chapter  9
5 Pages

WhoHas?: a pilot study exploring the value of a peer-to-peer sub-lending service

WithHELEN MURPHY

This is the story of how and why that happened, and why it was (genuinely) an incredibly positive and useful outcome.

What the research told us Peer-to-peer sub-lending is rife among students at the University of Cambridge. At a basic level, students lend library books they’ve borrowed to each other; at a more sophisticated level, students collaborate and strategise over who will borrow what from where. This ‘black market’ for books tends to happen among students doing the same subject (though not exclusively so), and is signifi cantly more common among groups of friends, often students at the same college. Neither of these is a particularly startling observation, but they reveal a potential inequality in terms of students’ access to resources: if you’re the only person in your college doing your subject (as may well be the case), then sub-lending will probably be a fairly lonely and fruitless occupation.