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Affordable Learning Committee: About Us

Information and Resources from the Affordable Learning Committee of the Academic Libraries of Indiana (ALI)

What We Do

The charge of the Affordable Learning Committee is to provide the communication structure needed to build awareness and share resources about alternatives to traditional course materials, such as open educational resources (OER) and library-licensed content, among ALI members; to facilitate educational opportunities about techniques and best practices for implementation, focusing on the library’s role; and to research and recommend further collaboration-based opportunities to the Board.

Meet Our Team

Chair: Beth Daniel Lindsay, Wabash College

Vice Chair: Jon Bull, Valparaiso University

Secretary: Julie Feighery, Indiana University South Bend

Caitlin Balgeman, Marian University

Emily Little, Purdue University

Hayley Janelle Norris, Indiana University Bloomington

Laura MacLeod Suman, Ball State University

Rusty Tryon, Saint Mary of the Woods College

Picture of white woman with glasses and wavy read hair

Wabash College

Beth Daniel Lindsay

Research and Instruction Librarian, Wabash College


I am the primary instruction librarian and lead our efforts to incorporate information literacy throughout the curriculum. I am also passionate about open education and work closely with Wabash faculty and PALNI partners to promote the adoption of low- and zero-cost resources along with open pedagogy. 


The Wabash community deeply values student learning, so we have many opportunities to develop affordable education initiatives.  Since joining Wabash in 2020, I have contributed to our library’s success in encouraging faculty to adopt open and affordable resources.  For example, our library has partnered with Wabash faculty to attempt to purchase unlimited, DRM-free access to course materials whenever possible.  I am most excited about the potential to build upon our success to engage faculty in open pedagogy.  My completion of the Open Education Network’s Certificate in Open Educational Practices last year in collaboration with a Wabash Psychology professor will further our efforts in this arena. 


As chair of the Affordable Learning Committee, I hope we can collectively encourage more engagement with open education throughout Indiana.

Caitlin Balgeman, a white woman with brown hair, pictured wearing a green shirt

Marian University

Caitlin Balgeman

E-Resource and Open Education Librarian

Marian University


What is your role/position? I have dual roles - I manage our electronic resource subscriptions and I work with faculty on adopting zero- and low-cost resources for their courses.


What are your responsibilities? I work with vendors on our e-resource subscriptions, renewals, usage statistics, and troubleshooting. On the open ed side, I make faculty aware of consortial funding opportunities for adopting zero-cost resources, I work with faculty looking to switch away from traditional textbooks to library-licensed texts and OER, and I help facilitate various open projects like one of the Textbook Creation Grants awarded to faculty by PALNI.


The field of scholarly communication is broad and multi-faceted, but my focus is on the ways that open educational resources can impact student access and scholarship, as well as how faculty can contribute their incredible work to the open educational landscape. Marian University’s faculty have hit their stride with adopting zero-cost textbooks. Awareness is increasing and more partnerships are being formed, which leads to more savings for students. Most recently, I partnered with the registrar to add “zero-cost” and “low-cost” course labels to the course catalog, so that students can search and filter courses that have these designations. I’m excited to see the program grow as we move forward.

Julie Feighery, a white woman with brown hair, pictured

Indiana University South Bend

Julie Feighery

Associate Librarian, Head of Research and Outreach Services

Indiana University South Bend


What is your role/position? I oversee the library’s subject librarian program, coordinate the librarians’ on call schedule, maintain library research statistics and serve as the campus resource for OER. I teach the Topics in Information Literacy graduate course for the Liberal Studies program. I also serve as subject librarian for the Criminal Justice, Dance, English, Film Studies, Honors, Liberal Studies, Theatre, and Women and Gender Studies departments.


What are your responsibilities? I keep the statistics for our library research transactions, and I work with our subject librarians to maintain communication with our departments. I teach a graduate course on research, and I am embedded in the “tagged” information literacy courses in my subject areas. I also maintain the collections in my subject areas (ordering titles, weeding). I also promote and answer faculty questions about OER. This past year I oversaw a pilot OER adoption project and am currently part of a faculty team participating in the AAC&U OER Institute.


Are there any resources that you’d like to share with the community? Our OER web page has more information about our OER Adoption pilot.

Laura Suman, a white woman with black hair, pictured wearing a black and white shirt

Ball State University

Laura MacLeod Suman

Head of Access Services

Ball State University


What is your role/position? Laura is the Head of Access Services at Ball State University.


What are your responsibilities? I manage the Access Services unit. Access Services is responsible for circulation and fulfillment, interlibrary loan, course reserves/Reading Lists, bookstacks, and library security/building issues. I am involved in campus education regarding open educational resources, open access, course reserves/Reading Lists, and the many ways that Ball State University Libraries can support faculty and students toward reducing the cost of course materials.

Jonathan Bull, a while man wearing a blue shirt, pictured

Valparaiso University

Jonathan Bull

Director of Collections & Digitization

Valparaiso University


I lead Technical Services and Archives & Special Collections. In addition to that, I also am the primary administrator for ValpoScholar, our institutional repository, as well as the chair of the Scholarly Communication Committee, which oversees our OER award that supports faculty members switching course materials to OERs and/or library-licensed content. I also liaison and instruct in the following disciplines: Communication, Visual Arts, English, Theology, Cinema Studies, and Drama.


I am most excited about the cost savings and possible impact on retention that OERs might have. High school students and parents are increasingly struggling to pay for college, so anything we can do to remove a barrier to degree completion will be impactful. The library has been rarely seen as a place that positively impacts retention – I hope we can change that perception a bit with OERs.

Rusty Tryon, a white man with glasses wearing a collared shirt and blue tie with navy jacket, pictured

Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College

Dr. Rusty Tryon

Director of the Library, Associate Professor

Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College 


I have the unique position of being the sole librarian at my institution, which allows me to remain closely involved in all aspects of librarianship. Although I could focus my efforts on any number of library services, open and affordable learning resources is an area I think is extremely important for our academic community in terms of its direct implications on student success. 


I am most excited about partnering with OER leaders in the state to raise awareness of OER among our administration, faculty, and students. I view my primary role as eradicating the “they don’t know what they don’t know” phenomenon concerning the open landscape at my institution. 

Image of Amanda Hurford, a white woman with brown hair wearing a blue shirt with PALNI embroidered on it

Private Academic Library Network of Indiana (PALNI)

Amanda Hurford

Private Academic Library Network of Indiana (PALNI)


As Scholarly Communications Director, I lead efforts to create and sustain collaborative scholarly communication programming across the 24 small, private institutions that make up PALNI.  Programs include, PALSave: PALNI Affordable Learning, the PALNI Press, and Hyku for Consortia.

Are there any resources that you’d like to share with the community? 


One of the best things about open education is the amazing and welcoming community surrounding it.  Since our work is rooted in helping to provide access to affordable education materials, it completely makes sense that we share resources, best practices, and experiences with one another.  The Open Education Network and Library Publishing Coalition are whole communities focused on connecting professionals in this way.  They each have events, an email list, and subgroups to help answer questions and get work done.  One resource I frequently use in my affordable learning work is this trusty list of OER repositories.  When faculty ask about an open alternative to their textbook, this is a good place to start!


Open Textbook Library




Mason OER Metafinder

Emily Little, a white woman with blonde hair and glasses, pictured

Emily Little
Libraries Instructional Designer, Purdue University 

As Libraries Instructional Designer, I work with librarians and faculty members on course reserves and making course materials affordable for students.

I am part of the scholarly publishing division in Libraries. My focus is on affordable learning and lowering the cost of course materials for students. I work closely with faculty and staff on training and managing our electronic course reserves. I also help faculty and instructors obtain affordable course materials for their classes. I am part of the IMPACT team that helps faculty transform their course into a more student-centered and inclusive learning environment.

I strongly believe that higher education should be affordable to all and utilizing Open Educational Resources and Open Access materials in the class room can help with student retention and student success. I think librarians and instructional designers have an amazing opportunity to assist faculty and instructors with selecting resources for their classes.

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