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Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 License.

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Educational Leadership | Higher Education and Teaching | Library and Information Science | Other Education

Description, Abstract, or Artist's Statement

Research has recognized the importance of libraries and librarians in supporting, managing, and sustaining open educational resources (OER) programs in postsecondary institutions. Open education initiatives generally align with social justice aspirations and should be open and inclusive to everyone. Yet, in practice, this has not always been the case. While librarians are considered critical partners in the leadership and management of OER programs and are often heralded as heroes and champions of these initiatives, research has failed to interrogate and discuss the experiences of Women of Color (WOC) doing OER work. In particular, the challenges and often invisible labor that librarians face, especially those who are historically marginalized.

Furthermore, although librarians have been at the forefront of OER initiatives on college campuses, there has been a glaring lack of representation and presence of WOC doing this work, even as the students served by OER librarians are growing ever more diverse. This study fills the gap in the literature using counter-storytelling as a methodological tool to center and highlight the lived experiences of WOC not just in OER work but as they navigate the marginalizing practices and unwelcoming spaces in academic libraries. Drawing on Critical Librarianship (CL) and Critical Race Feminism (CRF) as conceptual lenses, this study seeks to interrogate and understand the lived experiences of WOC in OER and collectively reimagine how the field can be transformed for the better. Findings from the study revealed that WOC experienced racial microaggressions in academic libraries. The lack of diversity in academic libraries made them feel lonely, isolated and tokenized. Their experiences with OER work uncovered the myriad ways they felt simultaneously valued and devalued. Role overload, role ambiguity, and lack of institutional support and infrastructure were challenges that impacted their capacity to perform the complex and complicated tasks of coordinating and managing OER programs. The stories WOC participants shared illuminated their unique contributions to the OER community. Foremost is their commitment to social justice, equity, and representation in the OER content that faculty creates. They also bring a critical perspective to OER work by interrogating how open education can be more inclusive, liberatory, democratic, and equitable for all.