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Top Textbooks

The Top Textbooks at GW Libraries program acquires up to three copies of required textbooks for a select group of undergraduate, high enrollment courses with traditionally expensive textbooks and places them on course reserve for use by all students. Textbooks are available at Gelman Library for use in accordance with current course reserve practices and loan periods. 

Courses Included for Spring 2023

ACCY 2001     Introduction to Financial Accounting
ACCY 2002     Introduction to Managerial Accounting (Buzinkai only)
AMST 2011/HIST 2011    Modern American Cultural History
ASTR 1002     Origins of the Cosmos
BISC 1112     Introductory Biology: Biology of Organisms
BISC 2452     Animal Behavior
CAH 1091      Art History II: Historical Perspectives in the Visual Arts
CHEM 1004     Medicinal Chemistry for Non-Science Majors
CHEM 2152     Organic Chemistry II (Dowd only)
CHIN 1002    Beginning Chinese II
CLAS 1001    Ancient Mediterranean Civilizations 
ECON 1012     Principles of Economics II (Bird only)
ECON 2101     Intermediate Microeconomic Theory (Joshi & Malik only)
ECON 2102     Intermediate Macroeconomic Theory (Tien only)
ECON 2151     Economic Development
ECON 2181     International Trade (Chen only)
EHS 1040     Emergency Medical Tech-Basic
FILM 2154     History of World Cinema II
FORS 2107     Fundamentals of Forensic Science
GEOG 1001     Introduction to Human Geography
GEOG 1003     Society and Environment
GEOL 1001    Physical Geology
GEOL 1002     Historical Geology (Jerez only)
GEOL 1005     Environmental Geology
HIST 1011     World History, 1500-Present
HIST 1311     American History since 1877 (Berolet only)
HIST 2011/AMST 2011    Modern American Cultural History
HSCI 2101     Psychosocial Aspects of Health and Illness
IAFF 1005     Introduction to International Affairs -- Additional IAFF 1005 book
IBUS 3001     Introduction to International Business (Rodrigo Flores only)
IBUS 3301     International Business Finance
MAE 2131     Thermodynamics 
MATH 1007     Mathematics and Politics
MATH 1009     Mathematical Ideas I
MATH 1221     Calculus with Precalculus II
MATH 1252     Calculus for the Social and Management Sciences
ORSC 1109     Introduction to Organizational Sciences
PHIL 1051     Introduction to Philosophy (Meyers only)
PHIL 2133     Philosophy and Nonviolence
PHYS 1021     University Physics I
PHYS 1025     University Physics I - Bio
PSC 1001     Introduction to Comparative Politics (Gaedi, Puck, Kramon, and Croatti only)
PSC 1002     Introduction to American Politics and Government
PSC 1003     Introduction to International Politics
PSYC 1001     General Psychology (Howell only)
PSYC 2011     Abnormal Psychology (McDonald only)
PSYC 2011W     Abnormal Psychology
PSYC 2012    Social Psychology (Stock only)
PSYC 2013     Developmental Psychology
PSYC 2014     Cognitive Psychology
PSYC 2015     Biological Psychology
SLHS 1011     Voice and Diction
SOC 1001     Introduction to Sociology (Alnassar only)
SOC 1003     Introduction to Criminal Justice (Gatewood & Johnson only)
SOC 2102     Techniques of Data Analysis
SPAN 1002     Elementary Spanish II
SPAN 1013     Intermediate Spanish I
SPAN 1014     Intermediate Spanish II
SPAN 2005     Advanced Spanish I
SPAN 2006     Advanced Spanish II

How It Works

Students can come to the Gelman Library Check Out Desk any time it is open to request the textbook for a participating course. Students will need the textbook's call number, which can be found by searching for the book in the library catalog (click the course number above).  If the textbook is available (not currently on loan to another student) the student may check the book out with their GWorld card to use for three hours. Textbooks may be used overnight if checked out in the three hours before the Check Out Desk closes. Items must be returned before 10:00 AM the following day.

Course reserve materials must be returned to the Reserve Book Drop located in the front of the Check Out Desk, or fines may be incurred. Unreturned books will incur a fine for the cost of replacing the book. Reserve materials may not be renewed. Once items have been returned, they can be checked out again after a 15-minute waiting period.

In the event that an instructor changes or adds a required textbook during the semester, you may experience a delay while Top Textbooks acquires the new book.

How to Check if a Textbook is Currently Available

To see whether a textbook is currently available in Gelman Library (i.e., not currently checked out by another student), search the library catalog for course reserves. You can also search for course reserves from any page on the library website by clicking on the magnifying glass icon in the blue navigation bar and choosing the "course reserves" search option.

Hours of Operation

Textbooks can be checked out any time the Gelman Library Check Out Desk is open. Please check the library website for information about holiday and weather closures.

Fines for Late Returns

Fines are an important tool to make sure circulating items are returned promptly and are available for everyone. To ensure these textbooks remain available, late returns will be assessed a fine of $1.20/hour per item with a $30.00 maximum fine per item.

Why Isn’t My Textbook Included in the Top Textbooks Program?

Each year, we carefully review the course schedule, course enrollment, textbook assignments, and other factors to determine which courses to include--and how to best serve students at GW--through this program with the funding available. Additionally, the library can only include a textbook in the program if we know it is assigned in a course and are able to acquire a print edition for students to borrow from us. Faculty are strongly encouraged to submit their textbook adoptions to the GW Bookstore for the upcoming semester in a timely manner in order to help the library select and acquire textbooks for the Top Textbooks program.

Even if a course is not included in Top Textbooks, the library may still have a copy of the textbook in its collection or course reserve, so check the library catalog. If a copy is not available, any faculty member can request that a copy of their course materials be placed on course reserve for students to borrow. 

Open Educational Resources (OER)

While the Top Textbooks program seeks to improve textbook affordability and increase access to course materials, it does not fix all of the barriers and inequities created by the commercial textbook market. The library strongly supports the adoption of open educational resources (OER) and provides support to faculty interested in using OER as a way to reduce the cost of--and increase access to--course materials and enhance student learning. 

Looking for Assistance with Financial Insecurity?

The Store: GW's Food Pantry provides food, toiletries, and school supplies to students facing insecurity. Through the Financial Aid Office, emergency funding is also available to students in some situations.

About Top Textbooks

The escalating price of textbooks is a significant concern for undergraduate students, and many students struggle to afford the high cost of textbooks and supplies each year. To help improve textbook affordability and access, the library launched the Top Textbooks program in fall 2017. The program began as a proposal by former Student Association president Peak Sen Chua and continues as a collaboration with the Student Association.


The Top Textbooks program has resulted in $621,252 in textbook savings for GW students!*

*Based on individual checkouts between Fall 2017 and Fall 2022

Today’s Hours

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Check Out Desk:


Questions or Suggestions

Gelman Library Reserves Services
phone: 202-994-2591