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A Student's Guide Textbook Affordability Support at VCU Libraries

Does the library have a copy of your course materials?

VCU Libraries are a great resource for course materials. Our materials are freely available to faculty and students and they cover a wide breadth of content, from books to films and a lot in between.

  • Some books in our collection are unlimited user ebooks, which means no matter how big the class, everyone can access the digital book at the same time. These ebooks often allow for printing, saving, and other options that are helpful when reading.
    • If our ebook version differs from what is on your syllabus (e.g. different edition), ask your professor if that version is ok for your course.
    • While these books typically won't be traditional commercial textbooks (e.g. your Algebra 1 book), a number of books we own are assigned reading. 
    • If an ebook doesn't have unlimited users, it functions much like its print counterparts: if one person is using the text, no one else can access it. If you're having problems accessing a book, this might be why. 
  • Faculty can also contact the library to place library-owned, instructors- or department-owned materials on reserve. Referred to as Course Reserves, these materials can be checked out from the library for short periods of time.
  • Course content is not limited to books. The library also has access to various databases, film catalogs, and more.

Important Links:

How do I search for ebooks?

The best way to find ebooks is to start with the VCU Libraries website at Using the VCU Libraries website to search for ebooks -- instead of searching each individual ebook platform -- is generally recommended so that you can see what's available across a variety of platforms.

To start, type your search into the yellow bar and click Search. NOTE: If you are searching for a title, searching for a partial title (e.g. leaving out the subheading) can sometimes be helpful. 

VCU Libraries search bar

If you are on the Health Sciences Library's website, make sure you switch "PubMed" to "VCU Libraries" to search the website.

Health Sciences Library search bar

On the right-hand side of your results page, filter by Material Type (Books) and Show Only (Access Online). You may also want to filter by Publication Date.

For the "Material Type" filter, you may need to click on "Show more" to select the "Books" filter.

You should now be able to view ebooks available to you through VCU Libraries across various platforms.