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Abstract

Clackamas Community College (CCC) became the first Oregon community college to contract with Barnes & Noble Education (BNED) for bookstore services in July 2018. The college-run bookstore’s contribution to the general fund was shrinking with each budget cycle, whereas BNED guaranteed a minimum annual commission of $200,000. This article describes the steps CCC librarians took to influence the contract after discovering objectionable language including, but not limited to, faculty use of Open Educational Resources (OER) and linking to OER in the learning management system (LMS). The librarians' advocacy has shed light on the need to ask fundamental questions about the purpose of a college bookstore, especially at a community college with an equity- and access-driven mission. Is a bookstore a core student service or a profit-generating enterprise?

After a deep read of BNED’s service proposal and sample contract, librarians identified campus partners, raised specific questions at meetings, met with administration, and sought guidance from the OER community to inform an advocacy strategy. Beyond the contract, this exploratory process uncovered a long list of questions worth asking, as well as details about BNED’s OER products and services. BNED offers OER-based products on a proprietary courseware platform that comes at a cost to students. In the absence of a faculty-driven OER program, BNED is now the primary OER mouthpiece and infrastructure on campus. What might that mean for the future of OER at an institution? This article intends to support colleagues who find themselves in a similar situation; a likely scenario, given that the contract includes language indicating other Oregon colleges may re-use it without a request for proposals.

Author Biography

Colleen Sanders is a Part-Time Reference Librarian at Clackamas Community College. She has served on OLA’s Communications Committee and is currently vice-chair of the Library Instruction Round Table (https://www.olaweb.org/lirt_home). She will be copresenting on her article’s topic at the 2019 OLA/WLA Joint Conference in the session Reading the Fine Print: Libraries Defending Academic Freedom, Students’ Rights & OER (https://tinyurl.com/y6j8j6ta). If you’d like to 1 Tagline for BNED’s brand partnership page (https://partnerships.bncollege.com/) (as of 10/01/2018). This offer addresses potential investors. 2 Other areas included the presence of credit cards at cashier tills and on the textbook website; replacing college staff positions with BNED employees; collection and safety of student data; BNED’s website auto-populating student shopping carts with required and recommended books and supplies as they register for classes; CCC access to textbook data; exclusivity of printing services; BNED’s textbook discovery platform & partnerships with select publishers; whether course reserves could be framed as competition; whether BNED would work with the library to ensure faculty wouldn’t be offered materials already owned by the library; who would provide point of need technical support for BNED products and systems. learn more about Colleen’s work, see the Open Oregon Educational Resources webinar Open Education for Student Success (https://tinyurl.com/y2nwmt9c). Her recent presentation Cut the CRAP: Teaching Credibility Beyond the Acronyms (https://tinyurl.com/yxnsh55j) focuses on alternative pedagogical approaches to information evaluation. She has shared her assessment work in the ACRL-Oregon presentation Geek Out, Don’t Freak Out! How to Chill Out and Learn to Love Assessment (http://bit.ly/acrl-or-feb19). She will be co-presenting at ACRL 2019 in Cleveland at the session entitled Getting Uncomfortable is Good for You: Turning Narrative into Action with Allyship and Advocacy (https://tinyurl.com/y59355mg). Colleen facilitates the Pacific Northwest Critical Librarianship Community, an inter-institutional group of library workers growing their critlib understanding and practice. If you’d like to join in a conversation space dedicated to anti-oppression work in all areas of the library, please e-mail pnwcritlib@gmail.com.

Copyright statement

© 2019 Colleen Sanders

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