KU student Susan Nazzaro creates a way for low-income students to get free textbooks

By Lexi Rute
Contributing Writer

KU English major Susan Nazzaro has created a way for low-income students to get their textbooks for free with the Little Scholastic Free Library.

If the library has enough support then it will continue to work and many students, such as Alexander Yerges, a transfer student, said they would donate books to help.

The Little Scholastic Free Library is simple in its workings. If a student didn’t need their books after the end of a semester, they can donate their books to the library, located in the English student lounge. Then a student who cannot afford to purchase their books can go to the library and get the books they need, if they happen to be there.

At the moment, the library consists of mostly English textbooks. There are a few history textbooks that Nazzaro has donated herself. 

Susan Nazzaro showing off her free library.

Nazzaro, age 72, is retired and on a fixed income. She takes one or two classes a semester, making her a part-time student. The idea for this library came from her experiences with buying and renting books. 

At the end of her first semester, she tried selling back the books to the campus store and only received $5.00 for all her textbooks together. Then she decided to just rent her books. However, there were still books that she had to buy. She decided to give those books to the professor of that class for a student who could not afford their books the following semester.

Nazzaro was talking to her professors, Anne Delong and Curtis Herr, after class in the spring of 2019 when she came up with the idea.

“I was telling them that it would be nice if we could do this more often and expand it somehow,” said Nazzaro.

They came up with a free library in the student lounge located across from the English department office in Lytle. Andrea Buno, the English department secretary, gave Nazzaro a space in the lounge to use for the bookshelf.

 “Besides opening the door and showing Susan the bookcase where she can place this all, she has done it all on her own,” said Andrea Buno.

Nazzaro tells all of her classes about the free library at the end of each semester. She emails professors and asks if they have any books they could donate to keep the library alive.

“I do mention the library in all my classes,” said Anne Delong, a KU English professor.

Nazzaro measures the library’s success by the fact that the books are taken and donated each semester.

The original plan for the library included cards to be filled out by the giver and receiver explaining which class the book was for, who the professor was and more. However, no one was following those rules, which made Nazzaro decide to just step back and let the free library work on its own.

Her plan for the future is for each department of Kutztown University to have a Little Scholastic Free Library.  She would like, at the very least, for all Lytle building academic departments to be participants. Nazzaro has already spoken with the history department and History Club to try and get them on board.

Her next steps are to continue with the history department and to talk with the math department to see if they will participate.  The library is open to anyone at any time.


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