Bloomsburg University student helps peers cut costs through free textbook library

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BLOOMSBURG, COLUMBIA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — We’ve seen sharing services save people lots of money. Ridesharing is just one example. But now a local university student has taken the idea and applied it at an academic level.

And it’s proving cost effective, saving students thousands in used book fees.

“You think about the tuition which is expensive, and then your housing, and then you have to think about meals, and then you finally get to class and you have to buy your books,” Bloomsburg University junior and BU Book Pantry founder Cameron O’Neill said.

O’Neill came up with a resourceful way to help her peers save money. The Mountain Top native started the BU Book Pantry, a free program that allows students to share their college textbooks.

“I talked to a lot of my classmates and my peers and they were in the same boat, they didn’t have the money to just keep buying five or six books for each class, each semester,” O’Neill said.

“It does add up,” junior Morgan Schimer said.

The idea came about last year when O’Neill observed her classmates borrowing each other’s books because they couldn’t afford to buy all of them. A reality many college students are faced with.

“Actually, in my one class we have four we need for the one class, two for the other class, yeah it’s about eight this semester,” Schimer said.

Throughout the pandemic, O’Neill says both students and alumni have donated their used books.
A gesture that’s gone a long way for some Bloomsburg University Huskies looking to save money on their journey to success.

“At the moment, we have collected 250 books, and during COVID this is really a big number especially since students had online classes. We were still able to gather that many books. And that comes to a total of around $12,000 savings,” O’Neill said.

O’Neill hopes the BU Book Pantry becomes a permanent resource Bloomsburg University students can use for years to come.

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