University of Utah students know a bargain when they see one. They're capitalizing on a two-for-one offer.

In a campaign called "The Library Challenge," the students are raising dollars for the U.'s Marriott Library. But they're not going it alone. They already have a pledge from those holding the state's purse strings.The 1990 Legislature agreed to a student plan that matches $2 in state appropriations for every $1 raised by the students. Legislators set aside a total of $500,000 for the matches. The students must raise their share within three years.

For the U., the Legislature will match up to $160,000. The students plan to raise the $80,000 necessary to secure the entire amount.

John Wunderli, president of the Associated Students of the University of Utah, said the U. students don't plan to take three years to raise their share. "I believe it is in the best interest of the students and the Marriott Library to raise it ($80,000) in one year."

To help the process, the U. student government has pledged $15,000 in seed money for various campus organizations to finance the fund-raising.

Among the ways that students will make pitches are a concert, a parent phonathon, the donation of wages by students who normally are paid to transfer books from the library to a storage facility, pledge-card campaigns and fraternity-sorority fund-raisers.

The funds will be used for acquistion of journals and monographs; extension of hours, programs and services; purchase of reference materials and equipment; and increased funding for special endowments.

The Marriott Library, as other libraries at the state's colleges and universities, was cited in a 1988 study, commissioned by the Legislature, as having suffered from years of funding neglect.

Wunderli believes that a succcessful fund-raiser will do more than help the library. It will also boost the students' political stature in the eyes of lawmakers.

"We'll become established as a viable political action group. It will show that we do more than merely complaining about tuition increases, although we will continue to do that," Wunderli said.