The Library is Open: Evolving definitions of library collections, patrons, and access

Sara Q. Thompson, OSU-Cascades, and Andrea A. Wirth, Oregon State University Libraries & Press (Bend, OR): The library is open: Evolving definitions of library collections, patrons, and access

Libraries, both academic and public, have longstanding and well-documented roles in their communities as places of discovery, access to knowledge, and sharing of new ideas. These include acting as hubs of information and dialogue about the environment, development, and sustainability. Libraries contribute to social sustainability solutions by fostering community connections, lifelong learning, and access to information needed for informed decision-making.

This presentation will provide an overview of three examples in which library activities and interests intersect with the concerns of social sustainability.
Open collections: the Oregon Library Passport Program
Open Educational Resources
Open Access

The Oregon Library Passport program seeks to make libraries collections conveniently available to all Oregonians, wherever they are. Libraries opt in to participate and serve anyone with an Oregon library card.
Libraries have long struggled with the question of textbooks. For most academic libraries, it is not affordable or practical to acquire textbooks for courses, yet the demand from students for better options is apparent. Seeking ways in which high quality textbooks can be made affordable is a natural match for libraries and therefore some have begun participating in programs to encourage development of new textbooks as Open Education Resources (OERs).

Open access (OA) to scholarly information is something most people in the academic community are familiar with. And as with OERs, the library is a natural fit for encouraging open access to research. In fact the open access movement has come a long way in recent years, and academic libraries have played several roles, ranging from the addition of OA content to their catalogs to providing input on federal policy.

Libraries, as institutions, contribute to social sustainability solutions by seeking news ways in which to supply information to members of a society that value access and openness and the opportunity to fully participate in issues that affect them.