Every March, librarians around the world celebrate Open Education Week, a time to raise awareness of the need for and use of Open Educational Resources on our campuses. Many libraries are engaged in promoting these resources to faculty and administrators in order to help reduce the cost of course materials for students.
Open Educational Resources are learning materials that are published without copyright restrictions, meaning they can be freely distributed, reused, and modified. Faculty who assign Open Educational Resources in their classes help eliminate the barriers to academic success students can face when they cannot afford their course materials. The Florida Virtual Campus survey has demonstrated over several iterations of their survey how these costs negatively impact students – whether it’s dropping or failing a course, changing major, or struggling academically.
OpenStax is one of the most well-known publishers of OER and is often used by librarians as an example of high-quality, low-cost textbooks. While librarians often work as OER advocates on their campus, we are not always the ones publishing our own, original OER. This makes the publishing of Instruction in Libraries and Information Centers: An Introduction in July 2020 a unique and exciting accomplishment that will benefit Library and Information Science students for years to come.
This textbook, authored by Laura Saunders, Associate Professor of Library and Information Science at Simmons College and Melissa Wong, Adjunct Lecturer of Library and Information Sciences at UIUC, is freely available for students to read online, download, and print. The book is the first open access textbook to be published by Windsor and Downs press through IOPN, the University Library’s publishing unit. Other open access books available through the press include Sara Benson’s The Sweet Public Domain: Celebrating Copyright Expiration with the Honey Bunch Series.
Interested in the ways libraries are celebrating these accomplishments and bringing attention to the need to continue our advocacy? Check out the Twitter hashtag #OEWeek to join the conversation.