Category Archives: Value of Academic Libraries

Progress Update on ACRL Action-Oriented Research Agenda on Library Contributions to Student Learning and Success

The team from OCLC Research – which ACRL selected to design, develop, and deliver a new ACRL “Action-Oriented Research Agenda on Library Contributions to Student Learning and Success” – has recently submitted a progress report to the ACRL Board of Directors. The report details how the project team conducted a literature search in academic library journals and conference proceedings for scholarly and practice-based literature that addresses library contributions to student learning and success. It explains the ways the team analyzed the studies (using content analysis to portray the current state of library value studies in an institutional context) and identified themes for the research agenda.

In November, a first draft of the action-oriented research agenda will be sent to the ACRL Value of Academic Libraries (VAL) committee and released publicly for feedback. In mid November, you can hear more in a free “ACRL Presents” online open forum with VAL committee chair Jaime Hammond, project director Lynn Silipigni Connaway, senior research scientist at OCLC, and project team members Vanessa Kitzie and Stephanie Mikitish, doctoral candidates at Rutgers University. This will forum will allow for community members to ask questions and give reactions to the draft.

ACRL Teams with OCLC Research for Research Agenda

Lynn Silipigni Connaway, senior research scientist at OCLC; Lorcan Dempsey, vice president and chief strategist at OCLC Research; and Mary Ellen K. Davis, ACRL executive director

Lynn Silipigni Connaway, senior research scientist at OCLC; Lorcan Dempsey, vice president and chief strategist at OCLC Research; and Mary Ellen K. Davis, ACRL executive director; celebrating the ACRL/ OCLC collaboration.

ACRL has selected a team from OCLC Research to design, develop, and deliver a new ACRL “Action-Oriented Research Agenda on Library Contributions to Student Learning and Success.”

The team was selected after an open and competitive request for proposals to investigate and write a research agenda that provides an update on progress since the publication of ACRL’s 2010 Value of Academic Libraries: A Comprehensive Research Review and Report and examines important questions where more research is needed in areas critical to the higher education sector. The focus of the research agenda will be on institutional priorities for improved student learning and success (e.g., retention, persistence, degree completion).

“We are excited to be working with OCLC Research, a renowned independent research unit, to create this new agenda as a way to both guide academic librarians on actions they can take now to communicate their contributions to higher education and to identify essential areas that merit further investigation,” remarked ACRL Executive Director Mary Ellen K. Davis.

The agenda clearly will identify actions academic libraries can take now based on both existing scholarship and practice-based reports, and it will include 10-15 future-focused key inquiry questions that the literature and interview data suggest are essential for academic librarians to explore. In addition, the project will include an interactive visualization dashboard to help librarians understand and make use of existing literature for studies most relevant to their research interests. It will also contain a visualization component that highlights the major themes in the report, enables data entry based on local projects, and produces a graphic that can be shared with campus stakeholders.

Project director Lynn Silipigni Connaway, senior research scientist at OCLC, is joined by team members William Harvey, consulting software engineer at OCLC, and Vanessa Kitzie and Stephanie Mikitish, both doctoral candidates in the Library and Information Science program at Rutgers University. The team will seek regular feedback from both ACRL’s Value of Academic Libraries Committee and an advisory group consisting of academic librarians at 12 institutions that include community colleges, 4-year colleges, and research universities from secular, non-secular, public, and private institutions representing the 4 geographical regions of the United States.

“We were impressed with OCLC’s in-kind contributions to the project as well as the composition of the advisory board and the active role they will take in connecting the team with vice presidents and provosts for interviews,” continued Davis. “Likewise, the robust data visualization component will prove a powerful tool in helping academic librarians navigate the rich body of scholarly research and practice-based literature that already exists. We are particularly fortunate to benefit from the unique perspective that Lynn brings through her work at OCLC and her deep engagement with ACRL as a former chair of ACRL’s Value of Academic Libraries Committee.”

Lorcan Dempsey, vice president and chief strategist at OCLC Research, commented, “This project fits perfectly with our commitment to act as a community resource for shared research and development. Like ACRL, we are committed to scaling learning and innovation across the communities we serve. We are really pleased to be collaborating with ACRL on a project to advance thinking on a central library question.”

The team’s work began in early August 2016 and includes a presentation at the upcoming Library Assessment Conference as well as an online open forum in mid November to share progress with the broader community and solicit feedback. A final document of publishable quality, 60-100 pages in length, is due in May 2017 for public release in June. Read more about project deliverables and timeline in an excerpt of the successful proposal.


About ACRL

The Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL) is the higher education association for librarians. Representing more than 11,000 academic and research librarians and interested individuals, ACRL (a division of the American Library Association) develops programs, products and services to help academic and research librarians learn, innovate and lead within the academic community. Founded in 1940, ACRL is committed to advancing learning and transforming scholarship. ACRL is on the Web at, Facebook at and Twitter at @ala_acrl.

About OCLC

OCLC is a nonprofit global library cooperative providing shared technology services, original research and community programs so that libraries can better fuel learning, research and innovation. Through OCLC, member libraries cooperatively produce and maintain WorldCat, the most comprehensive global network of data about library collections and services. Libraries gain efficiencies through OCLC’s WorldShare, a complete set of library management applications and services built on an open, cloud-based platform. It is through collaboration and sharing of the world’s collected knowledge that libraries can help people find answers they need to solve problems. Together as OCLC, member libraries, staff and partners make breakthroughs possible.

ACRL issues statement for communicating library value to academic leaders

The Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) released a statement on the value of academic libraries to be used by library leaders as a communication tool with academic leaders on their campuses such as provosts and presidents. Academic libraries provide critical direct and indirect value to institutions of higher education in the following areas:

  1. support recruitment, retention and matriculation,
  2. enhance student learning,
  3. support faculty research and teaching, and
  4. raise institutional visibility and contribute to the community.

The statement was developed by ACRL’s value of academic libraries committee and approved by the ACRL Board of Directors at their meeting on June 25, 2016. The statement consists of an executive summary, followed by longer talking points.

“Within the evolving landscape and new roles of academic and research librarianship, the Value of Academic Libraries statement provides an avenue to engage academic leaders in conversations with their librarian leadership. These discussions are intended to raise issues of institutional importance, highlighting librarians’ contributions and support,” remarked ACRL president Irene M.H. Herold, university librarian at the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa. “ACRL remains committed to providing tools to help the academic and research library workforce effectively navigate changes in higher education environments.”

“We heard a need from the broader community for brief statements that library leaders could use to communicate library value to colleagues within institutions of higher education,” noted Jaime Hammond, chair of ACRL’s value of academic libraries committee and director of library services at Naugatuck Valley Community College. Find the statement online as part of ACRL’s Value of Academic Libraries website.

ACRL Seeks Curriculum Designer/Presenters for New Learning Opportunities on Assessment

ACRL is accepting applications from prospective curriculum designer/presenters to contribute to creating two (and possibly more) new learning opportunities on assessing library impact, building on the work of the ACRL program Assessment in Action: Academic Libraries and Student Success (AiA). First, a day-long workshop is being designed to provide professional development support to librarians who wish to know more about creating a plan to assess one particular program or service in their library. The focus is on understanding library contributions to institutional priorities for student learning and success and any aspect of the library can be the focus of inquiry. Second, the selected designer/presenters will work on a new approach that aims to support library leaders – deans and directors – in communicating about library impact with campus decision makers through a half-day guided discussion format. Both of these new events will be piloted in conjunction with the ACRL 2017 conference. Online content will be created to complement these two in person events and may include stand-alone webinars as well.

The selected designer/presenters will join the team of continuing facilitators from the AiA program, which is the foundation of these new learning opportunities. Continuing AiA facilitators are Karen Brown, Professor at the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at Dominican University, IL; Eric Resnis, who serves in a dual appointment as Assessment Coordinator in the Center for Teaching, Learning, and University Assessment and as Organizational Effectiveness Specialist in the Libraries at Miami University in Oxford, OH; Debra Gilchrist, Vice President for Learning and Student Success, Pierce College, WA; and Lisa Janicke Hinchliffe, Coordinator for Information Literacy and Professor, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The designer/presenters will rely on a group of member leaders from the ACRL Value of Academic Libraries Committee as reflector/consultants to the curriculum during the design process.

The day long in-person workshop is intended to be offered upon request on a licensed basis, as with the existing ACRL workshops Planning, Assessing, and Communicating Library Impact: Putting the Standards for Libraries in Higher Education into Action and Scholarly Communication: From Understanding to Engagement. The half-day guided discussion for library administrators will likely take a different approach. Online offerings would be part of ACRL’s regular eLearning program and could include a multi-week asynchronous course and one or more topical webcasts of 60-90 minutes each in an interactive online classroom.

Required Qualifications
The successful curriculum designer/presenters must be conversant with issues and challenges of libraries in higher education. They must possess:

  • Membership in ACRL.
  • Experience working in academic or research libraries.
  • Experience serving as conveners and facilitators of educational activities.
  • Demonstrated ability to design and deliver events, activities, and modules that are experiential, support action learning, and foster reflection among learners.
  • An ability to foster connections and create learning environments in which participants can exchange ideas and share experiences and information.
  • Strong interpersonal skills, ability to work with diverse group members, and commitment to developing strong, collegial relationships with members of the curriculum design team and the participants.
  • Rich knowledge of the dynamic nature of higher education assessment, including a keen awareness of the forces outside the sector driving for greater accountability.
  • Working knowledge of the issues and challenges of libraries in higher education, including dynamic relationships of campus units and their interactions.

Candidates should highlight additional qualifications in areas such as:

  • Demonstrated knowledge of multiple assessment methods, both quantitative and qualitative, data collection strategies, and analytical techniques.
  • Experience analyzing existing administrative data which emanates from different campus units (i.e., libraries and office of institutional research).
  • Experience designing protocols and gathering new data through questionnaires, semi structured interviews, and focus groups.
  • Adeptness at communicating and presenting assessment project results.

We encourage applications from individuals representing the full array of professional areas and services in academic and research librarianship.

Preferred Qualification
Participation as a team leader or team member in the ACRL program Assessment in Action: Academic Libraries and Student Success is preferred. The success of the applicant’s own AiA project is not a determining factor in the selection. We seek colleagues who learned from their project, analyzed results for cultural, strategic, and assessment challenges, and are helping their library move forward with assessment.

The content for both events is dynamic and evolving, and the new designer/presenters will participate in shaping the curriculum as collegial partners with the continuing AiA facilitators.

Successful curriculum designer/presenters must be:

  • Available to participate in design and planning during monthly one hour conference calls.
  • Available to work on curriculum design from August 2016-February 2017.
  • Available to participate in the pilot events in March 2017 and deliver a minimum of two in person events per year, thereafter, in the field.
  • Able to participate in a training session, currently being created, for presenters of all ACRL professional development licensed workshops.

In addition to the above, serving as a curriculum designer/presenter involves participating in all segments of the new learning opportunities and development of materials, exercises and presentations. Additionally, it will involve coaching and training new presenters to deliver the curriculum, once it is developed. This may include presenting the revision and future development of materials, exercises and presentations.

Designer/facilitators will receive a small stipend for this planning work and pilot delivery. ACRL reimburses presenters of all its licensed workshops for travel costs associated with the workshop (flights, hotel, ground transportation, and per diem for meals) and provides a modest honorarium.

To apply, please prepare the following materials. Applications must be submitted electronically as a single PDF document that includes:

  1. A statement addressing the aforementioned qualifications, as well as the following questions (two pages max.):
    1. Why do you want to be a developer and presenter for this workshop and guided discussion?
    2. What experience do you have designing professional development ?
    3. Are there any additional relevant experiences of which you would like us to be aware?
    4. Are there videos or other materials that demonstrate your talents as an educator/trainer?
  2. Your resume.
  3. The names and contact information for 2 references who have direct knowledge of your educator/training experience.
  4. The single PDF application must submitted via email by 5 p.m. Eastern on Thursday, July 14, to Jaime Hammond, vice-chair of the ACRL Value of Academic Libraries Committee, at

The ACRL Value of Academic Libraries Committee has formed a small review team, separate from the continuing AiA facilitators, to consider applications. The process includes checking references and a telephone (or Skype) interview. The group will select the designer/presenters and notify all applicants by Thursday, August 11.

If you have questions of any kind, don’t hesitate to contact Jaime Hammond at

“Assessment in Action” Project Posters at ALA Annual Conference

Assessment in Action LogoComing to the ALA Annual Conference in Orlando? Be sure to see assessment project posters presented by the second year participants in ACRL’s program “Assessment in Action: Academic Libraries and Student Success”(AiA). Librarian-led teams carried out assessment projects over 14 months at their community colleges, colleges and universities. The projects examined the impact of the library (instruction, reference, collections, space, and more) on student learning/success. Part of the 48 teams will present posters during each time slot:

Assessment in Action: Third Year Project Posters, Session I
Friday, June 24, 2016, 2-4:00pm
Hyatt Regency Orlando, Regency Ballroom Q

Assessment in Action: Third Year Project Posters, Session II
Saturday, June 25th, 2016, 8:30-10:30am
Hilton Orlando, Florida Ballroom 1-3

Learn more about these assessment projects from the abstracts in the poster guide (pdf). Additionally, teams are submitting online posters and final project reports, which will be analyzed and synthesized in a report released by ACRL later this year. The individual reports and poster images will be available later this summer in a searchable online collection.

ACRL has undertaken AiA in partnership with the Association for Institutional Research and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities. The program, a cornerstone of ACRL’s Value of Academic Libraries initiative, was made possible by the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

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