OER Event at Ellis Library

OER Initiatives & SPARC
Presentation in Ellis Library
Tuesday, August 1
Ellis Library – 114A
Please RSVP on Eventbrite

Interested in learning about ways to support and implement Open Educational Resources (OER)?

As the University of Missouri moves forward with its own system-wide OER initiative, it’s useful to learn about how faculty at other universities have made progress in Open Education initiatives. Katie Steen, SPARC Open Education Fellow and Mizzou graduate, is coming to campus to explain how the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) supports the creation and adoption of OER. Ms. Steen will share what SPARC has learned in working with other colleges and universities on OER: what methods for implementing OER have created the most impact in affordability and equitable learning, and strategies for how we can increase OER use and impact at our own university.

Open to all faculty, students, staff, across campus—anyone interested in creating, using, or supporting OER is encouraged to attend! 
Presentation will be 30 minutes with up to 30 additional minutes for Q&A.
Click here to RSVP on Eventbrite.


Open Education is the critical link between teaching, learning, and the collaborative culture of the Internet. SPARC supports policies and practices that advance the creation and use of Open Educational Resources (OER) — academic materials that everyone can use, adapt, and share freely.

The Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) is a global coalition committed to making Open the default for research and education. SPARC empowers people to solve big problems and make new discoveries through the adoption of policies and practices that advance Open Access, Open Data, and Open Education.


Grace Atkins

Grace Atkins is the Outreach & OER Librarian at the University of Missouri Libraries. They focus on increasing the use of Open Educational Resources on campus, engaging with library users, and marketing library services, events, and resources.

Ellis Library Drinking Water Safe Again

The lab test results are in, and the boil water advisory in Ellis Library is officially over. The water from the drinking fountains and water bottle refill stations is once again safe to drink.

Grace Atkins

Grace Atkins is the Outreach & OER Librarian at the University of Missouri Libraries. They focus on increasing the use of Open Educational Resources on campus, engaging with library users, and marketing library services, events, and resources.

Recorded Sound Update

With the retirement of David Truesdell, the Recorded Sound Center is no longer open for walk-in service.  Materials will still be available for checkout.

To check out a compact disc or album, use the MERLIN Catalog to find the item, then press the "REQUEST" button at the top left and enter your MyZou login (pawprint) and password. The pickup location should default to MU Ellis Library Circulation, so next hit the submit button.

Circulation will pull the item from Recorded Sound and notify you by email that it is available for pickup at the Circulation desk. Usually within 24 hours. 

Contact Mike Muchow, Humanities Librarian, at muchowm@missouri.edu or 573-882-3224 if you have additional questions.

Jennifer Gravley

Reference and Instruction Librarian

Boil Water Advisory in Ellis Library

We have been notified that Ellis Library is still under the water boil advisory through today (Tuesday 7/18) and tomorrow (Wednesday 7/19) until notice of the lab results. We will provide updates when we have them. Please continue to find other sources of water during this time. 

Grace Atkins

Grace Atkins is the Outreach & OER Librarian at the University of Missouri Libraries. They focus on increasing the use of Open Educational Resources on campus, engaging with library users, and marketing library services, events, and resources.

OER Librarian Chosen to Lead Open Textbook Network Initiative

Cycle of Success Interview with Outreach Librarian, Grace Atkins

Q: You’ve been selected by the MOBIUS Board to serve as a MOBIUS System Leader for the Open Textbook Network Initiative. Congratulations! What does this mean?
A: Thank you! Let’s break it down: MOBIUS is a network of 192 libraries that provides access to shared information resources, services, and expertise. When one of our university libraries doesn’t have a book or other resource, we go into the MOBIUS online catalog and see if one of the other branches has what we need. In turn, we do the same for other MOBIUS partners.
The MOBIUS system just gained membership to the Open Textbook Network (OTN), which provides access to the Open Textbook Library, a set of peer-reviewed, customizable academic textbooks. Over 350 campuses are part of the OTN, and now Mizzou faculty will have access to their huge set of online textbooks that are free to students.

Q: This sounds like a form of OER?
A: Yes, free textbooks are a form of an Open Educational Resource (OER). An OER can be “teaching, learning, and research resources that reside in the public domain or have been released under an intellectual property license that permits their free use and re-purposing by others." To over-simplify, an OER is a free textbook or any other teaching resource/tool that students don’t have to pay for. Which is great, because right now a student at Mizzou currently spends an average of $500—$700 each year on course materials (see May 2017 OER report for more stats).

Q: Why were you nominated for this position?
A: I’ve been the coordinator for our campus’s OER Interest Group for two years, and I recently presented on OER at MOBIUS’s annual conference a few weeks ago. I’m currently working to support the new MU System OER Initiative that Dr. Choi announced today.

Q: How does being a member of the Open Textbook Network support the UM System’s new OER Initiative?
A: The Open Textbook Network (OTN) promotes access, affordability, and student success through the use of open textbooks. Founded and run by the University of Minnesota's Center for Open Education, the OTN manages the Open Textbook Library which contains open textbooks licensed to be freely used, adapted, and distributed. With our membership, we now have access to these resources, which provide options for faculty who pursue the MU System OER Initiative.
Of course, we’ll also be working with OpenStax, SPARC, and other OER organizations and discovery tools. With an UM System initiative this big, it’s useful for faculty to have many options when it comes to OER, and it’s even more useful to have a trained experts and librarians such as myself to provide resources, instruction, and support for those faculty. 

Q: So, what is the role of a System Leader in the Open Textbook Network?
A: The Open Textbook Network has what is essentially a train-the-trainer program for new members. As a System Leader, I’ll be trained to train the other libraries in the MOBIUS system, including the libraries here at Mizzou. I’ll be going to a summer institute at the University of Minnesota in August to learn all about how to use and customize the resources and templates in the Open Textbook Library, and then I’ll train other librarians in our MOBIUS system to teach faculty, staff, and other educators on how to use these free resources in their courses.

Q: How does a leadership role with the Open Textbook Network contribute to the libraries’ Cycle of Success?
A: Providing access to course materials at no cost creates a more equitable learning environment for students. When all students can afford to access the textbooks they need, their academic performance and retention improves. If I teach librarians how to teach faculty to use the Open Textbook Library, then the libraries have established a cycle that ultimately results in student academic achievement.

You can learn more about Open Educational Resources (OER) at libraryguides.missouri.edu/OpenEducationalResources

Taira Meadowcroft

Taira Meadowcroft is a Health Sciences Librarian at the University of Missouri. She focuses on quality improvement, emergency medicine, and social media for the health sciences library.

Cycle of Success: Robert Altenbernd and the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans

Cycle of Success is the idea that libraries, faculty, and students are linked; for one to truly succeed, we must all succeed. The path to success is formed by the connections between University of Missouri Libraries and faculty members, between faculty members and students, and between students and the libraries that serve them. More than just success, this is also a connection of mutual respect, support, and commitment to forward-thinking research.

Robert Altenbernd recently submitted a story about his experience working with Gwen Gray, our Social Sciences Librarian, during his time in the in the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities (EBV) program. EBV is a "one-of-a-kind initiative designed to leverage the skills, resources and infrastructure of higher education to offer cutting-edge, experiential training in entrepreneurship and small business management to post-9/11 veterans with service-connected disabilities and a passion for entrepreneurship. The aim of the program is to open the door to economic opportunity for our veterans by developing their competencies in creating and sustaining an entrepreneurial venture." There are three phases, and Phase 2 is a nine-day residency at an EBV university. All of the participants apply to the program and go through an interview process.  This year, 19 are on the Univeristy of Missouri campus, for eight days.  There are three from Missouri, but participants come from North Carolina, New Mexico, Colorado, Minnesota, D.C., all across the country.  Their business ideas range from nonprofits that will serve post-9/11 veterans to retail storefronts to making apparel for reenactors. This is the second year Mizzou has participated in the program, and this participation was featured in Inside Columbia magazine last year. 

Gwen Gray's role, as one of the 11 EBV librarians around the country, is to be the support person for these participants while they are on campus, and after they leave. "Dr. Greg Bier (retired Army veteran) who runs the program, is a big proponent of the library and feels like too many entrepreneurs don’t know about the resources & services we offer." Phase 2 includes instruction within MU Libraries, and access to a guide created by Gwen. The guide includes information they can only access while here, links to free sites, and also links to the EBV Info Portal that participants have access to one year after starting the program. Gwen also sends the participants home with a handout, specific to each veteran, that includes information on public and academic libraries in their home areas as well as other sources of help to local entrepreneurs. She includes any useful databases and contact information for business librarians and Small Business Development Center counselors. This handout was a big hit during this program's inagural year at Mizzou: "Second, I want you to know I followed up with the small business development center you located near my home. Staff sat down with me and busted out my business financials. It was a lifesaver. I felt much more confident sending sound financial docs to lenders. I've secured land and my loan package is currently being processed. I owe you one."

Robert Altenbrend recently participated in Phase 2 of EBV, and had some kind words to say about Gwen's help:

"I am currently attending the EBV in-residence phase at Mizzou. I was having difficulties finding research data on starting a veteran support nonprofit. Gwen Gray was very helpful and found several resources that will assist with this project. This type of customer service and professionalism should be commended and reflects positive on Mizzou. This is coming from a lifelong Jayhawk who grew up in the Lawrence area:-) Please pass on my appreciation to her. Thank you."

We forgive Robert for his Jayhawk love, and wish him well with the rest of the program! 


If you would like to submit your own success story about how the libraries have helped your research and/or workplease use the Cycle of Success form


Taira Meadowcroft

Taira Meadowcroft is a Health Sciences Librarian at the University of Missouri. She focuses on quality improvement, emergency medicine, and social media for the health sciences library.

Let the Games Begin

Summer classes are in session and that means it's time for you to take part in the Scavenger Hunt at Ellis Library. Almost 2000 students have already completed it. Now it's your turn!

Get on your feet and go explore Ellis Library with this interactive challenge.  On your way, you will become better acquainted with library spaces and services while decreasing your library anxiety, all at your own pace.   Come with friends or come alone. It will be waiting for you!

You can join the hunt using your smartphone or mobile device.  Go to http://library.missouri.edu/ScavengerHunt to begin!


Therapy Dogs in Ellis Library During Finals

Trained therapy dogs will be in Ellis Library once again during finals week.  Visit the dogs on the 1st floor in Ellis Library during the following times:

Sunday, May 7th: 1-5pm AND 7-9pm

Monday, May 8th: 7-9pm

Tuesday, May 9th: 7-9pm

Wednesday, May 10th:7-9pm

Thanks to Ann of Ann Gafke’s Teacher’s Pet for coordinating all the dogs and owners who help us de-stress during finals!

Grace Atkins and Kelli Hansen Present at the Electronic Resources & Libraries Conference

Grace Atkins, User Engagement Librarian, and Kelli Hansen, Print Collections Librarian, Rare Books & Special Collections, gave a presentation on the News Hub at the Electronic Resources & Libraries (ER&L) Conference on April 3rd. Both Grace and Kelli attended the School of Information at the University of Texas at Austin, where the conference was held.

Immediately following their presentation, Grace presented #TheStruggleIsReal: How to Maintain Positive Social Media Engagement with Your Community Even When They're Saying Things You Don't Want to Hear with Allyssa Guzman, Digital Scholarship Librarian at the University of Texas at Austin. The two discussed using social media as a way to engage with library users, not simply to advertise.

The turn-out for Grace and Kelli's presentation, Library News Hub: Centralizing Marketing for Decentralized Outreach, demonstrated that lots of libraries are struggling with managing marketing and communications. The audience had questions about how to implement similar systems at their libraries.

Grace and Kelli started working on the News Hub in the summer of 2016. They didn't want to simply create another blog but to create a true content management system. With the help of testing conducted by the library's usability committee, they created a centralized system to compile announcements, post to social media, and create engaging emails and newsletters. Now they are focusing on the New Hub's ability to foster better communication with and among library staff. The News Hub's primary function is to be an anchor for distribution of marketing content across all of MU Libraries' digital communication channels.

Looking forward, Grace and Kelli see lots of possibilities for further use of the News Hub. In June, the marketing team will discuss what's working and what needs improvement at their annual retreat. They look forward to providing more personalized training for staff to become comfortable using the News Hub and surveying subscribers to the newsletters.



Jennifer Gravley

Reference and Instruction Librarian

Grace Atkins and Kate Wright Win Scholarships to Association of College & Research Libraries’ Annual Conference

Grace Atkins, User Engagement Librarian, won an Early-career Librarian Scholarship and Kate Wright, Library Specialist Sr. at the Engineering Library, won a Library Support Staff Scholarship to the Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL) annual conference in Baltimore, MD, March 22-25. This was Kate's first national conference and Grace's second time attending ACRL (she previously attended as a student).

Conference Highlights

Winning scholarships presented Grace and Kate with extra networking opportunities. They attended a breakfast for scholarship winners and were able to meet members of the scholarship committee. Business cards were exchanged at each table, with a twist. Each person wrote answers to two questions on the back of the card, allowing everyone a chance to get to know a little more about the others, both professionally and personally. Kate says it was a nice conversation starter.

Dr. Carla Hayden's keynote address was a "huge highlight" for Grace because she "worships her." Because of her scholarship, Grace was also able to attend the preconference workshop Running Effective OER and Open Textbook Initiatives at Your Academic Library. Grace says she tweets during sessions and connects with others who attended the session in person afterward. The conference events felt like "a reunion" to Grace because she was able to connect with librarians she attended graduate school with and meet the professionals they know.

Both Grace and Kate enjoyed ACRL because it is a large national conference–and yet focused at the same time.

Exploring Baltimore

Both Grace and Kate were able to attend a reception sponsored by the American Theological Library Association (ATLA) at the National Aquarium. Grace visited Edgar Allan Poe's grave, and Kate enjoyed exploring the Inner Harbor and the amazing restaurants, including this incredible French Dip.

Tips for Scholarship Success and Attending a National Conference

First, apply for scholarships, always! Grace recommends looking at the theme for the conference and tying that into your application. It needs to be clear that your interests connect with the theme of the conference. Kate recommends "getting over your fear" of showing your application essay to other colleagues. Having several people look over your materials helps you make sure that they are personalized. Sending a generic essay usually isn't successful.

As far as attending a large conference, be sure to download the conference app, if available. When it comes to scheduling your time, Grace recommends having a tentative schedule for each day but being flexible; for example, continuing a conversation with a knowledgeable colleague can be a valuable reason to alter your schedule. When making her schedule, Grace tries to balance sessions related to her current projects with her personal interests. This allows her to gain tools in areas where she is building her expertise while learning more about social justice within the profession. Grace also recommends asking yourself whether you are interested in a practical session about a particular tool or a session about theoretical approaches to a particular problem.

Choosing which sessions to attend can be a learning experience in and of itself. Kate recommends the career-oriented sessions for students on the job market. She attended several sessions relating to her current position, such as designing LibGuides and encouraging faculty to use open resources in the face of rising textbook costs. Kate also learned that it's okay to (politely) skip out early on occasion if you need to get to another session.

Jennifer Gravley

Reference and Instruction Librarian