During a Library Student Advisory Board meeting in the fall, student members discussed the difficulty their peers experience paying for required textbooks. To learn more, we invited Zara Wilkinson to talk to us about the library’s Open & Affordable Textbooks (OAT) program. This inspired board members Oriana Holmes-Price, Grace Latini, and Erika Pitsker to plan a faculty panel event to promote the OAT program to the rest of the student body. They invited Zara Wilkinson, librarian for the OAT program, Dr. Jamie Dunaev, Assistant Teaching Professor in Psychology, Dr. Nancy Cresse, Clinical Assistant Professor in Nursing, and Dr. Bethany Welch, Lecturer in Urban Studies to discuss their experiences with the OAT program and their philosophy towards open educational resources more generally. After diligent effort on the part of the Board members, we held the panel, Open & Affordable Textbooks: Faculty and Student Perspectives, on April 6th. Faculty, staff, and students in Camden attended and learned about the importance and impact of open and affordable textbooks and the library’s efforts to support students and faculty through the OAT program. Many students expressed interest in taking an OAT course and helping to expand the program to additional courses and departments. The Paul Robeson Library Student Advisory Board plans to continue championing the Open & Affordable Textbooks program.
Additionally, the Rutgers-Camden Student Government Association has voiced its support for the OAT Program through ongoing dialogues with librarians Zara Wilkinson and John Powell. The executive board of the SGA has brainstormed a variety of collaborative initiatives, including the development of a university-wide portal of course materials developed because of the OAT program and a form where students can submit recommendations for OAT or submit classes which they had to drop due to additional costs from textbooks or access codes.