VALib v61n1 - From the Editors

When Rebecca approached me about having the Virginia Chapter of the Association of College & Research Libraries (VLACRL) edit a peer-reviewed issue of Virginia Libraries with the theme “open,” I thought she meant anything would go. I was intrigued when she explained instead of the theme being open to anything, she hoped librarians would look at the word “open” and find a professional connection. The word geek in me loved it.

My first connection was “open access” and many of the authors in this issue also explored this route. Their articles do a wonderful job examining different aspects of open access publication, and I hope you learn as much as I did from their pieces.

Libraries are a symbol of openness. All of our stuff — the books, the journals, the DVDs, the computers, the space — is meant to be shared. You give a library money, and it is going to use the funds in some way to benefit the greater community.

All of our stuff — the books,
the journals, the DVDs, the
computers, the space — is
meant to be shared.

As a professional community, librarianship feels incredibly open. It is easy to become involved in ALA, ACRL, or a myriad of other library organizations. And if the existing structures don’t suit your needs, it’s simple to create your own task force, working group, committee, etc. VLACRL exists because a bunch of librarians took the time to get together in Charlottesville and say, “We want more.” Many librarians have given their time over the years to make VLACRL successful.

I believe the future of libraries is in openness. As a support service, a library’s success depends on responding to and communicating with our learners. On academic campuses, we need to be part of the institutionwide conversations, and know what are the needs, wants, and desires of the faculty, staff, and students. We need to figure out how we can be part of their goals. We need to be open to new ideas. But equally important, we need to be open about our needs, wants, and desires — and our limitations, too. Personnel, time, and resources cannot be infinitely scalable. Through open and honest conversations with our learners, we can define and build relationships that are mutually beneficial.

My challenge to you as readers is to consider how else “open” plays into librarianship.

Candice Benjes Small, VLACRL Chair 2013–2014

Bringing this issue into the world has certainly challenged my assumptions and ideas about how “openness” interfaces with librarians, libraries, and librarianship. Although I knew that discussions about openness go much further than open access, I was unaware of the many directions that libraries are moving in and the many roles that libraries are claiming within the world of openness. The six articles that comprise this issue all focus on very different aspects of openness, but agree on the critical role that libraries play in educating others and leading community conversations about engaging in the world of information, copyright, and access.

The six articles accepted for this issue touch on four specific themes related to “openness”: teaching and learning, collections, scholarly publishing, and policy. Interestingly, not one of these articles focuses solely on one of these themes; rather, the authors of the articles in this issue discuss the intersections of these topics. Molly Keener (Wake Forest University), for example, discusses both copyright policy and the way that she integrates it into information literacy workshops in her article on contextualizing copyright for the classroom. Along the same lines, Anita R. Walz (Virginia Tech) also discusses copyright policy, but in the context of identifying, using, and creating Open Educational Resources.

Similarly, each of the articles in this issue represents a practical viewpoint, offering readers specific ways to change or enhance their own professional practice. Craig Arthur (Radford University) offers perspectives on the changing landscape of open access (OA) publishing and how scholars can identify high quality OA publishers and publications. Offering readers specific collection management guidance, Adelia Grabowsky (Auburn University) writes about the impact of OA publications on collection management and the challenges of rethinking traditional collection management strategies in order to address new formats and processes.

Finally, the articles in this issue all look ahead, offering readers a window into the future of our profession. Gene Springs (The Ohio State University) and Ashley Faulkner (Texas A&M University) each write about the role of MOOCs, or massive open online courses, in the future of higher education and libraries. Springs offers an in-depth evaluation of how “open” the materials used in MOOCs may or may not be, and Faulkner identifies the many different roles that libraries and librarians can and should embrace in the world of MOOCs.

While the four themes of teaching and learning, collections, scholarly publishing, and policy describe the content of this issue, the real goal of this issue is to engender new discussions about “openness” within our community of Virginia library and information professionals. Candice challenged you to consider other ways that “open” impacts librarianship; I challenge you to think about the role that you play in your organization and how you can bring “openness” to your specific context. As you read through this issue, look for at least one takeaway. How will the insight that these authors share change the way you interact with your colleagues and your community? Remember, the future is wide open!

Rebecca K. Miller, VLACRL Chair 2014–2015 VL


Many different individuals made this special issue of Virginia Libraries on exploring openness possible. The editors would like to acknowledge the support and hard work of the individuals who labored behind the scenes on this issue.

Brian Craig of Virginia Tech created the original cover art for this issue.

The 2013–2014 and 2014–2015 officers of the Virginia Chapter of the Association of College & Research Libraries offered valuable support and creative contributions to the development of this issue.

The following professionals served as peer reviewers for this issue:

Michael W. Andrews, ITT Technical Institute
Brian Burns, Hampden-Sydney College
Dave Ghamandi, University of Virginia
Mindy Gipson, Williamsburg Regional Library
Heather Groves Hannan, George Mason University
Genevieve Innes, George Washington University
Megan Kinsley, University of Virginia
Wendy Mann, George Mason University
Esther Onega, University of Virginia
Ophelia Payne, University of Virginia
Olivia Reinauer, Tidewater Community College
Jennifer Resor Whicker, Radford University
Marilyn Scott, Virginia Commonwealth University
Philip Young, Virginia Tech

Finally, we must acknowledge the encouragement, patience, and dedication of our fearless Executive Director, Lisa Varga.

Many thanks to each of these individuals and to everyone else who contributed time, energy, and effort to this issue. We appreciate you and your hard work! VL