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The Consortium of Academic and Research Libraries in Illinois (CARLI) comprises 128 diverse member libraries, including 13 public universities, 39 community colleges, and 76 private, research, and special libraries. In 2016, member libraries began to ask CARLI staff about joining the Open Textbook Network (OTN), a membership organization anchored at the University of Minnesota that promotes access, affordability, and student success through the use of open textbooks. Part of the University of Illinois System, CARLI is funded by State of Illinois appropriations and at the time was unable to afford the OTN membership fee due to the historic 736-day “budget impasse” that gripped the state. CARLI leadership asked member library directors for pledges to support the fee for this important initiative. After OTN membership was established, the CARLI Board of Directors created the “Open Illinois” CARLI initiative.

As part of the Open Illinois Initiative, an Open Educational Resources Task Force--made of up librarians at diverse institutions across the state--was formed in summer 2017. The task force helps identify and develop materials about OERs for libraries’ use with their institutions. A subset of librarians on the task force are “system leaders” who attended OTN training workshops and are charged with providing training on increasing OER awareness, engagement, and adoption to other librarians in Illinois.

This presentation focuses on the benefits and challenges of leveraging existing consortial arrangements to promote OER at member institutions, as well as the implementation of this project. We cover strategies used so far to increase awareness of and training with OER to campuses across the state, including surveying member libraries regarding their experiences and needs relating to OER, developing resources, providing training, and giving librarians from CARLI member libraries the tools to communicate the value of OER to their communities.


This presentation was given at the Open Education Southern Symposium, Fayetteville, AR, October 2, 2018.