ACRL releases Value of Academic Libraries report

CHICAGO – The Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) announces the release of “Value of Academic Libraries: A Comprehensive Research Review and Report.” Developed for ACRL by Megan Oakleaf of the iSchool at Syracuse University, this valuable resource reviews the quantitative and qualitative literature, methodologies and best practices currently in place for demonstrating the value of academic libraries. The full report, along with supplemental materials, is available online at http://www.acrl.ala.org/value/.

Increasing recognition of the value of libraries and librarians by leaders in higher education, information technology, funding agencies and campus decision makers is one of ACRL’s six strategic priorities. Recognizing the sense of urgency around this issue, the report is intended to help academic librarians participate in the conversation and to identify resources to support them in demonstrating the value of academic libraries in clear, measurable ways.

“This report presents the vision and the reality of the value of academic libraries and their contributions to institutional goals and outcomes,” said ACRL President Lisa Hinchliffe of the University of Illinois at Urbana – Champaign. “Through it, we have a shared knowledge base for the association and our members as we pursue this strategic priority.”

The primary objective of this comprehensive review is to provide academic librarians and institutional leaders with a clearer understanding of what research about the performance of academic libraries already exists and where gaps in this research occur. The report additionally identifies the most promising best practices and measures correlated to performance and represents a starting point to assist college, university and community college librarians in gathering evidence to tell the story of their libraries and promote dialogue on the value of the academic library in higher education.

“Documenting the evidence we have for the impact of academic libraries on student, faculty and institutional success will enable library leaders to respond proactively to calls for accountability and return on investment. Identifying the gaps charts a path for the data we need to gather and analyze,” explained Hinchliffe. “In the coming months, ACRL will be turning its attention to strategies for pursuing the research agenda recommended in the report, identifying funding sources for projects and developing training and support materials for our members.”

The full report is now available on the ACRL website, along with a separate executive summary for distribution to campus decision makers, a bibliography of sources consulted in the development of the report, a podcast interview with Hinchliffe and Oakleaf and links to additional resources. Visit http://www.acrl.ala.org/value/ for complete information on this exciting new resource.

Hinchliffe and Oakleaf are available for media interviews and group presentations highlighting the report. Contact ACRL Communications Specialist David Free at dfree@ala.org for more information and to schedule interviews and presentations.

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The Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) is a division of the American Library Association (ALA) representing more than 12,000 academic and research librarians and interested individuals. ACRL is the only individual membership organization in North America that develops programs, products and services to meet the unique needs of academic and research librarians. Its initiatives enable the higher education community to understand the role that academic libraries play in the teaching, learning and research environments. ACRL is on the Web at http://www.acrl.org/, Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/ala.acrl and Twitter at @ala_acrl.