Columbus, Ohio (June 7, 2017) – OhioLINK has selected seven member librarians, faculty, and staff members to become the OhioLINK Open Textbook Network (OTN) System Leaders. As system leaders, they will coordinate OhioLINK OTN awareness and advocacy initiatives regarding open educational resources and open textbooks as part of OhioLINK/Ohio Department of Higher Education affordable learning initiatives for higher education.
OhioLINK recently joined the Open Textbook Network, a high-profile and growing collaboration of schools, universities, and institutions that promotes access, affordability, and student success via open textbooks.
“The OTN community is both inspirational and practical,” said Glenda Thornton, director of Cleveland State University’s Michael Schwartz Library and a leader and member in OTN initiatives in the state of Ohio. “From the beginning, OTN has provided guidance and inspiration to those of us who are working locally and nationally to improve both textbook affordability and access to quality learning materials.”
The attendees—who were nominated by their deans or directors—include:
- Mandi Goodsett, performing arts and humanities librarian, Cleveland State University
- Mary Hricko, library director, Kent State Geauga
- Steve Kaufman, senior instructional designer, University of Akron
- Mark Konecny, scholarly communications and digital publishing strategist, University of Cincinnati
- Carla Myers, assistant librarian and coordinator of scholarly communications, Miami University
- Joe Nowakowski, professor of economics, Muskingum University
- Janet Stewart, acting dean of library services, Shawnee State University
- Angel Mootispaw, librarian, Southern State Community College (alternate).
As part of the consortium-wide membership, OhioLINK will also send system leaders to OTN’s Summer Institute (OTNSI) as the kickoff event. OTNSI is an intensive training program that runs from August 7 to August 11 at the University of Minnesota. The OhioLINK system leaders, in conjunction with OTN staff, will coordinate full-day “train the trainer” workshops to be offered in Ohio next fall. These workshops will focus on developing campus leaders at Ohio higher education institutions and aid in their efforts to reduce textbook costs for students.
“Textbook and related costs are a well-known barrier to college affordability for students,” said Gwen Evans, OhioLINK executive director. “By promoting the use and creation of high-quality educational materials that are freely accessible for students to use, this initiative will increase affordability in higher education, promote student success, and empower Ohio faculty to contribute to the growing field of open course materials.”
The cost of textbooks has increased 73 percent since 2006, according to a 2016 report by the Student Public Interest Research Groups, and the College Board estimates the average student budget for books and supplies is more than $1,200 each year. OhioLINK’s Open Textbook Network membership will allow OhioLINK to train open education library leaders who will support faculty across the state in making greater use of openly available educational materials, including textbooks. Open textbooks directly contribute to students’ academic success by ensuring that all students, no matter their means, have access to their course materials. System leaders will also assist with affordable learning awareness and advocacy initiatives in the coming year.
Established in 1992, the Ohio Library and Information Network (OhioLINK) is Ohio’s statewide academic library consortium and serves more than 600,000 end users. A member of the Ohio Technology Consortium of the Ohio Department of Higher Education, OhioLINK provides a competitive advantage for Ohio’s higher education community by cooperatively and cost-effectively acquiring, providing access to and preserving an expanding array of print and digital resources, and by centrally hosting digital content. Together, OhioLINK and its member libraries provide users access to nearly 50 million books and other library materials, more than 100 electronic research databases, more than 81,000 e-books, thousands of images and videos, and millions of electronic journal articles.