This post was contributed by Richenda Hawkins, Library Department Chair and Instructional Services/Reference Librarian, Linn-Benton Community College Library.
In January, Linn-Benton Community College (LBCC) librarians began working on textbook affordability for our students. In a little over two months, our efforts have saved students an estimated $16,435 to $22,977 per year. The library spent $582 from our book budget and a relatively modest amount of staff time to realize these savings. Based on these numbers, every library dollar spent represents a student savings of up to $40!
All of the projected savings result from replacing required print textbooks with an ebook edition of the same text available through the LBCC Library Catalog and our ebook databases:
- Working with LBCC Bookstore staff, library staff gathered and analyzed information about the textbooks for Spring Term, identifying the courses with the highest and lowest textbook costs and courses that do not require textbooks.
- LBCC Librarians searched all Spring Term textbooks in our eBrary ebook database and discovered 3 books that were already available to our students with unlimited access. We also searched for ebooks on similar topics and discovered many potentially useful books that were forwarded for review by disciplinary faculty.
- LBCC Librarians searched all Spring Term textbooks in our book vendor database (YBP’s Gobi) and purchased 6 additional textbooks as ebooks that will be available to our students.
- Working with Institutional Research, enrollment data from AY 2013/14 helped identify LBCC’s highest enrollment courses and estimate potential savings if specific courses eliminated textbook costs. We have also identified which of these courses are part of a statewide degree program.
- The textbook savings spreadsheets linked here track our efforts. Please note that this is a working document and the cost information is currently estimated high (new book price only) everywhere but the first sheet.
In addition to promoting the use of library resources, LBCC librarians are collaborating on campus and statewide to build the necessary framework for supporting the adoption and/or creation of Open Educational Resources (OERs) at LBCC in the following ways:
- Jane Sandberg, Electronic Resources Librarian, launched LBCC’s OER Discussion Group and created a campus email list (OER-LB). Meeting minutes from February 12th outline current OER work underway in math, engineering, biology and nursing, as well as challenges and opportunities for adoption.
- Richenda Hawkins and Jane Sandberg are working with Tina Hovecamp, Library Director, Central Oregon Community College, and Dianna Fisher, Director, Open Oregon State at OSU, to explore collaborative opportunities to increase OER adoption through an OER Special Projects grant.
- Steve Smith, Director, eLearning & Media, and Richenda Hawkins were invited to present on the topic of reducing course material costs to the LBCC Board of Trustees. The presentation outline linked here includes a snapshot of LBCC’s OER efforts as of February 2015, as well as data compiled from the bookstore, the library, and a survey of 90 LBCC faculty members.
- Faculty, staff, and librarians are participating in the regional OER conferences at PCC and Lane.
- Richenda Hawkins met with student leadership, College Advancement, and LBCC’s new grant writer, Cynthia Currin, to explore ways to fund OER development and adoption.
- Librarians had one-on-one conversations about textbook affordability and OER / library resource adoption with at least 35 faculty and 3 deans, including every department chair in 2 divisions. We have identified several faculty members who have created OERs, many more who want to adopt OERs, and at least one faculty member who wants to publish the course they have developed.