The cost of college course materials and textbooks has long been a contentious point of conversation. 

The average postsecondary student spends between $628 and $1,471 annually on books and supplies alone as of the 2021-2022 academic year, according to a recent report by the Education Data Initiative

For years, adjunct and full-time staff at Ivy Tech Indianapolis would do their best to help our students with the high cost of books by contributing to a bookshelf near the open study area on the fifth floor of North Meridian Center (NMC) with free books. However, it was rarely stocked, as the faculty provided the materials from their personal libraries using their own money. 

That was until long-time adjunct Patrik Madaras visited his local Half-Price Books and learned of an outreach program they offered to educators, schools, and other literary nonprofits. Through the program, Half-Price donates excess books to educational institutions.

Madaras applied to the book donation program on behalf of Ivy Tech’s Indianapolis campus six years ago and has been keeping the bookshelf stocked with free books for our students to take ever since. 

“When our inventory gets low, I contact their store manager, and within days, I have a new supply,” Madaras said. “I pick them up from Half Price Books, transport them to campus, hold them in the adjunct faculty offices at NMC, and reload the shelves once or twice each week.”

Half-Price donates various hardback and softcover books in all genres and topics, from children and young adult books to fiction and self-help – you name it – Madaras says. 

Although the team at Half-Price will try to donate books that Madaras requests, he says that he has found over the years that the diverse array of books suits our students. 

“So far, ALL types of books seem to be desired by our students, topic notwithstanding.”

Madaras says this “is a win-win situation for all involved.”

“Half-Price Books stimulates interest in reading among our students, and they are able to recycle excess inventory,” he said. “They have been wonderful partners.”

Madaras is a full-time lecturer and statistics coordinator for the O'Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs (SPEA) at IUPUI, teaching statistics, management science, and research methods. He has also been an adjunct professor for Ivy Tech Indianapolis’ Math Department for 27 years, teaching various courses. As of late, he has exclusively instructed MATH 123 Quantitative Reasoning.

About Ivy Tech Community College

Ivy Tech Community College is Indiana's largest public postsecondary institution and the nation's largest singly accredited statewide community college system, accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Ivy Tech has campuses throughout Indiana and also serves thousands of students annually online. It serves as the state's engine of workforce development, offering associate degrees, long- and short-term certificate programs, industry certifications, and training that aligns with the needs of the community. The College provides a seamless transfer to other colleges and universities in Indiana, as well as out of state, for a more affordable route to a bachelor's degree.