Most academics recognise the support that librarians offer their students. Librarians are also a vital part of most institutional development because they operate in multiple capacities and interact with people across disciplines and professional roles. At most educational institutions, librarians are aware of major changes happening in most departments and are working to support colleagues and students in the achievement of overall goals. Furthermore, academic librarians cultivate networks across the institution built on trust and credibility. Liaison librarians are often experienced with encouraging change and collaborating to improve student learning, and open education becomes an extension of these activities.
For these reasons, librarians make excellent OER advocates. An academic librarian can be a leader in instruction, a student advocate, a faculty advocate or a generalist with the ability to specialise to serve the needs of the student or faculty member as needed. Librarians can help to locate and organise OER, but they can also navigate copyright concerns, advise on open licensing and support instructional design around the use of open materials. Librarians are natural OER advocates because they are often already trusted by potential partners and stakeholders. When operating as the OER advocate, it is important that a librarian understand their role as trusted advisor and seek to maintain a balance between OER enthusiast and educational enabler. The role of the advocate is to support the overall goals of exemplary learning experiences and equity of access to education. As a librarian, you are particularly suited to this work because you have probably been doing it for your entire career.
Another insight for all OER advocates, is that no one else can tell you how to best address your target groups. This Toolkit suggests strategies and provides resources for OER advocacy and leadership. However, as every institution is different, advocates must contextualise approaches by asking, 'How will this work at my institution? What will my constituents think of this message?'.