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Upping Our Game: Taking Libraries to New Heights with Technology

Computers in Libraries 2017

Conference Report by Mary Wu, Digital Scholarship and Metadata Librarian

The 32nd annual Computers in Libraries, the most comprehensive North American conference and exhibition on all aspects of library and information delivery technology, was held March 28-30 in Arlington, VA.  Approximately 1500 people around the world attended the conference.

The opening keynote was by Gina Millsap, CEO, Topeka & Shawnee County Library in Kansas, who described how her library was chosen by Library Journal as the Library of the Year in 2016.  She said that everyone in the community has a relationship with the library.  They are the readers, and the library is a place where they can live, read, and play.  The library serves about 550,000 people and has only one building — no branches.  The staff members have worked hard to become community leaders.  One of their most impressive programs is the Learn and Play Bus, an early education mobile classroom that enables children ages birth to five to have 60 books in their home libraries and a shared experience of knowing and loving the same stories.  The program plays a very important role in making sure that children are ready for kindergarten because in the Topeka school district alone, fifty five percent of school age children don’t possess the skills necessary to begin school.  They are behind in cognitive and language development, basic skills, and even potty training.  The program has been made possible by working with United Way on fund raising, and the implementation of the Dolly Parton Imagination Library book give-away program.  They have hit their first fund raising goal, and now have enough funding to operate for four years. Their next goal is to raise a million dollars to ensure that the program is sustainable.  She concluded her keynote by acknowledging that “libraries will change if librarians change. It has never been a better time to be a librarian.  A great librarian knows team and project planning, data analysis, how to do research and community analysis, and how to initiate and manage partnerships. The ability to adapt and learn is critical.”

In her keynote talk on the second day of the conference, author and cultural analyst Patricia Martin spoke about “Right place; Right time.”  She believes that it’s the perfect time to be a librarian.  Digitization is changing who we are as librarians, and is affecting the role of libraries in the community.  Her research discovered that our institutions are losing their impact.  Job status, family, location, and organized religion are losing relevance, which puts us into a situation of role ambiguity.  She believes that the new relationship between ambitions and identity has three parts: rope, edgepart, and muster.  Our identity today is more like a rope of many strands than a linear yardstick.  As we change jobs, move around, and try different personas, we are adding strands to our ropes.  Edgepart makes us good at change so we can survive.  Muster encourages us to start small in order to achieve big goals.  She suggested that librarians should concentrate on who we want our patrons to be.  Our job is not about providing information anymore since nobody needs more information.  Instead, our job is about growing and building a community.  She thinks that we should see the user experience as a path to discovery and that the library should be seen as a community.  She said that librarians don’t have a job; they have a platform for change.  People need to be inspired and imaginations raised and expanded through this platform.

Lee Rainie, the Director of Internet, Science, and Technology Research, for the Pew Research Center, presented the final day’s keynote address: “Where technology fits with library patrons’ needs”. She posited that there is a deep decline in trust in many organizations, but that libraries have been immune to this trend.  People like and trust librarians, and think that libraries are important, especially for communities.  They think that libraries are particularly beneficial for those without vast resources.  Libraries have re-branded themselves as technology hubs and are deeply appreciative of these changes.  People still read books and prefer printed books to e-books, by a 3 to 1 margin.  Below is some of Pew’s latest data on libraries from its 2016 study:

  • Over 40% of users used a library or bookmobile in the last 12 months. About 1/3 of them–more women than men and younger people–used the library’s website.
  • Traditional activities like borrowing books or reading dominate library use, but people are also attending classes or other programs (class use was the activity that increased the most from 2015 to 2016).
  • Doing research or checking email are the most frequent uses of library technology resources, but more people are using them to take classes online than last year.

Libraries are curators of quality information and people overwhelmingly report that the library helps them.  Finding trustworthy information is highly important to most library users, followed by learning new things, personal growth, and getting information to help in making decisions.  Fifty-six percent of people polled say it would have a major impact on the community if the library closed.  The data also demonstrated that nobody has had to reinvent themselves more than libraries have in the past few years.  Libraries have assiduously reconfigured and re-purposed themselves to remain relevant.  In the future, libraries should embrace the Internet of Things, become the “first place” to meet, fill in “market holes” or niches in the information marketplace, and become innovation test beds.  They should also strive to position themselves as trusted institutions advocating for free information and open access, work to close digital divides, and continue to act as privacy and algorithm watchdogs.

Each day, followed by the keynote, there were numerous programs to attend in five tracks of different themes.  The two programs highlighted here are particularly relevant to academic libraries:

Deirdre Costello, the Principal UX Researcher at EBSCO, researched user experience (UX) practices to assess how students and faculty interact with library databases to help shape the products they bring to the campus marketplace.  Students feel more trusting, confident, and competent with Google than with faculty.  Google is like “breathing” during the stressful process of starting a new project, looking for relevant information, and providing explanations to students.  Search results are no longer a portal to discover further information, but are a platform themselves for answering questions.  She cautioned that we must be aware that students are using the same type of search techniques that they use on the open web when searching their academic library websites.  As indicated by their emphasis on efficiency, time is an incredibly valuable resource to this audience.  Students are constantly shifting and recalibrating priorities and competing deadlines.  Because the anxiety students start to associate with research in high school is compounded when they get to college, research often ends up losing out in those calculations, and is squeezed into as little time as possible.  College students find their motivation at different times in different ways.  While research can feel like a negative experience, many college students are actually internally motivated to hone those skills as they understand that such skills will hold value for them in the future.  There are colleges and universities using this sense of investment to their advantage to teach research skills.  MIT library staff partner with professors to teach course-specific research skills through activities such as scavenger hunts, and the University of San Francisco is considering major-specific training because faculty know that students’ investment in that subject—in and beyond school—will help them absorb advanced research skills relevant to them.  However, despite understanding the value of research, the library is not the first place college students turn to when struggling with an assignment.  They usually go to their peers and to teachers with whom they have a personal connection.  This is possibly because students don’t often get the chance to develop that same kind of trusting, personal relationship with librarians.  One student had a required one-on-one session with a librarian as part of a freshman year research assignment.  This experience helped her understand that the librarian was there to help her, and she has since met with a subject librarian for every subsequent assignment.  In many ways, the obstacles students face when they conduct research are the same as they’ve always been—trouble with topics and search strategies, fear of being graded down for citation errors, and the belief that the librarian doesn’t want to be bothered.  When students learn that the librarian is there to help them succeed, they become much more likely to think of the library as a go-to research resource.

Analyzing Collections for Decision making was presented by Lutgarda Barnachea, the Assessment Coordinator at the University of Maryland Libraries.  She shared the process used to weed their collection.  The main triggering points for the weeding project were the changing concepts of library as a place as well as overflowing shelves.  The act of entering the library building had become akin to entering a warehouse of books.  This is a result of the fact that the collections were becoming disorganized.  “Lost” materials were not really lost but were likely somewhere on the shelves.  The result was a slowing of foot traffic in the library.  The concept of the library as a space is changing.  In a series of interviews, students listed their needs and wants: quiet reading areas, areas for collaboration, and technology rich areas.  In content analysis, they looked at the big picture using OCLC WorldShare to see the uniqueness of the collection and found that only about 15% of the items held are truly unique to their library.   Studies of publication dates and subjects were also conducted.  Usage statistics were generated using ALEPH (the ILS) report function based on call numbers and shelf list.  Collection development librarians marked items to be removed.  Strategies used were: withdraw duplicate copies, withdraw items based on publication year, and target collections in selected spaces.  The results of this exercise were that a makerspace was created, rooms with laptops were set up, and that now some rooms have furniture that can be rearranged by users.  Lessons learned are: don’t be hindered by limited money, and listen to users’ concerns.  The use of analytics to evaluate the collection’s uniqueness and usage demonstrates practical applications of quantitative data to make informed decisions.  For anyone facing the need to reduce holdings (print or electronic), these shared lessons offers some useful insight.


In the Spirit of Openness

By Lindsey Gumb, Instructional Technology Librarian

If you’ve read any of my articles here on the library’s blog, you may have noticed a theme of openness.  I’ve been interested in this movement for the last several years and have worked hard to nudge Roger Williams University in the direction that the rest of the world seems to have already moved.  Local support for open education and open educational resources (OER) is finally gaining momentum, but I knew that in order to best serve RWU, I needed a broader perspective and deeper understanding of the topic aside from the overstated “what is OER and why should we encourage faculty to incorporate it into their curriculum” spiel.  So in early March I journeyed to Cape Town, South Africa to attend the 10th annual Open Education Global conference.  Every year the conference hosts an intimate international gathering of minds to share new research, practices and theory behind the movement of open education.  This conference provided me with exactly what I was looking for: a fresh outlook on the research of open education that pushed beyond the tangible financial savings to students.   What I had hoped would be an informative and “worthwhile” few days abroad turned into the most inspiring week of my life.  The friends who I met at and outside of the conference and the experiences we shared together  will not soon be forgotten.  This blog post will give you a brief insight into both my personal and professional experiences, because without one the other would have been far less substantial.


After flying 13 hours to Ethiopia and then another 8 to Cape Town, I found myself standing at the gate of my beautiful Airbnb nestled among the tropical coastline. I was renting a room in a large house in Bantry Bay and after ringing the bell was welcomed with open arms (quite literally) by the housekeeper, Ronel, a beautiful woman with kind eyes and a shy smile.  Ronel and I immediately hit it off and shared a cup of delicious tea on the balcony overlooking the splendor of the Atlantic Ocean.  I was exhausted from my trip, but the two of us spent hours sharing story after story, evoking laughter and tears over the struggles and joys that bond all of us together in this world, regardless of race, class or geography.  She reflected on the harsh realities of growing up as a black woman during Apartheid, about the daily emotional and physical abuse from her ex-boyfriend that led her to miscarry 4 children before she was even 25 years old, and how most recently the South African government has denied her Congolese husband re-entry into the country because his ID expired while he was teaching out of the country: it’s been three long years of separation.  The racial injustices, heartbreaks, and disappointments this woman has endured in her 60 years is enough to break a person’s spirit, and yet she perseveres – no, she flourishes.  This one cherished evening that I spent with Ronel set the tone for my week abroad and encouraged me to push my normally introverted-self to engage with as many people as I could.  I wanted to experience more meaningful connections with strangers like the one I had just been privy to.  I went to bed that night pondering why I had to travel half way around the world to share such a personal experience with a stranger, when I could just as easily knock on my neighbor’s door.  Better late than never?


Carrying Ronel’s spirit and energy with me to the conference, I made it a point to introduce myself to others during all of the coffee and lunch breaks.  If you know me, being social in these situations is intimidating.  Not because I don’t like people, but because I’m an introvert, and while I love interacting with others, I tend to shy away from initiating conversations.  Peter was the first person I met.  While I was wandering around the Civic Center looking for the keynote session, I noticed a man with a similar confused and desperate look on his face.  “Are you looking for the keynote?” I asked.  “Yes!  Please tell me you can help me,” he replied.  I laughed and shook my head.  “I’m afraid I’ve been searching for the last ten minutes myself with no luck – I’m Lindsey, nice to meet you.”  Peter and I eventually found our place, but we also found a friend each other, and he introduced me to a number of fascinating individuals over the course of the week.  Such a mundane and humorous situation brought us together, but I know we’ll keep in touch forever.  I met Joe in the espresso line.  He was in front of me and we shared a quick, acknowledging smile.  At the cream and sugar station we met again, and I noticed him looking for a spoon. I reacted by handing him mine– accompanied by a big smile.  We talked throughout the break and I learned that he works for the UN, lives in Paris with his wife and boys, but that he was born in Boston and his sister currently works in Providence.  During lunch, I met Jasmine: a brilliant and friendly young woman who teaches Communications at Ohio State. I was inspired by her enthusiasm for teaching and learned that she had just written her first open text book.  That night for dinner, Jasmine, Joe and I ventured to the waterfront and had a delicious dinner under the stars and learned more about one another’s lives.  It was wonderful feeling so at ease with these two individuals who were strangers only hours before.  Each day afterward was similar in spirit: new adventures in learning and meeting interesting people from all over the world and being inspired by their stories.


Throughout the conference, I observed that while the United States is still heavily focused on the financial benefits of implementing OER, much of the rest of the world has moved on to identifying a deeper understanding of the intersection between pedagogy and OER.  It was interesting for me to hear the phrase “open pedagogy” used in nearly every presentation, because prior to my arrival in Cape Town I had only (maybe naively) been in tune with the dialogue about saving our students money as opposed to focusing on the pedagogical innovation that can accompany open resources.  I wouldn’t say that the US is “behind” the rest of the world but rather that our higher education system is structured so that we simply have different (financial) priorities at the moment.  After  some back and forth discussion with my fellow American veteran-conference attendees, I learned that they too noticed a shift in the dialogue from OER to open education practices (OEP), more so now than ever before.  It was fascinating for me to see where the potential lies in this movement, and how as an OER advocate I can encourage our local community to participate in manageable and meaningful ways now, regardless of what the rest of the world is doing.  Many invested in this community, such as Robin DeRosa argue that they “… don’t want to be part of a movement that is focused on replacing static, over-priced textbooks with static, free textbooks,” however, as one of my new acquaintances, Rajiv Jhangiani, said during his presentation, it’s all about knowing one’s audience (faculty) and engaging them in ways that will work for them and their students.  If that’s just adopting an open textbook right now and saving students money, then that’s a step in the right direction.  In my opinion, there is no defined right or wrong approach to this, and my role as a librarian and educator is to help guide faculty through the process of identifying and evaluating relevant content and resources that will best suit their pedagogy and the defined student learning outcomes!


I am so grateful for the opportunity I had to travel abroad to this incredible conference and incredible country, where I was able to coax myself out of my shell and meet so many wonderful people.  I came back inspired to redistribute the passion and energy I gathered in Cape Town to our own campus here at Roger Williams University.  My hope is that I can take steps to continue to interweave my personal experiences with the professional, because I truly believe that when we open ourselves to sharing experiences in our personal lives, it’s easier to translate that openness in our pedagogy, which in turn benefits our students.  Stay tuned for more of my involvement in this exciting movement!





2017 ACRL Conference Calls Librarians to Action

by Susan McMullen, Professor – Research Services & User Engagement Librarian

The Association for College and Research Libraries 2017 Conference was held in Baltimore, Maryland from March 22nd to the 25th. This year’s conference broke attendance registration records, attracting 3,499 face-to-face library professionals and more than 246 virtual attendees from all 50 states and 31 countries. With its theme, At the Helm: Leading Transformation, the conference offered over 500 programs in a variety of session formats including contributed papers, panel discussions, workshops, lightning talks, and poster sessions. The conference also served as a call to action as American Library Association president, Julie Todaro, urged all participants to reach out to their legislators to preserve library funding.

Library professionals examined current trends and explored new paths forward in areas such as higher education funding and costs, information literacy, competency-based education, digital preservation, data curation, open access, scholarly communication, collection development, assessment and evaluation, planning and designing library spaces, and social justice issues. For those wishing to delve deeply into an issue, six full-day pre-conferences were offered in the areas of assessment, law, information literacy, digital learning objects, and open textbooks.

The conference featured three distinguished keynote speakers.  The opening key note was given by data journalist and information designer, David McCandless. He spoke about the power of data visualization for helping us understand the world and reveal new patterns, connections, and stories.  Many have called data the “new oil“, but David calls it the “new soil” because everything blooms from this soil. As a “data detective”, he usually starts off with a good question and sees what grows out of the data.   Author and cultural critic, Roxanne Gay, read from her new essay detailing what she believes is the “Age of American Disgrace.”  She wants to believe there is “grace beyond this American disgrace” and that to achieve real change we must be willing to think differently and act differently. Carla Hayden, the 14th Librarian of Congress, delivered an inspirational closing keynote address that was the highlight of the conference.  Nominated for this prestigious role by President Obama, Hayden is the first woman and the first African-American to serve as Librarian of Congress.  In her role as CEO of Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore, she famously kept the library open during the riots that followed the death of Freddie Gray while in police custody.  In her new role, Hayden hopes to make the Library of Congress’s priceless collections available to everyone.

In the spirit of open access, The Conference Proceedings are freely available at http://www.ala.org/acrl/sites/ala.org.acrl/files/content/conferences/confsandpreconfs/2017/ACRL2017_A.pdf



Women of Bristol Exhibition

by Heidi Benedict, University Archivist


Women of Bristol Exhibition
Rogers Free Library Entrance Gallery
April 1 through April 30, 2017

The Women of Bristol Exhibition is the first ever exhibit-oriented collaboration between nearly all of Bristol’s historic, arts, and cultural institutions. Contributors include Blithewold Mansion, Gardens & Arboretum, The Bristol Historical & Preservation Society, Coggeshall Farm Museum, First Congregational Church, Herreshoff Marine Museum, Linden Place Mansion, Rogers Free Library and Roger Williams University Library.


The exhibition focuses on several important women from Bristol living between 1795 and 1995 — Maria Rogers, Theodora DeWolf Colt, Izannah Walker, Abby D. Munro, Alice Bell Morgan, Marjorie Randolph Van Wickle Lyon, Jane Nelle and Alice DeWolf Pardee. Although not from Bristol, Amelia Simmons, author of the first American cookbook, is also included in the exhibit. The exhibition brings together a unique collection of objects, including cooking and sailing implements, artwork, photographs, books and other written material.


The exhibit opens in the Rogers Free Library entrance gallery at 525 Hope Street on April 1 and will be available for viewing during library hours until April 30. It is free and open to the public.

Library Announces 2017 OER Faculty Fellows


By Lindsey Gumb, Instructional Technology Librarian


The University Library, in collaboration with the Center for Scholarship, Assessment, Learning, Teaching and Technology (CSALT2) is excited to announce this year’s accepted participants for the 2017 OER Faculty Fellows program.  After last year’s successful pilot, we knew we needed to offer this opportunity again to our faculty, and here are the individuals who have stepped up to the challenge:


Paula Bailey – Mathematics

Bob Dermody – Architecture

Peter Hahn – Business

Chantelle Messier – Writing

Heather Miceli – CORE

Kathy Micken – Business

Janine Weisman – Journalism


The Fellows are asked to take a course in which they traditionally assign a textbook and to instead collaborate with a librarian and instructional designer during the summer to identify openly licensed resources that will ideally address two factors: they’ll be free (or low cost) for the student, and they’ll also offer the instructor an opportunity to better address student learning outcomes by implementing new pedagogies.  The process of locating and evaluating quality OER can be difficult at times, especially when faculty are looking for resources in disciplines that are not fully represented in the OER community.  These challenges can also be wonderful opportunities for faculty members to author new resources, which can then be openly licensed and shared with others.  OER is all about sharing – whether you are the consumer or creator!

The other vital piece to this program is assessment.  It’s a wonderful thing to be able to save students money on textbook costs, but we are also extremely interested in how OER impacts student learning.  Our Fellows will work with CSALT2 to create an assessment plan to help them track student engagement with the OER content, and determine what kind of impact it has had on learning.  At the end of the Fall 2017 semester, Fellows will be expected to share their results in a scholarly manner by developing a conference presentation and/or manuscript for publication.

If you are a faculty or staff member interested in learning more about OER on your own, please contact librarian Lindsey Gumb to be directed to a new self-paced tutorial.


Image: https://maricopa.instructure.com/courses/805732


OCLC WMS Implementation

by John Fobert, Electronic Resources Librarian

In July 2016, the library announced our migration to a new integrated library system called OCLC WorldShare Management.  At that time, work began on implementing a new interface to search our holdings as well as on the transfer of records from our previous library system to WMS.  In December, we completed migration of bibliographic and patron records to the new system.

Although we have successfully migrated our records, the technical services staff is only now getting a chance to work with the new system.  The staff is excited to finally be able to place and receive orders in WMS.  The serials department is anxious to use the dynamic invoicing tool which will allow us to track cost per usage for electronic resources in order to better inform our purchasing decisions.  The License Manager will automatically harvest usage statistics directly from vendors eliminating the need for staff intervention.  Cataloging of materials will now be initiated at the point of order and orders can be placed electronically using Edifact technology, an industry standard.

WMS allows for a much more streamlined workflow than our previous library system.  For that reason, a consultant from OCLC will be visiting the library in May to discuss how to create greater efficiencies in our procedures, allowing staff to pursue a wider range of tasks.  It is hoped that these behind the scenes changes will measurably improve the library’s ability to serve the University community.

There is No Such Thing as Educational Use

By Lindsey Gumb, Instructional Technology Librarian


It’s a common misconception that when a resource (e.g. an article, image, video, audio clip, etc.) is used in an educational setting that copyright restrictions dissolve entirely because “it’s educational use.”  I hate to be the bearer of bad news to all of you who may be guilty of casually letting this phrase roll off your tongue, but there is no such thing as educational use.  Really, I’m not lying: it’s not a real thing.  There is, however, Fair Use, which does in fact come into

play quite often in educational settings, granting educators and students alike leniency in many situations.  Let’s take a closer look.

Fair Use, or Section 107 of the U.S. Copyright Act is a subjective portion of the law which allows us to take and use portions of copyrighted works without obtaining the permission of the copyright holder, if and only if we use them for purposes such as criticism, commentary, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research.    To determine whether or not a use is considered fair or not, one must look at four different factors:


  • the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
  • the nature of the copyrighted work;
  • the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
  • the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

To give a relevant example in higher education, let’s look at a situation that surfaces often on many campuses, including Roger Williams:

Q: “I want to upload a PDF article I found in an RWU library database to Bridges for my students to read before our next class discussion.  Is this fair use?”


A: Here’s my motto: when in doubt, link out.   Instead of uploading the PDF to Bridges, simply copy and paste the permalink to the article for your students to access themselves.  You might argue that since Bridges requires a student to login it should be fine (and the courts may now agree with you), however, you are reproducing and distributing copies of copyrighted material without the explicit permission of the copyright holder by uploading the document.  By providing a link, the student is required to enter their library credentials to access the article, and if they choose, they can download it for their own personal study (and you hope they do), which is considered Fair Use.


The above example frustrates educators to no end; they feel that because the resource in question is used in an educational setting and for an educational purpose it should be okay to upload it without contacting the copyright holder (in this case, a publisher).  However, if we go back to the four factors listed above, you’ll note that number three mentions something about how much of the work (in this case, the article) one uses without obtaining said permission.  Reproducing and distributing a whole article does not favor fair use, but potentially a smaller portion would be okay.  Keep in mind, however, that the courts believe “intent to infringe is not needed to find copyright infringement.  Intent or knowledge is not an element of infringement, and thus even an innocent infringer is liable for infringement” (ARL).  If you’re unsure whether the use is fair or not, consult with legal counsel.

Because fair use is so subjective, in higher education we are often forced to choose between using the material we wish to use in the classroom and using subpar resources that don’t exactly fit our needs but have no copyright restrictions.  After reading the above Q&A, one can start to realize how frustrating working with copyright can be.

To end this article on a positive note, there is a lot of dialogue happening

in the academic and scholarly communities lately as advocates press Congress for a revision of the law to reflect the drastic change in technology and resource sharing capabilities that we have access to today as creators and consumers.  Most notably, Harvard University is hosting its 4th annual Fair Use Week from February 22 -26 both virtually and on the Cambridge campus.  Be sure to check it out!


Credit: Fair Use icon courtesy of Harvard University Library and copyright image courtesy OnlineColleges.net

New York Times Online is now available to the University community compliments of the RWU Library

By John Fobert, Electronic Resources Librarian



The library is proud to announce that it has been able to negotiate New York Times Online subscriptions for the University community.

Students will particularly enjoy the convenience of being able to access the latest issues of the New York Times as well as historical content back to 1851.  They will have a well written, researched and curated source of news at their fingertips.  The library hopes a resource with such relevancy to current events will spark discussion outside of the classroom thereby creating a more informed student body.

Faculty can enjoy the ease of incorporating current content into their courses as well as being able to access the New York Times in Education product.  The New York Times in Education product allows faculty to develop general instructional strategies based on learning outcomes. Students can also use this product to develop co-curricular activities when they are on-campus.

The NYT Online can be used for much more than just searching articles or reading today’s news.  Users can subscribe to newsletters such as The Edit where articles are matched to academic majors.  News alerts can be sent to mobile devices based on personal interests and needs.  There is a treasure trove of videos, photography, and other multi-media resources available.  Users can even save recipes from the food section to their own recipe box.

Sign up today!  If you need additional help or have questions, please contact the Library Information desk at 254-3375 or John Fobert, Electronic Resources Librarian at 245-3374.

To access you free subscription, see the instructions at http://rwu.libguides.com/NYTOnline

High-stakes Texts: Lowering the cost of textbooks to save Rhode Islander’s Money

By Lindsey Gumb, Instructional Technology Librarian

On September 27th Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo challenged the state’s institutions of higher education to save students $5 million over the next five years by replacing traditional (and expensive) textbooks with openly licensed (free) ones. Roger Williams University, along with 6 other colleges in the state have pledged to collaborate and engage with their respective faculty members to identify appropriate open textbooks to participate in this initiative.  As a part of this collaboration, a Steering Committee consisting of one librarian from each participating institution has been formed to provide guidance, learn from one another and to develop assessments along the way.  Instructional Technology Librarian, Lindsey Gumb, is representing RWU on the committee and is excited to marry the Governor’s initiative with the current partnerships the library has made on campus with the Open Educational Resources movement.

Developing and Implementing Affordable Excellence with OER

Kelly Donnell from the School of Education, Lindsey Gumb from the University Library and Linda Beith from the Center for Scholarship, Assessment, Learning, Teaching & Technology co-presented at the New England Faculty Development Consortium’s Annual Fall Conference on November 18, 2016 at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA. The theme of the conference was Civic Engagement and Service Learning.

The trio’s interactive, 55-minute presentation was entitled: Developing and Implementing Affordable Excellence with OER. The focus was on the use of Open Educational Resources (OER) for both K-12 and higher education institutions to provide meaningful access to effective technology, current, high-quality texts, and Common Core State Standard resources. RWU’s OER Fellows program was introduced with examples of projects underway and OER collections under development.