Category Archives: About ACRL

Entrepreneurial Colleague Wanted!

As many of you may know, I am retiring from my work as ACRL Content Strategist in early 2016 and we’re currently inviting applications to fill the position. As someone who has held this position for almost 9 years, I can speak to the fun and excitement of the job as well as to the fantastic culture of working at ALA and ACRL in particular!

The Work

The entrepreneurial person who is selected for this position will have great autonomy and will be charged with pushing the envelope on new publishing and distribution models for books. The ACRL Content Strategist has great and knowledgeable thinking partners in ACRL Executive Director Mary Ellen Davis, Choice Editor and Publisher Mark Cummings, and the rest of the fantastic ACRL team.

The person who steps into the position will work with the ACRL New Publications Advisory Board to discover new book-worthy content, authors, and editors in the academic library world who can bring the profession to life and add to our professional literature. The Content Strategist uses their network of contacts to reach those who might have an interest in publishing but didn’t know that ACRL is the only non-profit publisher focused specifically on academic libraries and librarianship. There is still a lot to do to expand our program and to explore new ways of supporting academic librarians in their research and writing. Growth is greatly supported here (both personally and programmatically)!

In addition, if you are that lucky person to be the next ACRL Content Strategist you will get to work with the manager of ACRL’s Professional Development programs to look for new e-learning topics and presenters in current and emerging issues of interest to academic librarians, archivists, and library educators. The position comes with a unique opportunity to create connections between ACRL’s book publishing and e-learning programs.

The Environment

Working at ACRL is a joy. One of the things I value about my position is being both trusted and supported by my team of fabulous colleagues. The ACRL team is a high performing group of people with lots of ideas and energy. We work on a daily basis, in partnership with ACRL members, to make good things happen for academic libraries and librarians. Are you intrigued yet?

If you want to work in a creative, dynamic place that will both push you and support you; if you want to have a job where you can really be creative and experimental; if you want to work with colleagues who are great; and if you want to really make a difference for the profession of academic librarianship, you should look at this job right now! I know you’ll love it as much as I do.

Introducing the New ACRL Annual Survey – Opens September 18

Since 1999 the ACRL Academic Library Trends and Statistics Survey has gathered statistics at the national level from all types of academic libraries in the United States and Canada.  The survey is developed and overseen by the ACRL Academic Library Trends and Statistics Editorial Board. Earlier this year, the ACRL Board approved a recommendation from the Editorial Board that ACRL create and administer its own survey instrument to make it more relevant and responsive to the needs of academic libraries. Formerly, ACRL had been using the Association of Research Libraries survey instrument with permission. Following a ten-month development process involving scores of librarians and opportunities for review and feedback, the ACRL Annual Survey has been overhauled and will open on September 18, 2015, to collect data for the 2015 fiscal year. Fiscal year 2015 is defined as the most recent 12-month period that ends before October 1, 2015.

Survey Objectives

The ACRL Library Trends and Statistics Survey has three objectives: efficiency, timeliness, and relevance. The new survey saves time by collecting responses for two surveys. The ACRL Survey includes questions that are part of the new IPEDS Academic Libraries (AL) component which all schools are required to complete if they receive federal student aid funds.  Survey participants may download a file which can then be used to upload the required IPEDS responses by the institutional keyholder or the library if designated by the institutional keyholder as an IPEDS user. The survey responses will be available for use within months of the closing date April 30, 2016.  ACRL expects to publish the survey results at least 12 to 18 months before the Academic Library component data is available through IPEDS.  A third objective is relevance: by restoring measures formerly collected through the biennial NCES Academic Library Survey (ALS) (discontinued after 2012), academic libraries will continue to have access to data that will greatly facilitate benchmarking and best practices studies.

What’s New in 2015?

There are new questions on institutional repositories, expenditures for e-books, and e-journal usage. There is a revised definition for library consultations with individuals.  The survey also restores some NCES Academic Library Survey questions including gate count and hours of operation, both used by many libraries for peer and aspirant benchmarking and best practices.  Many of the definitions are based upon NISO Z39.7-2013 and include the IPEDS Academic Library component definitions which were revised this summer.

The ACRL Annual Survey also asks if there are other data elements you would like to suggest for consideration in future annual surveys.  We need and want your suggestions for additional questions, improvements to definitions, and future trends to explore.

Importance of Participation

While the IPEDS Academic Library component is mandatory for all higher education institutions, it is important to participate in the ACRL annual survey. Why? First, the IPEDS Academic Library component is an institutional survey rather than a library survey. For example, the library staffing information collected by IPEDS’ Human Resources (HR) component utilizes very broad library staffing definitions based on the Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The SOC classifications do not consider education level attainment (e.g., masters degree) so it is difficult to get an accurate of the number of professional librarians. Additionally, the HR component collects headcounts rather than full-time equivalents.  The ACRL survey will provide data more detailed data on library staff, gate counts and hours of operation as well as details concerning interlibrary loan transactions.

ARL Participation Encouraged

The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) will continue its annual survey.  ARL members are encouraged to complete the ACRL annual survey as well to take advantage of the direct alignment with the IPEDS Academic Library component.

The value of the survey data is enhanced by the participation of all libraries representing all Carnegie classifications, and ACRL requests your assistance in this endeavor.   Increasingly, academic libraries are expected to support their funding and program requests with data.  By participating in the 2015 survey, you are providing the profession with timely data that will inform management decisions, facilitate comparisons through benchmarking within peer groups, and help to document value.

2015 Survey Form and Instructions

The ACRL Annual Survey form, instructions, and trend questions are available online:

Additional Information

For more information on the IPEDS Academic Libraries component, please see: (scroll to the very bottom).

ACRL/ALA/ARL Joint Task Force for IPEDS Academic Library Survey Component – Draft Recommendations Available for Comment

ACRL, ALA, and the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) and have formed a joint advisory task force to suggest changes to the current definitions and instructions accompanying the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) Academic Libraries (AL) Component for FY 2015. The ACRL/ALA/ARL task force worked through a series of phone calls and an in-person meeting on June 19 and has drafted the following recommendations to be presented to National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) for the IPEDS AL component.

The Task Force is seeking feedback on the recommendations by July 9. Please provide your feedback as comments to the Google Doc or email if you cannot comment on the document.

There will be two presentations on the work of this joint task force at the ALA Annual Conference in San Francisco:

ARL Library Assessment Forum: Friday, June 26 from 1:00 –2:30 p.m. – InterContinental San Francisco, Laurel Hill Room. A recorded version of this presentation will be made available after the event.

ACRL Update on the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) Academic Library Survey: Saturday, June 27 from 3:00 – 4:00 p.m. – Moscone Convention Center, N132

ACRL 101 Annual Conference Webcast Recording Now Available

Going to ALA Annual for the first time this summer? Not sure what to expect? Check out the ACRL 101 recorded webcast (with slides) on our website to help first-time ALA Annual Conference attendees make the most of their first ALA Annual Conference experience. This one-hour interactive session provides tips and personal recommendations on how to prepare for your trip to San Francisco, what to bring, planning your schedule, networking, conference etiquette, ACRL programs of interest, and more!

We look forward to seeing you in San Francisco!

ARL, ACRL, ALA Form Joint Advisory Task Force to Clarify Academic Library Definitions in IPEDS Survey

ACRL and the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) have formed a joint advisory task force to suggest changes to the current definitions and instructions accompanying the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) Academic Libraries Component for FY 2015. The ARL/ACRL task force will work to provide formal recommendations to IPEDS by early July 2015. The task force will offer virtual opportunities to engage and inform the larger community of this work.

Since October 2014 the IPEDS Academic Libraries Component coordinator, Bao Le, has been monitoring questions and discussions on the ARL-Assess e-mail list and working with Robert Dugan, chair of the ACRL Academic Library Trends and Statistics Survey Editorial Board and dean of libraries at University of West Florida. Dugan has also developed and maintains a LibGuide that serves as an unofficial FAQ regarding the IPEDS Academic Libraries Component. David Larsen and Elizabeth Edwards of University of Chicago offered analysis of the IPEDS survey challenges during the ARL Library Assessment Forum at the American Library Association (ALA) Midwinter Meeting this January. A video of their presentation is available on the ARL YouTube channel (starting at 49:58 “IPEDS: Academic Libraries Component”).

ARL and ACRL are providing leadership by establishing a task force to formalize the advice offered by the academic library community and to ensure that advice is communicated to the IPEDS Academic Libraries coordinator.

“It is important to develop a robust national survey form useful to all types of academic libraries and in sync with national and international standards,” said Mary Ellen Davis, ACRL executive director.

ARL executive director Elliott Shore called for “taking a collaborative approach to shared understandings of academic libraries and their work, being cost effective and efficient as we streamline this effort to improve our national education statistics, and leveraging our collective wisdom in developing guidance for the community.”

Historically the US National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) collected academic library statistics as part of the library statistics program every two years with National Commission on Libraries and Information Science (NCLIS) oversight so that all library sectors were included (academic, public, state library agencies and school libraries).  Due to the closure of NCLIS in 2008 and reorganization within NCES, the public and state library statistics of NCES were transferred to the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) while the academic and school library statistics remained with NCES.  The Academic Libraries Survey (ALS) was moved into the IPEDS data collection system and underwent major revisions. The new Academic Libraries Component became part of the annual IPEDS data collection activities, beginning with FY 2014.

Members of the ARL/ACRL Joint Advisory Task Force on the IPEDS Academic Libraries Component include:


Robert Dugan, Chair of the ACRL Academic Library Trends and Statistics Survey Editorial Board; University of West Florida;

Robert Fox, Chair of the ARL Assessment Committee; University of Louisville;


Elizabeth Edwards, University of Chicago,

Terri Fishel, Macalester College,

Steve Hiller, University of Washington,

Martha Kyrillidou, Association of Research Libraries; Chair of the NISO Z39.7 Data Dictionary;

David Larsen, University of Chicago,

Bao Le, National Center for Education Statistics, IPEDS Academic Libraries Contact,

Bede Mitchell, Georgia Southern University,

Kenley Neufeld, Santa Barbara City College,

Mary Jane Petrowski, Association of College & Research Libraries,

Kathy Rosa, Office of Research & Statistics, American Library Association,

For more information, contact Martha Kyrillidou, Senior Director of ARL Statistics and Service Quality Programs, at 202-296-2296 or, or ACRL Associate Director Mary Jane Petrowski at 312-280-2523 or

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