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.
Let Us Get You Into College: Community College Librarians, Barnes & Noble, and OER.
© 2019 Colleen Sanders
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