The Friends of the Texas A&M University Libraries exist to cultivate student success with research collections, digital technology and study spaces; to assist in fundraising for library priorities and to promote membership in the Friends.
For many students already struggling to pay for college, the high cost of commercial textbooks can pose a serious barrier to access higher education and can detrimentally affect student learning, retention, and graduation rates once enrolled. Open Educational Resources (OER) are low- to no-cost alternatives for textbooks. Faculty instructors can create, adopt, or adapt an OER in their subject area to suit the needs of that course. Instructors are able to customize the textbook, supporting their efforts to design innovative, effective instructional materials and align these materials to their course goals and objectives. When they customize these resources, they increase critical thinking outcomes by incorporating information literacy into these online materials. The best part – it saves students the cost of a textbook!
Over the past few years, there have been several faculty instructors who have written or adopted OER for their courses, saving students hundreds of dollars in textbook costs. For example, textbooks used in some of the courses that are proposing OER as an alternative will cost an estimated $92,300 for one semester alone. Your Friends’ support will provide funding to create learning circles for faculty. These collaborative circles are highly promoted by librarians. Participation by faculty increases OER awareness, cost savings for students, adoption/creation of research materials that can be shared with others, and builds relationships across colleges and units. Librarians are key members of the learning circles by integrating information literacy into the OER. Funding will be used to incentivize participation in learning circles, provide student worker support for OER work, and cover publication costs. When an OER is adopted, students save money by not having to purchase a commercial textbook!
As the Texas A&M University student population grows, the need for electronic equipment for check-out is in demand. One of the many resources the Libraries provides is access to laptops, cameras, camcorders, and projectors for patrons to check out and use for coursework, projects and presentations. By funding the purchase of new equipment, this will allow the Libraries to purchase more equipment to meet this need and to refresh some of the older outdated equipment.
This rare collection of original photographs offers a glimpse into everyday life of turn of the 20th century Mexico. This album captures moments such as a street scene in Mexico, a pottery market, a summer house in Mexico, a group of women and children, and a colored photograph of a peasant among many other photos. This album will be a valuable addition to the special collections held at Cushing Memorial Library & Archives and will become part of the Area Studies Hispanic Collections that document the culture, history, and life throughout the Spanish language diaspora. This album also connects to Cushing collections related to Borderlands, photographic history, women’s and gender studies, and internationalism.
The Friends funded the restoration of the Desert Traders artwork.
The Friends funded the conservation of the World War I service flag and the Corregidor flag. The conservator was able to stabilize both flags and prevent any further damage to the treasures.
The Friends funded the purchase of the University Libraries’ 6 millionth volume: Extracts from the Votes and Proceedings of the American Continental Congress, 1774, 1775. The final and most complete version of the Extracts condenses the most important proceedings of the First Continental Congress and adds the proceedings of a Pennsylvania convention of January 1775. This final, complete version of the Extracts is significantly rarer than any of the version published later in 1774.
As part of a $150,000 initiative for the University Libraries’ Preservation Unit, the Friends funded the purchase of a high-resolution book scanning system – the fastest, highest quality book scanner utilizing two camera systems with a dual pedal-operated book cradle.
Part of the Preservation Initiative was also used to establish the Friends Preservation Assistance Program Fund which will be used to aid other A&M organizations and/or departments in reviewing, identifying, and preserving collections crucial for academic success and protecting items that are historically significant to Aggie history.