determine textbooks for classes: Professors will let you know what the required textbooks are for your course through the syllabus. Additionally, you can use the GW Bookstore to search for which textbooks are needed for specific classes.
  • Open Educational Resources (OER) are course materials that are freely and openly available, making education more accessible and affordable. This includes textbooks that are openly licensed for use.
  • Top Textbooks: GW Libraries acquires up to five copies of required textbooks for a select group of undergraduate, high enrollment courses with traditionally expensive textbooks and places them on course reserve for use by all students. Textbooks are available for use in accordance with current course reserve practices and loan periods at any time the Gelman Library Check Out Desk is open.
  • Find a book at GW Libraries: GW Libraries uses call numbers, determined by the Library of Congress, to organize its shelves. Learn how to use the call number to find your book.
  • Search the catalog: Search for articles, books, e-books, media, and archival resources at GW and WRLC libraries.
  • Course Reserves: Professors may place materials on reserve for your course. Learn about how to access these materials at Gelman Library.
  • GW Bookstore: Students can also buy and rent textbooks and other course materials through the Bookstore.

Open Educational Resources

Open Educational Resources (OER) course materials are freely and openly available, making education more affordable and easy to access. This includes textbooks that are openly licensed for use. Because the material has nonrestrictive licensing, your professor can reuse, revise, and combine the material to customize it for their courses, and there is typically no expiration date on digital materials. With open textbooks, online and downloadable versions are often free of cost and access barriers, and print copies are significantly less expensive than traditional textbooks.

When talking to professors about the possibility of adopting open textbooks, personal stories are frequently more effective than dry data. Students interested in using OER can include a statement about OER in class evaluations or talk to their teaching/graduate assistants and faculty advisors about the benefits of using OER.

GW Libraries can provide assistance to professors in finding open textbooks relevant to their course and redesigning a curriculum with OER in mind.