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Libraries to Promote Open Access Week with Workshops and Documentary Screening

Bailey Fink
October 3, 2019
Open Access event banner
Graphic design by Herbert Frimpong/Ohio University Libraries

Every year, Open Access Week is celebrated internationally to promote the concept of Open Access, or free and immediate access to information for everyone.

Open Access Week is from Oct. 21-27 and will include events at both Alden Library and one of the Athens County Public Libraries, located on 30 Home St. in Athens. During the week, two workshops titled “Information for All” will be hosted at both Alden, Oct. 21 from 2:30-4:30 p.m. in room 251, and the Athens Public Library, Oct. 22 from 6-8 p.m. The workshops and their presenters include:

  • “Open Digital Resources: Archives and Special Collections, Broad and Narrow” by Janet Carleton, Erin Wilson and James Gilmer
  • “Textbook Affordability: The Power of OER” by John Canter and Sherri Saines
  • “Open to All: Free Resources at the Athens County Public Libraries” by Laura O’Neil
  • “Open Resources for the Citizen Scientist: Biodiversity Heritage Library and iNaturalist” by Andrew Stuart
  • “Local Histories, Digital Collections: Ohio Stories in the Libraries’ Digital Archive” by Stacey Lavender

 Additionally, a documentary screening will take place in Alden Library room 319 on Oct. 25 from 2-4 p.m. titled, “Paywall: The Business of Scholarship,” which focuses on the need for open access to research and science.

“Open Access is sort of a movement to change the model of the way information is distributed, so that the people who need to read and use the information don’t have to pay for it,” explained Kelly Broughton, assistant dean for research and education services and a member of the Libraries’ scholarly communication community of practice team that is planning the events.

This year the group, headed by Araba Dawson-Andoh and consisting of Broughton, Andrew Stuart, John Canter and Janet Hulm, has teamed up with the Athens County Public Libraries (ACPL) to coincide with the theme of “Open for Whom? Equity in Open Knowledge.” 

“Aside from just the University community, we want everybody from the Athens community to benefit from knowing about such information … because we are in Southeast Ohio where people don't have resources, so we feel that if we partner with the public library we’ll be able to spread the information to everybody,” said Dawson-Andoh.

In addition to the OHIO Libraries, ACPL supports a wide range of Open Access materials as well, and anyone in Athens, including students, can receive a library card. ACPL offers an eLibrary card as well, which gives immediate access to digital library resources, such as, Hoopla and Libby for Overdrive.

“Attendees [of Open Access Week] might also get an idea of how much libraries offer us in today’s digital world, whether it’s access to educational resources, free online legal advice, language learning apps or entertainment streaming services,” said Becca Lachman, communication officer of the Athens County Public Libraries. “[And learn] how much money [they] can potentially save by using a library card.”

Open Access Week is in its 10th year of promoting Open Access globally, which covers topics from local and national history, genealogy, music, biodiversity, alternative materials to textbooks, OERs and many more resources. According to Broughton, the Libraries continue to provide “support to faculty looking to integrate OER into their classes using Top Hat, Blackboard and any other delivery platform,” which can help save students money on course materials.

“I’m personally very passionate about this because I am a First Gen student and I grew up in this area, so I come from an Appalachian background, and I know from experience … how high textbook costs affect students and their success,” said Canter, subject librarian for the physical sciences and mathematics.

All members of the community are invited to attend the events at both Alden Library and the Athens County Public Library. All events are free and open to the public.