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Notes from Executive Director Scott Garrison – May 2021

MCLS is always open to new ways to serve and support member libraries, including around open access (OA) publishing and open educational resources (OER), and I’m glad to share that we will join the Open Education Network (OEN) in July as a Consortial Member. OEN is a key resource for those looking to build and operate OER programs that can help faculty identify, adopt, and create OER for students (such as those involved in the Michigan OER Network and the ALI Affordable Learning Committee). OER is widely regarded as a strategy to lower students’ costs, which fosters retention and student success.

In addition to its work supporting the Open Textbook Library, OEN runs programs for its community, including local workshops on engaging faculty, a set of shared infrastructure, processes and resources to expand open textbook publishing (called the Publishing Cooperative), the Certificate in OER Librarianship professional development program, and a free Summer Summit.

Some MCLS member libraries are currently OEN Institutional Members, but a far greater number are not. In these times of increasing budget challenges, our consortial OEN membership will enable MCLS members to join as Allied Members, reducing the annual membership cost from $1,575 to just $525, with the same benefits that Institutional Members enjoy. Current Institutional Members may convert their membership to Allied, which will save them over $1,000 annually. Benefits outlined on OEN’s website include:

  • Access to OEN staff-led training and professional development, including a discount on the Certificate in OER Librarianship program
  • Access to a data dashboard
  • Access to a limited number of seats in the OEN Community of Practice, which supports librarians in encouraging faculty to write open textbook reviews
  • Full access to the Publishing Cooperative’s resources
  • A PressbooksEDU discount

If you’re interested in pursuing Allied membership, please use this short form to sign up through May 15. The OEN will reach out to you to answer any questions, as well as share your interest with MCLS. Watch for an announcement soon about a “Meet the OEN” webinar with Sarah Faye Cohen, OEN’s Senior Managing Director.

In addition to our OEN membership, MCLS will offer a small grant program to support several MCLS member libraries in Indiana and Michigan in joining as Allied Members. We will fund 50% of the Allied Member fee for these libraries for up to two years, with the expectation that they will assume the full cost of the fee by their third membership year. A grant program application will be available in June. To learn more, please contact Even MCLS members who are not OEN Allied Members will be eligible for a range of OEN services as part of our Consortial Membership.

OER is an important strategy for libraries and the institutions they serve. At MCLS, we look forward to opening the possibility for more libraries to participate in and benefit from the Open Education Network’s work, and lowering barriers for libraries, and the faculty and students they serve.

If you have ideas for how we can support libraries in serving their communities, I’m very open to hearing from you. Contact me anytime at