Open and Affordable Textbooks Team: Charge


Textbook prices have risen more than 800% over the last 30 years, with the average annual cost now exceeding $1,200 per student. In 2015, the University Senate Student Affairs Committee proposed a plan to create incentives for faculty and instructors who want to transition to open and affordable course materials. In February 2016, President Barchi endorsed their recommendation and created an open textbooks initiative pilot award program. Rutgers University Libraries were chosen to manage the Open and Affordable Textbooks Program (OAT Program) which administers the annual selection of award recipients and provides expertise and support for textbook affordability initiatives at Rutgers University. In its first two years, the OAT Program has achieved an estimated overall student savings of around $2.1 million.

In 2017–2018, the OAT Team successfully administered the award program, providing 28 faculty with research funds. Additional accomplishments include revising the OAT website, FAQs, information for award recipients, and marketing materials; streamlining the application and process; and working with the registrar to include OAT in course look ups.

There is a recognized need for additional technological support for open and affordable course materials, so the Libraries plan to make Pressbooks and Leganto available to the Rutgers community in the next two years.


Reporting to the University Librarian's Cabinet through the Director of Communications, the Open and Affordable Textbooks (OAT) Team will plan, implement, and assess the President's open and affordable textbooks initiative program. They will also work with local units and central infrastructure to support faculty and instructors who are implementing or creating open and affordable course content, make relevant recommendations regarding the technological infrastructure and software required to support OAT fund recipients, and assess the impact of the program.

Areas of Focus

Activities will include:


The OAT Team will be centrally coordinated and will include representatives of each university library director who work extensively on library instruction or collection development. The liaison to Cabinet will be the Director of Communications.

Roberta Bronson Fitzpatrick (RBHS)
Kayo Denda, New Brunswick (through January 2019)
Bonnie Fong, Newark
Laura Palumbo, New Brunswick
Jessica Pellien, coordinator
Lily Todorinova, New Brunswick (sabbatical July 2018 – January 2019)
Zara Wilkinson, Camden

Additional support is provided, as needed, by:

Abigail DiPaolo, Financial Planning and Business Operations
Jessica Pellien, Communications
Tibor Purger, Integrated Information Systems
Mary Beth Weber, Central Technical Services
Lucy Vidal, Collection Services and Resources Sharing


The OAT Team will develop an annual timeline for the award program. The team will communicate progress throughout the award process by including the Liaison in team meetings and email communications and by posting meeting minutes. The Team will develop a communication plan for keeping library liaisons informed and supporting outreach to their faculty.

Important Documents

Members' Work Commitment and Accommodation

Member participation in the OAT Team is a significant part of their primary job responsibilities and shall be evaluated as such during all appropriate performance reviews. Because membership in the group represents a substantial work commitment, unit directors are expected to accommodate the workload requirements for participating library faculty and staff.

Definition of roles

Central Activities of the Coordinator

Local/Campus Liaison Activities

Cabinet Liaison

Last updated: June 28, 2018
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