We asked participants in ACRL’s Assessment in Action (AiA) to share a few thoughts on their experience. Here is what Nancy Goebel from the University of Alberta Libraries had to say about her project: “Can the Personal Librarian program help make the University of Alberta Libraries more relevant and supportive for students in specific populations?”
Abstract: The Personal Librarian for Aboriginal Students (PLAS) program aimed to deepen Aboriginal (native) students’ engagement with library services, collections and services. In the PLAS program, incoming Aboriginal students were partnered with a “Personal Librarian”.
Most weeks in the academic/project year students were emailed a short hint on how to do research and, always, an encouragement to contact their Personal Librarian. Participating students and Personal Librarians were surveyed at the end of the academic/project year.
- What was your greatest challenge during the course of your Assessment in Action project? AiA was the biggest project, by far, that I have been involved in which included partners exclusively outside of the library and across multiple campuses. I think that both of these factors will influence how I think about most of my work for the rest of my career. I will more naturally consider how the project might be strengthened with non-library partners and considering the needs of multiple campuses adds complexity but is true to the full needs of the campuses’ users and that consideration is essential.
- What is your #1 recommendation for other librarians who want to conduct an assessment project on student learning and success? I am a big advocate for pilot programs. Not to say that everything can or should be spontaneous or not fully-planned but rather create opportunities for good ideas to have a chance to flourish. To be efficient and effective with resources we must not be wasteful so good planning and creative thinking are core components in pilots too.
- What is the #1 thing you gained through your participation in Assessment in Action? AiA was not my first consideration of the importance of assessment in my career. However, it made a lasting impact in terms of the consideration of assessment now being front and center with all work that I do. I think it is important to have evidence to support the work we do and also use evidence to inform what might be the best route to take even if it is not the preferred route by whatever constituent.
Thank you very much Nancy for the excellent post and congratulations on completing AiA!