New law library textbook lending program aims to help students with financial need

A new program launching at the Alyne Queener Massey Law Library in January will enable Vanderbilt Law School students to borrow essential textbooks for the full length of a semester and help alleviate some of the costs associated with attending law school. 

Larry Reeves (Vanderbilt University)
Larry Reeves
(Vanderbilt University)

The initiative, which uses donated textbooks, is a collaboration between the law library and the Vanderbilt Bar Association, the official student government organization of the Law School. 

“This student-led initiative is innovative among academic law libraries and a true collaboration with the VBA and across library departments,” said Larry Reeves, associate dean and director of the law library, associate university librarian and professor of law. “The Massey Law Library will house and circulate these materials for students who have a financial need. The effort speaks to the Law School’s strong sense of community and the eagerness among students to support their peers’ success.” 

The VBA solicits donations for the textbooks, which are then routed to the law library for processing. Students can search the libraries’ catalog to see which textbooks are available in the VBA collection. Law library staff will ensure the most recent editions of the textbooks are in circulation. 

Katie Hanschke, associate director of public services; Sara Saddler, collection services librarian; and Ashli Wells, access services librarian, helped to implement the program, which is available to any law student with a financial need and relies on the honor system. Eligible students may check out materials for the full semester.  

Emma Harrison (Vanderbilt University)
Emma Harrison
(Vanderbilt University)

Third-year law student Emma Harrison has been instrumental in steering the program. Harrison, who is planning a career as a public defender, credits her commitment to equity—and her experience as a student worker at the law library—for inspiration.  

“As a first-generation law student, I saw firsthand how costly textbooks are for each class. I would not want anyone to change their goals of becoming a lawyer because they could not afford their textbooks,” Harrison said. “My hope is that this program grows to allow every student access to the textbooks they need to succeed at Vanderbilt Law School. This is just one step to making law school more accessible.” 

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