OhioLINK awarded ARPA funds for DEI collection

Oct 6, 2021

OhioLINK announces the State Library of Ohio has awarded American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) grant funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) for the purchase of a collection of unlimited- and perpetual-access Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) e-books. OhioLINK’s central coordination of the selection and implementation will make these e-books accessible to libraries that otherwise would not have the financial, staffing, or technical resources to acquire such a collection. The collection will be available for Spring 2022.

The past few years of national headlines and social justice demonstrations have focused collection development librarians' attention on the need for better representation of diverse communities and perspectives in library collections. While libraries express the need for this kind of content, they have experienced pandemic-related budget cuts that make it challenging to purchase these collections locally.

“Our statewide group of collections librarians recognized the need for more representative materials that better reflect our users,” said Amy Pawlowski, Executive Director of OhioLINK. “Investing in a shared digital collection is a cost-effective use of ARPA funds that leverages OhioLINK’s strengths in selecting, purchasing, and sharing library materials. Students and faculty across Ohio will be able to easily access and use the DEI e-book collection for research as well as assigned course materials.”

Creating a consortial DEI collection will allow 117 member libraries to quickly and cost-effectively build a base e-book collection that can be supplemented with future local purchases as budgets permit. Since the e-book collection will be perpetual access, using the e-books in courses materials could introduce students to a diversity of voices that otherwise might not be available to them.

Finding library resources to support evolving DEI curriculum and study is important, but it is also challenging to find the right mix of publishers, authors, and titles that offer more representative voices. OhioLINK’s statewide group of collection development librarians will be able to provide a more comprehensive assessment and recommendation than any single library or librarian.

OhioLINK has a rich history of effective collection development for its member libraries. The OhioLINK collections development resource committee of 26 representatives meets monthly to identify and maintain consortial content. The committee also evaluates consortial collections at regular intervals to ensure they continue to meet the needs and of Ohio’s academic libraries and their institutions.

See the State Library of Ohio’s announcement here.

About OhioLINK: Connecting libraries, learning and discovery. Established in 1992, the Ohio Library and Information Network (OhioLINK) is Ohio’s statewide academic library consortium serving 117 libraries, 88 institutions of higher education plus the State Library of Ohio and more than 800,000 students. Delivering both IT infrastructure and content negotiation, OhioLINK provides students, researchers, faculty and staff with access to digital research collections rivaling top university libraries in the United States and internationally—at a fraction of the cost. OhioLINK also connects library services, print and digital collections among its member institutions and manages collaborative services, including eTutoring, statewide Affordable Learning textbook initiatives and open educational resources. A member of the Ohio Technology Consortium of the Ohio Department of Higher Education, OhioLINK creates a competitive advantage for its members and supports student and researcher success in the state of Ohio.