Day of Giving funds support online textbook initiative

SIU Morris Library

Morris Library launched the SIU Affordable Textbook Initiative in 2021 to increase equity in student success by decreasing course material costs.

The initiative is just one of myriad critical ways that SIU’s Day of Giving has made a daily impact on Salukis. The Day of Giving is a 24-hour fundraiser during which donors are encouraged to give whatever they can to support SIU students and faculty.

“We’ve used Day of Giving money to fund the initial two years of the SIU Affordable Textbook Initiative. Building on the early success of the Initiative, we’ve also received additional grant funding from the Consortium of Academic and Research Libraries (CARLI) to develop open textbooks and open course materials for high enrollment courses,” Dean of Library Affairs John Pollitz said.

These open textbooks reside in the public domain or have been legally released for repurposing. Faculty are incentivized to find out about potential avenues for open textbooks and adapt them to their classes.

“We’ve tried very hard to raise awareness of free online textbooks and how they make college more affordable,” Pollitz said. “There’s been significant movement around the country to create open educational resources. They are an important tool in student retention.”

This leaves printing pages of the online textbooks, which is optional, as the only cost to students enrolled in courses which use an open textbook. After tuition, textbooks are usually the biggest financial drain facing students. According to the most recent data by the SIU Office of Financial Aid, an undergraduate will spend an average of $1,100 on textbooks during the 2022-23 academic year.

Funds from the Day of Giving allow Morris Library to advance the creation of open textbooks in the curriculum, which keeps money in students’ pockets.

Morris Library staff member Amber Burtis, who oversees the Affordable Textbook Initiative, noted that studies have shown that a majority of faculty and students perceive the quality of open textbooks to usually be equal, if not better than, commercial textbooks.

Pollitz estimates students have saved nearly $40,000 to date, but he hopes that the number reaches six figures soon with increased exposure to the program for students and opportunities created by faculty.

In past years, Morris Library has also used Day of Giving money for a state-of-the-art podcast booth and a high-tech scanner. Your Day of Giving donation to Morris Library is an investment in SIUC students. Learn more at

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