Once you’ve registered for classes, the next step is securing course materials. We encourage students to have a plan for accessing all the course materials you need at least a month in advance to account for exploring options, personal budgeting, and, if needed, shipping.
Course materials are more than just textbooks. Lab coats are required for science courses and art supplies are necessary for art courses. Buying the materials necessary for course work is expensive. The goal of this webpage is to provide resources for procuring textbooks and other course materials for little or no cost.
Lute Library & Course Reserves
An alternative to purchasing textbooks is to borrow them from the Lute Library & Course Reserves at the Circulation Desk in the Mortvedt Library. Course materials at the Lute Library and Course Reserves are available for short term check out, for 2 hours to 24 hours.
How to Decipher a Course Schedule
Before obtaining any course materials, verify your semester schedule. Make sure you’re buying (or borrowing or downloading) the correct items. Here’s how to read your course schedule, using an example:
CRN Course Title …. Instructor
20732 FYEP 101 13 Writing Seminar FW … Kaufman
CRN is a unique PLU number. You only need this if courses are canceled or added to the schedule.
Course is the four letter abbreviation for the course name. The number 101 signifies the level. (Any numbers 101-499 are undergraduate level courses.) The number 13 signifies the section of the course. There about two dozen FYEP 101 courses, so it’s imperative to verify which section, or class, is listed on the semester schedule.
Title is just that – the name of the course.
Instructor is the name of the professor teaching this course.
When not obtaining a textbook through PLU’s online bookstore, verify that what is being procured is EXACTLY what the instructor requires.
- Verify which course you’re actually registered to take. (See box to the left on how to do this.)
- When obtaining textbooks, match the ISBNs (What’s an ISBN?), issue/edition, publisher, etc. with what is listed on the Lute Locker website.
- Check the syllabus! Sometimes, instructors will provide access to free or low-cost materials. In other circumstances, the materials are available only through the instructor or the department. Contact your instructor if you have any questions about materials.
How to Look Up Textbooks
- Access your schedule through Banner. (Banner Self Service → Student Services → Registration → Detailed Student Schedule → Select correct term → Submit.)
- See How to Decipher a Course Schedule for instructions on how to find the courses and specific sections on your schedule.
- Visit the Lute Locker textbook website and click the Get Started button.
- Use the first pull down menu to select your Term. For example, Fall 2023.
- Use the second pull down menu to select your Site. For example, if your class is FYEP 101.13, you will scroll down and select First-Year Experience Program.
- Use the third pull down menu to select your Course ID. For example, if your class is FYEP 101.13, select section 13.
- Repeat the process for each course listed on your schedule.
- Once complete, click the arrow and you will see all of the required course materials.
Courses That Do NOT Require Textbooks
There are many courses that do not require textbooks, but do require other materials. Some courses do not require any additional materials to purchase. If you are ever in doubt, reach out to the particular course instructor and ask. If you can’t find your class on the textbook website, then your class may not have a textbook or the professor might still be figuring out which book you need.
The following courses rarely require textbooks, but may require the purchase of other materials:
ARTD – 110, 202, 210, 320, 355, 410, 499
FTWL – 100 as well as most 100 and 200 level courses
MILS (ROTC) – All courses
MUSI – Band, Choir, Orchestra, and many private lessons
NURS – Most Clinicals do not require the purchase of new materials
Money Saving Resources for the Savvy Student
More Ideas and Resources
Undocumented Student Resources
PLU commits to insuring all Undocumented Students course materials are available through the Lute Library & Course Reserves. This includes textbooks, course materials like lab coats and art supplies, and online access codes. Learn more and make a request HERE.
Reduce - Reuse - Recycle
At the end of each semester, PLU’s online bookstore buys back textbooks that have been purchased through them. This service is available through the Lute Locker online bookstore site.
Most rental textbooks will need to be returned by a certain date. If the retailer provided you with a shipping label from USPS, UPS, or Fed Ex, you may take any textbooks to the Customer Service Center, located on lower campus, near Morken.
Consider donating any textbooks you cannot return. There are donation boxes located in the library towards the end of each semester. The SurPLUs store will take items as well, like clothing. They’re also located on lower campus, on the far end of the Customer Service Center building.
Need Help? Contact:
Advisor, Center for Student Success