This paper aims to explain the concept of Open Educational Resources (OER) and how libraries can make a good case to donors to fund these types of projects.
The literature reveals that donors have been willing to support projects that save students money on textbooks. Course reserves have traditionally been a popular model. More recently, libraries have found funding for OER initiatives. These types of initiatives are discussed and several case studies of donors currently funding OER projects are examined.
Donors, internal and external to the library and to the university, have shown an interest in funding projects that reduce textbook costs for students. They have funded course reserves in the past and have begun to fund OER projects. There are both qualitative and quantitative methods to induce donors to fund these types of projects.
Libraries have traditionally supported the mission of access to information and for academic libraries that has sometimes included access to textbooks. Course reserves are a limited solution, whereas when an OER replaces an expensive textbook, it is a viable solution for all students.
OERs have strong social implications. Any person, whether associated with an institution of higher learning, or not, can access the information in an OER and learn the associated content.
There is some literature on specific OER projects. This paper aims to fill a gap in the literature, specifically on how to approach donors regarding OER initiatives.