A different kind of library

It may seem hard to avoid racking up a pricey bill when it comes to buying textbooks, but some UVM students are trying to change that.

Books 4 Equality is a free library accessible online for anyone to view, search and borrow books from, according to their website.

“Equal access to textbooks for everyone. For free,” is the group’s mission statement.

Started by UVM graduates Ben Kaufman, Javier Garcia-Bernardo and senior Alex Perkins, Books 4 Equality has grown since the program started last year.

“I joined [Books 4 Equality] because I realized that there was a need for this in a college market, it’s crucial and important,” senior Brian Killackey said.

The group now boasts over 1,000 books, said senior Kelly Molloy, who is responsible for social media outreach and marketing.

“We had a collection cycle last semester where we put in over a thousand books from the UVM students and professors,” Ben Vaughan said, business analytics and development coordinator.

With their stockpile growing, the group hopes to start generating revenue to get storage space, Vaughan said.

In the meantime, the focus is building a “membership base,” he said.

“We are trying to build a model, or a system that we can then make available to other schools and campuses,” Vaughan said. “You can save your community, in a sustainable way that won’t cost you anything other than a little work. You can get a lot out of it.”

Toby Howe, who is in charge of business and community outreach, said they are hoping to make the program sustainable.

“We are all leaving here in a couple years and we our hoping to pass this on,” Howe said. “We want to be able to expand [Books 4 Equality] to other campuses.”

Howe also said the group is always looking for volunteers and is hoping to hire interns this semester.

Books 4 Equality uses online resources such as social media and their website for students to search through books by title or ISBN number, Molloy said.

As for donations, the group will be tabling once a week but Molloy said their main opportunity to collect books will be at the end of the semester.

“Our presence on campus definitely won’t be going away in the middle of the semester,” Molloy said. “We have some plans in the work.”