This blog post is one in a series of posts discussing the library value work being done by the ACRL Liaisons to non-library higher education organizations. The following post from Lis Cabot who writes about her liaison work with the Council of Independent Colleges.
The Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) is an association of nonprofit independent colleges and universities that works to advance institutional quality and increase awareness of the contributions of small and mid-size private institutions to society. ACRL has co-sponsored many initiatives with the CIC. The Council was a co-sponsor of ACRL’s IMLS grant in support of the Value of Academic Libraries initiative. CIC also offers scholarships for college library directors to attend the ALA Annual Conference. As the ACRL Liaison to CIC, I attend an annual Chief Academic Officers Institute where I offer programming that highlights the contributions of academic libraries to institutional effectiveness. Recent institutes have included Chief Student Affairs Officers and Chief Financial Affairs Officers. I shared examples of CIC member libraries collaborative campus projects with the Chief Student Affairs Officers. As a major employer of student workers, academic libraries contribute to student retention and recruitment. Several libraries develop residence hall programming and cultural activities. I find these administrators to be very interested in evolving library services, resources, and physical spaces.
Academic officers tend to be natural supporters of libraries and look to librarians for evidence of our contributions to teaching and learning success, as well as to institutional mission. They are keenly interested in collaborative initiatives whereby academic libraries partner with other campus units. Deans and provosts frequently cite budget challenges and applaud our efforts in the areas of resource sharing and consortia initiatives. CIC goals align nicely with ACRL’s Strategic Goals in the Plan for Excellence. CIC is interested in making the case for independent higher education and fostering institutional effectiveness. Academic libraries work to demonstrate alignment with institutional outcomes. CIC also focuses on forming collaborations to create and strengthen institutional programs. ACRL and academic libraries seek to leverage partnerships in support of mutual goals. CIC assists institutions in improving their educational offerings, administrative and financial performance, and visibility. This focus aligns nicely with ACRL’s goal of accelerating the transition to a more open system of scholarship and promotion of new structures that reward and value open scholarship.
CIC has also offered an annual workshop on Information Fluency in the Disciplines. Teams of faculty, librarians, and academic administrators from CIC schools are selected to participate in the workshops. During the workshop, the institutional teams focus on the development of local initiatives that introduce and reinforce information fluency skills in academic programs and/or academic disciplines. I facilitate some of the working sessions at the workshop and work with individual teams. I enjoy working with the teams and field inquiries post-workshop from several participants. I highlighted ACRL’s work on revisions to the Information Literacy Standards for Higher Education at the workshops. I also co-presented on institutional approaches to “Developing Information Fluency Across the Four Years”. I highlight the collaborative approach we use at Ithaca College, engaging disciplinary faculty in the identification of core student learning outcomes linked to specific library resources and services. As a result of my participation the workshop, I have been invited to a CIC member campus to present on our approach and to work with a group of faculty and librarians.
I report on my CIC activities to the College Library Section’s Executive Committee at Midwinter and Annual Conferences. I have also forwarded relevant information to ACRL’s Strategic Goal Committees.
The ACRL-CIC relationship continues to be an opportunity for collaboration and engagement. Given that CIC member institutions are small to medium-sized colleges and universities, they naturally focus on creating a compelling undergraduate experience. CIC academic officers and faculty continue to welcome and support the contributions of their libraries.