Erin Milanese joins PALNI as Affordable Learning Project Coordinator

Erin Milanese will be joining the PALNI team as the quarter-time PALNI Affordable Learning Project Coordinator on July 1, 2019.

Erin is based out of Goshen College, and has been working to develop the PALSave program as one of the Admin Team members and Open Textbook Network System Leaders for the past year. She’s also collaborated on Goshen’s Textbook Savings Project, bringing valuable on the ground experience to this initiative.

Erin will be providing project support for the grant-based PALSave: PALNI Affordable Learning program. Working with the Scholarly Communications Director, she will coordinate efforts to educate faculty about Open Educational Resources (OER) and support the use of affordable alternatives to commercial textbooks. For more information about Erin’s role, see the Affordable Learning Project Coordinator position description here.

Private Academic Library Network of Indiana’s Affordable Education Initiative Garners Support from Lilly Endowment

Indianapolis-based Lilly Endowment Inc. has awarded $520,000 to the Private Academic Library Network of Indiana (PALNI) for PALSave, an affordable education initiative that will combat rising textbook costs and their detrimental effects on student success and retention.

“The PALSave program will provide education and funding support to the faculty of the 24 private Indiana colleges, universities, and seminaries to adopt, adapt, and create affordable learning materials,” said Kirsten Leonard, Executive Director of PALNI. “The five-year funding from Lilly Endowment will enable PALNI to make a real difference to student success and reduce debt by supporting the implementation of course materials that are free to students and customizable by faculty.” 

The average cost of textbooks annually is about $1,300. While only a portion of the overall price for college, the cost of textbooks can have a negative effect on student success.  Research from The Student Public Interest Research Groups and U.S. PIRG Education Fund shows that some students have to borrow more to pay for college, are likely not to buy required materials at some point, and might even drop a class because of text prices. PALNI is pleased to offer the PALSave program in response to this need and to help provide a proactive solution to textbook affordability.The grant will enable PALNI to support course transformations using course materials which are free to students, focusing on Open Educational Resources (OER) worldwide. OER are openly licensed and fully customizable course materials.

Amanda Hurford, PALNI’s Scholarly Communications Director and project lead states, “Recent research demonstrates that students provided with open course materials show improved academic outcomes and retention. By providing faculty education about affordable course material options, and offering support and incentives to implement them, we envision a big impact on student success and savings.”

The project will develop expertise, tools, and content to be used in the course redesign process, and also build community around affordable learning within the twenty-four PALNI-supported institutions.  This collaborative structure between faculty, instructional technologists, librarians, and institutions will allow for innovation and rapid growth over the five-year program. In addition, Ms. Hurford is sharing PALNI’s work with two regional groups, the Academic Libraries of Indiana and the Midwestern Higher Education Compact. Progress and impact will be provided and updated on the PALSave website:

About Lilly Endowment Inc.

Lilly Endowment Inc. is an Indianapolis-based, private philanthropic foundation created in 1937 by three members of the Lilly family — J.K. Lilly Sr. and sons J.K. Jr. and Eli — through gifts of stock in their pharmaceutical business, Eli Lilly and Company. While those gifts remain the financial bedrock of the Endowment, the Endowment is a separate entity from the company, with a distinct governing board, staff and location. In keeping with the founders’ wishes, the Endowment supports the causes of community development, education and religion and maintains a special commitment to its hometown, Indianapolis, and home state, Indiana. More information can be found at

About the Private Academic Library Network of Indiana (PALNI):

PALNI is a non-profit organization supporting collaboration for library and information services to the libraries of its twenty-four supported institutions. Over time, the library deans and directors who sit on the PALNI board have adjusted the organization’s strategic direction as the internet and information services landscape have changed. PALNI has expanded beyond providing a resource management system to sharing expertise in many areas including strategic planning, reference, information fluency, outreach, data management and configuration, and has identified greater collaboration in acquisitions as a key goal.

PALNI Supported Institutions:

Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary | Ancilla College | Anderson University | Bethel University | Butler University | Concordia Theological Seminary | Christian Theological Seminary | DePauw University | Earlham College | Franklin College | Goshen College | Grace College | Hanover College | Huntington University | Manchester University | Marian University | Oakland City University | University of Saint Francis | Saint Mary’s College | Saint Meinrad’s Seminary and School of Theology | Taylor University | Trine University | University of Indianapolis | Wabash College

Check out our Timeline!

This site now has a timeline page illustrating the PALSave story, all the way from the start.

PALSave Timeline

August 2019

PALSave System Leaders Attend 2019 Open Textbook Network Summit

June 2019

Erin Milanese joins PALNI as Affordable Learning Coordinator

May 2019

PALNI receives five-year Lilly Endowment grant to support PALSave

April 2019

Thirty-five open textbook reviews completed by local faculty

March 2019

Amanda Hurford (PALSave Leader) appointed to OTN Steering Commitee

Open Textbooks Reviewed by PALNI-supported faculty


In honor of Open Education Week, the PALSave Team would like to extend gratitude to the numerous faculty members who have taken their time to write reviews of titles in the Open Textbook Library, which is the collection of open textbooks maintained by the Open Textbook Network. These titles offer a glimpse into the breadth of subjects in the Library. The reviews provided by PALNI-supported faculty will benefit others considering open textbooks. Have a look!

You are invited: PALSave’s Open Textbook Network Workshop, 3/18/19

PALNI campuses are affiliate members of the Open Textbook Network (OTN) through PALSave, and we’d like to invite you to a workshop with OTN’s leadership to learn about developing successful Open Educational Resource (OER) programs on your campus.

The workshop is Monday, March 18, 2019, at Indiana Wesleyan University North Campus.  Register here

Feel free to email for more information about the workshop or our program.  We hope you can join!

PALSave Campus Leaders learn how to launch cost-saving textbook program on their campus

On November 5, 2018 leaders – including bookstore managers, instructional technologists, and librarians – from over half of PALNI’s supported institutions attended a workshop facilitated by the Open Textbook Network to learn how to roll out this new program on their campus. Attendees were trained to encourage the faculty adoption of open educational resources (OER) in the classroom, and in doing so maximize student success.

PALSave System Leader and University of Saint Francis Teaching and Learning Services Coordinator Andrea Cohn remarked on the workshop success and PALSave benefits: “The best takeaway from the OTN Workshop was that open educational resources really are a win for everyone involved. Faculty benefit from the ability to have complete academic freedom in customizing OER texts to fit needs, students benefit from having free access from day one to the texts in multiple formats, and administration benefits from lowered student cost of attending the university and knowing that they are addressing one of the largest social justice issues facing college students today.”

Other campus departments, such as the campus bookstore, are onboard with the PALSave initiative. “I am most excited about the impact PALSave can have on student success. As a bookstore manager, I believe that if a student spends less on textbooks, they have more money to spend on my t-shirts,” explains Candy Pancake, bookstore manager for Oakland City University. She views PALSave as a student success partner rather than competition for sales, noting: “I had never really seen the library as having any interest in the [textbook] adoption process. But now, I have gained a great co-champion for the textbook affordability initiative I am working on.”

PALNI recently joined the Open Textbook Network (OTN) as the first step to further its initiatives for affordable education and student success across the state. OTN maintains the Open Textbook Library, and is well known for helping organizations to advance the use of open textbooks and practices on their campuses. They have had great success with their initiative: OTN members have saved their students over 8.5 million dollars!

As part of PALNI, supported institutions can enjoy affiliate status in OTN, have access to a trained team to educate faculty on benefits of OER, and obtain help redesigning courses via the PALSave team, at no additional cost to the institution. Additionally, OTN staff will be coming to back to Indiana this spring to facilitate a follow-up Campus Leader Workshop (date to be announced).

For more information about PALSave: PALNI Affordable Learning or PALNI’s membership in OTN, contact PALNI Scholarly Communications Director Amanda Hurford (

PALSave Kickoff Webinar

Andrea Cohn and Amanda Hurford, System Leaders and PALSave Admin Team members, recently hosted a kickoff webinar for the PALSave initiative on October 9, 2018.  Covered in this webinar:


  • Getting started with PALSave
  • Affordable learning talking points
  • Developing campus partnerships and building awareness
  • Conducting student surveys and interviews
  • Preparing for PALSave System Leaders to deliver a workshop on your campus
  • Getting ready for the in-person campus leader Open Textbook Network (OTN) workshop on November 5.
  • Audience questions

Recording with transcript here

Slides here

Registration for 11/5 PALSave workshop with Open Textbook Network


Registration is now open for the in-person PALSave workshop with expert representatives from the Open Textbook Network. It will be held Monday, November 5, 9 am-4 pm, at Indiana Wesleyan University North.

System Leaders Attend the Open Textbook Network Summer Institute & Summit

This July, in Chaska, Minnesota, six Private Academic Library Network of Indiana (PALNI) System Leaders spent a week at the Open Textbook Network (OTN) Summer Institute and Summit.

The conference provided PALNI’s official introduction to the Open Textbook Network, which PALNI joined this summer.

The System Leaders closely explored OTN’s method of introducing the Open Textbook Library to educators via workshops, the faculty perspective, and the process of building and sustaining program momentum. They also examined the obstacles, both perceived and actual, to adopting Open Educational Resources (OER) in higher education. OERs are openly licensed educational materials like textbooks customizable by faculty, and available free to students.

The PALSave System Leaders are:

Andrea Cohn, Coordinator, Teaching and Learning Services for University of Saint Francis
Amanda Hurford
, Scholarly Communications Director for PALNI
Erin Milanese, Head of Learning Technologies for Goshen College
Heather Myers, Public Services Librarian for Anderson University
Jennifer Raye, Scholarly Communication Librarian, Butler University
Dr. Tim Ziebarth, Executive Dean, The School of Professional and Online Education for Grace College and Seminary

PALNI’s OTN membership and attendance at the Summer Institute and Summit are instrumental in the new PALSave: PALNI Affordable Learning program, a collaboration of PALNI’s Scholarly Communication and Instructional Technology initiatives. System Leaders will facilitate this program along with others on the PALSave Administration Team at PALNI. The PALSave initiative will provide a resources and framework for open educational resource awareness, education, and engagement, based on the OTN model.

The PALSave Team will be in touch soon to form teams of ambassadors to foster OER on PALNI-supported campuses. Later this Fall, OTN staff will be facilitating an Open Textbook Workshop for these campus leaders. The PALSave Admin Team, in concert with campus ambassadors like librarians and instructional designers, will support faculty adoptions of affordable learning materials across the PALNI institutions.

For more information about PALSave: PALNI Affordable Learning and to get in touch, please email or get in touch with one of our team members. Meet the system leaders and the whole team here: