Reimagining the Role of School Librarians with OER

Last month, my colleagues -- ISKME CEO, Lisa Petrides, Director of Research and Learning, Cynthia Jimes, and Librarian, Letha Goger -- published an article on The Role of “Open” in Strategic Library Planning, in the Education Policy Analysis Archives, which explores the digital opportunities available to libraries through open access research and open educational resources (OER).

They suggest, “Open curation and collection development practices can serve as a useful means for organizing and providing structure to the diverse mass of available digital information, so that individual users of the library have access to coherent contexts for meaningful engagement with that information.” They recommend that librarians integrate open practices, such as building shared values and understanding, discovering content areas that need curation, and cultivating leaders to share their knowledge about open access policy and practices.

We at ISKME have been supporting OER integration and OER leadership training for the past decade. Recently, we engaged with school libraries and librarians to advance OER discovery, curation, and authoring.

Specifically, in New Hampshire, we are guiding college faculty and middle school and high school teachers and librarians to collaboratively design, implement, and share STEM courses and lessons. To do this, we leverage open learning and deeper learning practices to identify and curate high-quality content; then apply design thinking to personalize the content for their learners; and finally, reflect and share the results with our global OER Commons community.  

Our efforts have expanded the role of librarians in the statewide program to incorporate more collaboration, instructional design, and leadership into their work. More information on this project is available at

As libraries explore ways to best support their school communities in the digital world, we look forward to encouraging OER planning and implementation with on-the-ground support. If you’d like to join the movement toward reimagining the role of school librarians with OER, please reach out to us at

Flickr images courtesy of Musgo Dumio_Momio and Library Groover 

April 05, 2016