Silliman Textbook Library (SMTL)

The Silliman Textbook Library (SMTL) is an initiative built by Silliman students to combat educational inequity on Yale’s campus. The SMTL was founded on the acknowledgement that textbooks and other educational resources are often prohibitively expensive for many students, especially those  of first generation and  low-income (FGLI)  backgrounds. On top of increasing costs of a college education, affording textbooks can heighten financial and academic stress for some students. Such a system can even affect some students’ course choices if books are simply inaccessible,  meaning that a  lack of  access to  textbooks can become a lack of access to career skills, opportunities, intellectual exploration, etc.

In its inaugural year of opening (the 2017-2018 school year), the SMTL collected over 600 donations from Yale students, a majority of donations coming from the local Silliman community. The donations were  compiled and  noted into  a database, aptly called the Silliman Textbook Library Database. Students can check the contents of the SMTL remotely by accessing the  Database,  and  then  use  the  donated  textbooks during  visits  to  the  Acorn. Currently,  the Textbook Library books are only available to use through reference in the Acorn, and cannot be taken out or borrowed.

The SMTL exists so multiple copies of textbooks for many different classes can be available for students to use free of charge. Students can do readings, collaborate on problem sets, and do other important academic work without having to pay exorbitant costs.

Silliman Textbook Library Coordinator: Kushal Dev ‘20 (

SMTL Database (Short Link:

Would you like to donate to the SMTL? Follow these steps!

1. Head to the Silliman Head of College Office. Bring your textbooks with you!
2. Let the College Aide know that you’d like to donate a book. The College Aide will collect information  about you as a donor (your name, college, year) as well as some information about your donation! This information will go straight into our database (so students wanting to use your book can now see that it is available).
3. After handing over your Textbook, you will be given a reward. Feel free to choose from either
Silliman Buttery credit or some Silliman swag!
4. The book will  be processed and added to the Library. Thank you for your donation and interest
in combating educational inequity!

Frequently Asked Questions:

I want to use a textbook in the SMTL. What do I do?

There’s not much to it! Check the Database to see if the book is around. If it is, head on over to the Acorn to use the textbook!

How do I find a textbook in the Acorn?

The SMTL textbooks are housed on the bookshelves in the Acorn. Each book’s spine is labeled by course code (e.g. ECON 115), and the books are organized in alphabetical order by their course. Look for books by searching for the  course that corresponds to them! NOTE: If books are cross-listed across multiple departments, they will be organized in the  SMTL by the first course code written on their labels.

The book I’m looking for is not in the Database :(. What do I do?

If the book is not in the database, the book is likely not available in the Textbook Library at the moment.  However,  you  can  request  that  a  book  be  added  to  the  SMTL.  Please  head  to  the Silliman Head  of College  Office and fill  out a Textbook Request Form, which will ask for the title, author, and edition of your book, as well as information about the course related to the book you are requesting. We will try to get the book in the Library by asking TFs and Professors. If the book is added to the SMTL, we will notify you by email!

I found a book in the Database, but can’t find it in the Acorn. What does this mean?

We apologize for any inconsistencies in data! We are still working out issues with Anonymously donated  books  and  other  issues  with  our  Database.  We will try to resolve  these as soon as possible and get all the books up to the Acorn! In the meantime, feel free to fill out a Textbook Request  Form  and  email  the Textbook Library Coordinator about any difficulties finding the book.

My class requires me to buy a book or have a copy of it with me in class. What do I do?

Unfortunately, books cannot be  taken out from the Silliman Textbook Library at the current moment.  While  you can reference the book when in the Acorn, you will have to find an alternative for getting a copy you can have with you. Check back on this website, as more information about finding ways around buying expensive textbooks will be posted!

Tips for Using the SMTL Effectively:

1. Request books if they are not already in the SMTL! See the above question about filling out a Textbook Request Form. We want to hear what students want. By requesting books, we can focus our time and effort into finding books that students will benefit from having available.
2. Look at the Donation Stickers! The donor of every textbook in the SMTL is labeled on the inside cover of the book (sometimes, the inside cover has important information, so the label might have been placed within the first few pages, just look around!). If you are shopping a class and want to know more about it, consider reaching out to the donor. Chances are, they have taken the class that you are curious about.