California once again finds itself on the cutting edge of technological advances, at a legislative level. Only this time, it's with education: Governor Jerry Brown has signed a proposal into law that allows students to download digital copies of textbooks for free.
Fifty open-source digital textbooks will be created and become available, free of charge, for California University students. In addition, a California Digital Open Source Library will be created for the hosting of these books.
The state will ask the California Open Education Resources Council, which will be entirely comprised of school faculty, to oversee a book approval processes. They'll take bids, and produce the books for the 2013 - 2014 school year. They can also use existing digital open source textbooks.
As tuition increases, textbooks become more and more of a finical burden. This bill is an attempt to remove that burden while also moving into the digital age.
"Many students are paying more than $1,000 every year on their textbooks, sometimes having to choose between buying the books they need or paying for food and other living expenses," said Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, who authored the bills.
The bill seems like a good move, but choosing the fifty textbooks could get hairy. Controversy enjoys popping up in areas like this. Hopefully, though, it'll be smooth sailing and begin a larger move toward digital, collegiate libraries.