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 inaccessible, meaning that a  lack of access to textbooks can become a lack of access to career skills, opportunities, intellectual exploration, test prep, and more.

The Silliman Textbook Library is located in the backroom of the Silliman Library, on the 3rd floor of Byers Hall. This is located one floor above the Silliman Dining Hall. The Library is designed for students to use the books for reference within the Silliman Library. Students cannot take books outside of the Silliman Library space.

In its inaugural year of opening (the 2017-2018 school year), the SMTL collected over 600 donations from Yale students and faculty, 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  Library space.  Currently, the SMTL is nearing 1000 donations in total.

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.

SMTL Database (Short Link:

Finding Books in the Silliman Textbook Library

Books are organized in the SMTL alphabetically by author last name. When book donors give the course info, you will also find department codes on the spine of the book, which is great! For example, “ECON” for Economics books, or “PLSC” for Political Science books. 
You may want to know if the Silliman Textbook Library has a specific book before deciding whether to buy the book, or whether to venture across campus to use the Library. Students can use the Silliman Textbook Library Database to check its contents remotely. The database is accessible here—the link is (shortlinked for ease of access). Feel free to bookmark on your phone or computer to access easily. A link to the Database can also be found on the Silliman Textbook Library’s page on the official Silliman College website located here—the link is (shortlinked as well). 
On the database, students can find textbooks using the “Command-F” or “Control-F” function—type in the title or author to find the book. If you find the book, you can scroll to the course information section to find what course the book was labeled with. That information will help you find the book once you arrive at the SMTL space. 

If the SMTL Does Not Have A Book You Need

  1. Reach out to your Professor/TFs. While your Professor/TFs might not be able to give you a copy of the book for the class, they might be able to donate a copy to the SMTL for communal use. 
  2. Ask the Silliman Textbook Library Coordinator. Email the Silliman Textbook Library Coordinator ( explaining that you need a book for a certain class. Send the book title, author, and course information, and the Coordinator will work to try to find a copy of the book for the Textbook Library. 

Textbook Library Rules of Use

  1. The Silliman Textbook Library is located in the backroom of the Silliman Library, and is open 24/7 for use by students. 
  2. Please do not take any of the books outside of the Silliman Library. Unfortunately, we do not have the ability to let students borrow books at the moment, so the Silliman Textbook Library functions as a way for students to reference textbooks, but not borrow them. Please use them within the SMTL space/Silliman Library only! If you have any questions or concerns about this, please reach out to the Textbook Library Coordinator!
  3. Please do not steal books from the Library. Stealing books from the Textbook Library is really unfair to the work that students have put in to make this Library happen, and takes resources away from other students who struggle to afford and access educational materials. 
  4. Please put books back where you found them. Books are organized in the Textbook Library according to author last name. Please put any book you are using back in its place so other students can find them easily.
  5. Please do not damage books. Similar to the above rule about stealing, do not write in, damage, or otherwise misuse the Silliman Textbook Library’s books.
  6. Make the most of the Silliman Textbook Library! Take pictures of problems, diagrams, or passages you need to use if you need to reference them outside of the Library. Consider scanning on your phone! For iPhones, the Notes app can scan pages of textbooks. For Androids, there are a number of applications that do this, including TinyScanner and Clear Scanner, so definitely look into this for using textbook pages on-the-go.

How to Donate to the Silliman Textbook Library

  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!

Please email any and all questions about the Silliman Textbook Library to the Silliman Senior Administrative Assistant at .