Interview with Sara Zimmerman, LOUIS consortium


LOUIS, the Louisiana State Library Network, has chosen to support Knowledge Unlatched's Round 2. As the first of what we hope will be several new consortia relationships we interviewed Sara Zimmerman, LOUIS's Executive Director. Here's what she said about what KU offers to her and her members.

sara-new pic for LLA 2005[1]

What attracted you to the KU model?

Louisiana’s academic libraries are looking for innovative ways to develop collections and support reducing costs to students while managing massive budget cuts to higher education. The Knowledge Unlatched model allows the academic library consortium to support an initiative that would help each member of the consortium. From a collection development perspective, each member will, in effect, own new scholarly monographs in perpetuity. From an affordable learning perspective, the ebook can be used in the classroom reducing out of pocket expenses to students.

What benefits do you think having access to monographs that otherwise would not be affordable for university libraries in the state of Louisiana will have for students and researchers?

The benefit is that we can grow the collections, with credible scholarly monographs, that have a direct impact on teaching and research. Faculty and students will have online, anytime access in order to support their work. At this point in time, Louisiana has suffered such severe cuts to higher education that collection development is severely limited. Libraries have had to make the difficult decision to cut their collection development funds to support other crucial areas in the library. This is a brilliant way to help provide additional monographs to the collections in each academic library.

This is a brilliant way to help provide additional monographs to the collections in each academic library

Does it make economic sense to participate in KU?

It is what I would call a “no-brainer” for Louisiana. While the majority of members of the consortium do not have the extra funds to support the initiative, the consortium can on behalf of all consortium members. It is a good business decision at the consortium level to support an open access initiative that directly impacts each consortium member in a positive way and directly addresses strategic goals.

What role do you think libraries should have in promoting the Open Access agenda - especially for monographs?

Librarians have developed strong relationships with faculty and students, such that they are positioned to both curate and promote open access content. We also need librarians to encourage the development of infrastructures for open access publishing models, like Knowledge Unlatched, as well as the technology infrastructure to ensure that these new high quality resources are both discoverable and easily usable.

Thank you LOUIS for supporting Knowledge Unlatched.


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