Student Access to Free eTextbooks & Library Materials - (COVID-19)

The Courtright Memorial Library building may be closed, but the Library staff, services and e-Resources are here for you! Please see our Collections page for access to our e-Resources 24/7, as well as our virtual library hours. The Virtual Library LibGuide curates important access and information for you during this time.

We know the library building closure and transition to online classes impacts course reserves and your ability to gain access to textbooks. See below for a few suggestions as classes move online.

Free electronic access to your textbooks

You are encouraged to reach out to your professor first. Your professor, as able, is working with the Otterbein Bookstore or the textbook publisher to see if any special considerations can be made. There are also several companies providing access to digital textbooks for free for the duration of the term. Two aggregators of textbooks, which offer larger collections of textbook material from a wide variety of publishers – including Cengage Learning, Human Kinetics, McGraw Hill Higher Education, Pearson, as well as hundreds more – are shared below.

Note that not every textbook currently being used on campus may be accessible through these platforms – again, ask your professor.

  • Vital Source Helps
    The VitalSource Helps program offers free access to tens of thousands of eBooks through May 25, 2020 to affected approved 2- and 4-year schools – Otterbein included! To get started just create an account with your email address, add up to a maximum of 7 texts to borrow, and access them from your bookshelf online or via the mobile app. Content will be available through May 25, 2020. Once the free access period ends, you will maintain access to their Bookshelf account. However, eBooks provided during the VitalSource Helps program will no longer appear.
  • Open Textbook Library via University of Minnesota
    All of these textbooks are under a Creative Commons license and are free to use and download. Many are peer-reviewed by professors who have used these books in their classes.
  • OpenStax via Rice University
    Freely licensed textbooks available in to read online or download in multiple formats, including some classroom resources as well.
  • RedShelf
    Follett, Otterbein’s Bookstore provider, is partnering with RedShelf, to provide 7 free eBooks (via digital access) to students. The student can find the link on our bookstore website and must use their email account to get access.
  • Directory of Open Access Books
    This directory includes peer-reviewed books published under open access licenses by academic publishers
  • Perusall
    Perusall have arranged with an increasing number of publishers to offer free textbook rentals in Perusall for students in ongoing courses affected by COVID-19. Those currently participating include:Broadview Press
    Cambridge University Press
    McGraw-Hill Education
    Oxford University Press
    Princeton University Press
    Taylor and Francis (including Routledge and CRC Press)
    W. W. Norton & CompanyIf you’d like to take advantage of this offer for your course, email them at and let them know what book(s) you are using in your course and how many students you have. If permitted to by the publisher, they’ll provide you with an access code your students can use to bypass the paywall for your book(s) until at least May 25.

Scan and share from personally held copies

Does a professor or peer have both a personal copy of the textbook and access to a working scanner or can take photos with a phone by downloading a scanning app)? If so, you can scan pages of the personal textbook copy and share with your peers via Blackboard (which has login protection to source content).


Please note that though not waived, copyright expectations regarding Fair Use can be flexibly applied to content needed for instructional use during this state of emergency period.
Here is the link for the copyright document:

Access to materials on Course Reserve

This option is unavailable at this time. For everyone’s health and safety, librarians are working from home, and all materials will stay in the closed library building, particularly since we understand that the virus can linger on materials for as long as 3 days depending upon the type of surface.
Source: N van Doremalen, et al. Aerosol and surface stability of HCoV-19 (SARSCoV-2) compared to SARS-CoV-1. The New England Journal of Medicine. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMc2004973 (2020).

Library Hours

Beginning Tuesday March 17th, the library building will be closed with virtual services available during posted hours.

Research Help services will be available from 9am-6pm via virtual communication. Ask a Librarian via chatemail, or text. You can also email your Personal Librarian directly. Digital resources remain available 24/7.

Contact the Library

138 West Main Street.
Westerville, OH 43081

Comments, Suggestions?

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