Today marks the grand opening of The Book Bank — a service created by The Associated Students’ Student Initiated Recruitment and Retention Committee (SIRRC) which loans donated books to students in need.

The event will take place in the A.S. Annex, located across from Storke Tower and near South Hall and the opening will feature music, food, tours and prizes for those who have donated books.

According to SIRRC Retention Co-Chair and second-year biology major Aldo Brambila, Book Bank organizers have not experienced conflict with other textbook resources on campus and expect the service to provide much needed assistance to students.

“As far I know, the only struggle with the Book Bank was during the early stages of its creation. People didn’t think there was a need for the Book Bank because we already have a great library on campus,” Brabila said. “However, we don’t seek to compete with the UCSB Library. Rather, we want to be another resource for students. So far we have not had any opposition from the library or the bookstore, so we are glad that we can be of use to the UCSB students.”

The Book Bank is open to all UCSB graduate and undergraduate students. To check out a book, students must first present their UCSB ACCESS card and, if visiting the Book Bank for the first time, fill out a contract. Books may be rented for a maximum of seven days.

The early stages of planning for the Book Bank began about two years ago when student Angelica Quirarte first started thinking of the idea. Since then, the group has collected hundreds of books, all of which are the product of student donations. Besides donating to the SIRRC office in the Annex, students can take books to several book drop-off boxes located throughout the residence halls.

According to an information sheet compiled by Book Bank coordinators, the Book Bank hopes to serve as a resource mostly to students, for whom the exorbitant cost of textbooks can pose much financial strain.

“As a public research institution, the University of California, Santa Barbara offers a premier undergraduate education that enhances the creative and intellectual abilities of the diverse communities that it serves,” the sheet states. “However, in an environment of budget cuts and fee increases, students are facing new challenges that affect their performance as students and derail their academic and career goals. We are committed to promoting the retention and welfare of every student at UCSB by developing programs and services that directly address student needs.”

Students may still donate during the Book Bank’s hours of operation, which are Monday and Thursday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Students who donate during the grand opening will be entered into a raffle to win gift cards, with one game ticket per donated book. One grand-prize winner will win an iPod Nano.

Interested volunteers can email Brambila at