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profile-icon Laura M. Ponikvar

Help! I can't afford my books!


Help! I can't afford my books! infographicYou are NOT alone!

There are a lot of CIA students who cannot afford to purchase required or recommended reading materials for their classes. The library wants to help you find the materials you need to be successful in your classes at CIA.


Here are a few things you should definitely do:

1. Check the library

  • See if the library already has a copy of your textbook. The easiest way to see if we have a copy is to use Quick Search (aka EBSCO Discovery) to look for the book. 
  • It's possible that your faculty member put the book on course reserves in the library. That means we have a copy of the book in our library that you can use for three hours at a time in the library. If your textbook is not on course reserves, let us know! We will put it on reserve so that it's available for you and your classmates. Log on to Canvas and check the library's page in Canvas for links to our course reserves. Tip: if the page is blank, then you need to log into Canvas.
  • Need help? No problem. Stop by the library, start a chat, email us or call us on the phone. We want to help you find the materials you need. Contact us!

2. Ask your professor...

  • if an older, less expensive edition is similar enough for you to use.
  • to check with the CIA Library about putting a copy on course reserves OR to ask the library to purchase a copy for course reserves
  • to check with the library director about free and/or affordable course material alternatives

3. Get creative! 

  • Stop by the library, start a chat, email us or call us on the phone. We want to help you find the materials you need without spending a lot of money! Contact us!
  • Check Ohiolink to see if you can get a copy from another library. Remember to ask us for help if you don't know how to do this!
  • Look for used copies or rentals online.
  • Borrow or share with a friend.

4. Advocate for yourself and for other students!

Tell anyone and everyone about the issue. They need to know about the problem before they can help fix it. There are alternatives and we all need to work together to make learning materials more affordable!



Credit: This is a derivative of Help! I can't afford my books! ( by JMU Libraries, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC-BY). Thank you to Liz Thompson at JMU Libraries.

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profile-icon Starr Dobson


Save the Date! Library calendar of events.


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profile-icon Jackie Mayse

Apply for the Student Library Assistant job at

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profile-icon Dana Bjorklund
Cover ArtHood Feminism by Mikki Kendall
Call Number: E 185.86 .K46 2021
A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER "The fights against hunger, homelessness, poverty, health disparities, poor schools, homophobia, transphobia, and domestic violence are feminist fights. Kendall offers a feminism rooted in the livelihood of everyday women." --Ibram X. Kendi, #1 New York Times-bestselling author of  How to Be an Antiracist, in The Atlantic "One of the most important books of the current moment."--Time   "A rousing call to action... It should be required reading for everyone."--Gabrielle Union, author of We're Going to Need More Wine A potent and electrifying critique of today's feminist movement announcing a fresh new voice in black feminism Today's feminist movement has a glaring blind spot, and paradoxically, it is women. Mainstream feminists rarely talk about meeting basic needs as a feminist issue, argues Mikki Kendall, but food insecurity, access to quality education, safe neighborhoods, a living wage, and medical care are all feminist issues. All too often, however, the focus is not on basic survival for the many, but on increasing privilege for the few. That feminists refuse to prioritize these issues has only exacerbated the age-old problem of both internecine discord and women who rebuff at carrying the title. Moreover, prominent white feminists broadly suffer from their own myopia with regard to how things like race, class, sexual orientation, and ability intersect with gender. How can we stand in solidarity as a movement, Kendall asks, when there is the distinct likelihood that some women are oppressing others? In her searing collection of essays, Mikki Kendall takes aim at the legitimacy of the modern feminist movement, arguing that it has chronically failed to address the needs of all but a few women. Drawing on her own experiences with hunger, violence, and hypersexualization, along with incisive commentary on reproductive rights, politics, pop culture, the stigma of mental health, and more, Hood Feminism delivers an irrefutable indictment of a movement in flux. An unforgettable debut, Kendall has written a ferocious clarion call to all would-be feminists to live out the true mandate of the movement in thought and in deed.
Cover ArtTropical Aesthetics of Black Modernism by Samantha A. Noël
Call Number: N 6538 .A35 N64 2021
In Tropical Aesthetics of Black Modernism, Samantha A. Noël investigates how Black Caribbean and American artists of the early twentieth century responded to and challenged colonial and other white-dominant regimes through tropicalist representation. With depictions of tropical scenery and landscapes situated throughout the African diaspora, performances staged in tropical settings, and bodily expressions of tropicality during Carnival, artists such as Aaron Douglas, Wifredo Lam, Josephine Baker, and Maya Angelou developed what Noël calls "tropical aesthetics"--using art to name and reclaim spaces of Black sovereignty. As a unifying element in the Caribbean modern art movement and the Harlem Renaissance, tropical aesthetics became a way for visual artists and performers to express their sense of belonging to and rootedness in a place. Tropical aesthetics, Noël contends, became central to these artists' identities and creative processes while enabling them to craft alternative Black diasporic histories. In outlining the centrality of tropical aesthetics in the artistic and cultural practices of Black modernist art, Noël recasts understandings of African diasporic art.
Cover ArtBetye Saar by Carol S. Eliel
Call Number: N 6537 .S227 E45 2019
This publication presents Betye Saar's sketchbooks--which she has kept during her entire career--for the first time and offers insights into the artist's creative process. A child of the Great Depression and one of the only African American students in her UCLA art program, Betye Saar has, over the course of more than six decades, made work that exposes stereotypes and injustices based on race and gender. From early prints and watercolors to Joseph Cornell-inspired assemblages and full-scale sculptural tableaux, her work has inspired generations of artists. This ingeniously designed publication plays off the format of Saar's original sketchbooks. Made throughout her extraordinary career, Saar's sketches are an integral part of her creative process and offer a greater understanding of the themes woven into her finished works, which are also featured in the book. Saar's sources and influences range from Simon Rodia's Watts Towers and Haitian Vodou fetishes to Australian Aboriginal paintings, Native American leatherwork, and African American history, literature, and music. An original, intimate, and valuable resource for Saar's many fans, this book will also educate future generations about Saar's significant contributions to American art. 

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