As an Affordability & Digital Initiatives Librarian, planning, hosting, and executing events and workshops on campus for Open Access Week is an essential part of my position. For those unfamiliar with Open Access Week, Open Access Week is a designated week, typically towards the end of October, to celebrate and spread awareness of the open access movement. This year’s theme was “Community over Commercialization.” I did not incorporate the theme into the programming primarily because I want to center our events around the university’s Affordability Initiative.
We started the week off with a celebration of affordability and open access on our campus. The purpose of the event was to highlight accomplishments made throughout the past year, such as increased use of Open Educational Resources (OER) and submissions to our Institutional Repository (IR). Next, I hosted a workshop on OER adoption, adaptation, and creation with my new faculty cohort. During the workshop, we discussed the impact OER has on equity as well as resources for finding and creating OER. New faculty were intrigued by OER and expressed interest in exploring what is available in their field. I hosted the same workshop for all faculty in the afternoon. Interestingly, this workshop sparked more of a discussion regarding Creative Commons and self-publishing.
On Tuesday, my colleague and I hosted two launch parties for our new sponsored affordability development opportunities, one in-person and one virtual. We were promoting the launch of the textbook affordability self-paced course we created on D2L Brightspace (our LMS). The course was designed for faculty to strengthen their knowledge about the open movement, pathways to open authoring, and research related to textbook affordability and OER. Additionally, we were promoting our new program in which faculty could apply and receive sponsorship to adopt, adapt, or create OER.
Wednesday was dedicated to the Institutional Repository. My colleague hosted an event regarding the role of the IR on campus. He also encouraged faculty to bring their CVs to see how they could contribute to the IR.
On Thursday, I hosted a small panel event about the power of self-publishing your expertise. The panelists were faculty with experience creating OER and had all authored at least one textbook. The panelist offered great insight into the process of self-publishing in varying disciplines.
To conclude the week, I hosted affordability and faculty collaboration hours. These hours give faculty a chance to meet with me directly and discuss where to search for OER, how to navigate Creative Commons, how to make textbook selections for the bookstore, etc.
Unfortunately, attendance for almost every event was lower than I had hoped. Most of the events were held in-person in the library. Next year, I would try doing more virtual events that could be recorded and sent to those interested. I also wondered if the time of day was a factor in the low attendance. We varied the times in hopes of reaching as many people as possible, but the inconsistency in time might have been a deterrent.
An idea for next year would be to incorporate events or activities for students. Our library’s student advisory board did hand out snacks to students on Wednesday and told them about our Textbooks on Reserve program and textbook donation drive; however, I think we could do more. An opportunity to connect with students and amplify their voice on the topic of textbook affordability and open access would be beneficial to our Affordability Initiative.
Lastly, not having experience coordinating a week full of campus events, I was thankful to have the support of the University Library’s Dean’s Office. They scheduled rooms, ordered refreshments, organized swag (pens, stickers, water bottles, keychains, etc.), and coordinated social media posts throughout the week advertising events, highlighting campus affordability champions, and listing resources to adopt, adapt, and create OER. I could not have survived the week without their help.