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School Librarians as OER Curators: A Framework to Guide Practice: Resources for Administrators

Module 5

Resources for Administrators

Below are resources to support district and school leaders in enabling School Librarians as OER curators and instructional leaders. The resources are meant to serve as a starting point, and we invite districts to visit the GoOpen District Launch Packet for a more comprehensive guide on launching and enabling OER in their schools. 

Assessing Readiness for OER Curation 

District and school leaders can use the simple assessment below to kick start their conversations about OER readiness and the supports and policies needed to enable OER curation practice by school librarians.  Of course, the assessment tool assumes that districts and schools have the capacity and funding to enlist certified school librarians as a starting point.

In My Context...


Somewhat True


1. There is time and space for school librarians to collaborate with classroom teachers on curriculum materials.


2. School librarians have release time from teaching to allow them to focus on curatorial and instructional leadership activities.

3. Digital curation is included as a formal part of the school librarian’s role description.

4. School librarians are evaluated using a rubric that acknowledges the unique aspects of their role.

5. We have a central place (e.g., repository, shared drive) where locally developed or educator-created materials are shared.

6. There are clear policies or guidelines that address how creative works created by staff within the scope of employment may be shared with or used by others.

7. We have formal criteria and review processes to ensure that all selected instructional materials are high quality and standards aligned.

8. We encourage educators to customize and adapt learning materials to meet local classroom needs.

9. We offer PD to support school librarians and/or classroom teachers on curating and creating curriculum materials.

Making OER Curation a Formal Part of the School Librarian Role

OER curation requires multidisciplinary subject knowledge and instructional design experience that a highly trained, certificated school librarian can provide. School librarians  who are currently leading the way in OER curation point to the need for a formal role description that incorporates both OER curation and open licensing expertise. An example role description that district and school leaders can use as a starting point for their SL recruitment and advancement efforts is presented below.

Example Role Description: School Librarian OER Leadership

The School Librarian (SL) leads in the selection, integration, organization, and sharing of digital resources and tools, including Open Educational Resources, to support transformational teaching and learning and to develop the digital curation skills of others. The School Librarian:

  • Demonstrates knowledge of copyright, licenses and permissions.

  • Provides assistance to classroom teachers, library staff, and school and district staff in understanding copyright and its pitfalls, and the benefits of using instructional materials with open licenses

  • Evaluates and compiles high-quality digital resources, including openly licensed resources, to assist educators in integrating  digital resources and OER with curriculum and lessons

  • Demonstrates knowledge on how to find and select digital resources and OER, and to make them discoverable by others

  • Demonstrates knowledge of/familiarity with OER tools and repositories, and the benefits of sharing digital resources within and across school

  • Facilitates workshops and provides basic training and materials  for educators that introduce them to the basics of OER

Supporting OER Professional Learning for School Librarians

Promote SL Attendance and Engagement in Conferences that Include OER, such as:

  • OpenEd Conference (annual, Oct/Nov)
    An annual conference with both research and practice-oriented sessions. Attended by educators, school librarians, and OER leaders and funders across the country, OpenEd is a strong venue to network and sharpen knowledge around OER practice.

  • Open Education Week (annual, Feb/March)
    A web-based conference that includes workshops, webinars, and discussions aiming to raise OER awareness and showcase impact of open education on teaching and learning worldwide.

  • #GoOpen Regional Summits (ongoing)
    Intended for new districts who have recently committed to become a #GoOpen Launch district, or are curious about making a scalable transition to OER. Provide educators, district and state leaders with the opportunity to explore opportunities to expand the use of OER in classrooms.

  • OpenCon
    Global conference, hosted in Canada, with attendance by application, and scholarships provided. Also offers satellite (face-to-face and online) workshops throughout the year, many of them targeted toward School Librarians.  

Promote/Provide OER Training Opportunities for SLs, such as:

  • Creative Commons Certificate Program
    In-depth course for educators and librarians about Creative Commons licenses.  Although the course is fee-based, the course materials are openly licensed, and can be used as a self-paced course, without the formal certificate of completion.

  • Open Washington: Open Educational Resources Network
    Ten, freely available self-paced modules on techniques to incorporate OER into instructional practice.

  • OCLS OER Toolkit for Library Staff
    Free, self-paced  online professional learning toolkit on OER and OER curation for librarians and library staff. Targeted toward postsecondary librarians, but has numerous resources for download, that you can adapt to meet your local, K-12 training needs.

  • OERup!
    Free online course covering the basics of OER and the OER movement, as well as information to enable educators to find, create and use OER, and to implement open educational practices in daily work.

    OER professional learning workshops, both face-to-face and virtual, tailored and co-designed with district, state, and school level partners to meet the unique needs and starting points of their educators and contexts.

Enabling School Librarian Partnerships Around OER

Encourage teachers to:

  • Include School Librarians in their curriculum meetings

  • Review curriculum maps together with their SLs, as a means of identifying and brainstorming around curriculum gaps

  • Design curriculum materials and co-teach lessons with their SLs

Encourage curriculum specialists and other district leaders to:

  • Invite SLs into existing OER initiatives, if underway

  • Include SLs in district-level content development efforts

  • Include SLs in district-level discussions about copyright, material ownership, and intellectual property

Encourage school administrators to:

  • Emphasize the school’s responsibility to leverage everyone’s expertise, across roles

  • Create a school climate that encourages education innovation and risk taking

  • Promote collaboration between school library staff and teachers—for example,  through formal collaboration opportunities where teachers and SLs can work together on curriculum projects

  • Free up time in the SL schedule for their instructional leadership and curatorial contributions--including time to participate in curriculum development meetings with teachers

Revisiting Intellectual Property Guidelines to Include Open Licensing

Open licensing helps public institutions better meet their missions of disseminating resources—breaking down the barriers associated with traditional copyright by granting permission to use and adapt the materials in advance.

Across the country, several states and districts are revising their intellectual property policies and guidelines to include open licensing. Below is a short list of example options available to states and districts seeking to revise their intellectual property policy to include open licensing:

  1. A district requires that all materials created by its employees within the scope of employment be licensed as OER under a Creative Commons License, with  ownership by the teacher or other district employee as author. The district specifies a CC-BY-SA-NC to ensure that the  work cannot be sold by a third party and that educators receive credit for their work.

  1. Another district allows educators to decide on the license for their creative works, and the license may be open (e.g., Creative Commons), or may meet the traditional, full restrictions of copyright, depending on each educator’s preference.

  2. A  state department of education (DOE) requires that all materials created by employees or contractors must be licensed as OER under a Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY), with the DOE as copyright holder on the materials. 

Example Open Policy and Guidelines

Of course, each district or state will need to determine the open policy approach that resonates with their context and needs. Below are links to an example open policy and open licensing guidelines from Washington Office of Superintendent and Public Instruction (OSPI), a leader in the K-12 OER arena.