A program that allows Southern Oregon University students access to expensive textbooks through the library will continue next year, thanks to an agreement between students and the administration to share the cost.

A program that allows Southern Oregon University students access to expensive textbooks through the library will continue next year, thanks to an agreement between students and the administration to share the cost.

The SOU Bookstore had announced last month it would have to end the Textbook Share Program in June because of budget restrictions. The Associated Students of SOU met with the provost's office and devised a plan to split the program's yearly cost of $14,000 starting in the fall.

ASSOU is funded by student incidental fees, which this year cost $286 each term for full-time students and goes toward athletics, campus clubs, resource centers, maintenance of the Stevenson Union and other programs.

"It is a great example of collaboration across sectors of the institution and a clear sign that everyone is working together for the best interest of our students," said Jonathan Eldridge, vice president for student affairs.

The text share program was created in 2002 after students expressed concern over the textbook industry's escalating prices. The SOU Bookstore has been giving a copy of every textbook that cost $100 or more to the library to be placed on reserve for students to check out for library use only for a maximum of four hours.

Many students were disappointed by the decision to close the program and talked with student government. They also created a Facebook page called "Save SOU Text Share," which so far has more than 300 members.

School officials plan to create a task force of faculty, staff and students to address the issue in the long term, they said. The group will be in charge of looking at innovative ways to reduce the impact of escalating textbook costs, including rental programs and increased use of electronic and open-source materials.

Ashe Lyon is a freelance writer living in Ashland. Reach her at ashe.lyon@gmail.com.