Terri Fishel


In October 2013, Mary Jane Petrowski, ACRL Associate Director, shared a blog entitled, “ACRL Metrics: Enhancing Data-Driven Decision Making.”  In that posting, Mary Jane shared information about ACRLMetrics the online tool that is currently collecting data for the ACRL 2012-13 Academic Library Trends and Statistics Survey. Collection of data in a standard survey on an annual basis is essential for academic libraries that wish to demonstrate value to their institutions.  In their work, Viewing Library Metrics from Different Perspectives: Inputs, Outputs, and Outcomes , [1] Robert E. Dugan, Peter Hernon and Danuta A. Nitecki include in their appendices a series of tables that identify the type of metrics that can be used to track trends within your own institution as well as provide benchmarks and comparisons to peer institutions.  While this data is useful for tracking internal trends, we need the same data to be available to the larger academic library audience.  That means it is essential for academic libraries to contribute their statistics to an annual standard survey.  This need is more urgent based on the fact that the last NCES Academic Library Survey has been completed and published.  2012 is the last year that data will be collected in that form. [2]    Approximately 4,000 academic libraries including community colleges, 4 year, institutions, Master’s level and research universities participated in that biennial survey.  We need the same level of participation in the ACRL survey in order to have valid data that can be used by libraries.

The Association for Research Libraries has an established survey tool and system for collecting statistical data from their member institutions, but the ARL is limited to its 125 members.  While they provide a valuable service in providing excellent summary and trend data, it does not replace the need for detailed information from many more academic libraries including community colleges and smaller four-year institutions.

ACRL has been working to establish an online standard survey tool and system for all academic libraries to use.  ACRLMetrics [3] became available in 2010 and is an online tool that utilizes a system to collect your data and then share the contributed data in both trend reports and user-generated reports and focuses on the same suggested metrics that are presented in Viewing Library Metrics from Different Perspectives.  All library directors or someone designated in your institution should have received an email invitation with password information to access the online survey in order to submit your data on collections, staffing, services, and expenditures. The deadline for completing the survey is April 30, 2014.  Information including the worksheet and instructions will be found on the website.

If you did not receive an invitation, you can access support at https://acrl.countingopinions.com/.  You also make direct contact by sending an email to Lindsay Thompson at   llt@countingopinions.com or calling 800-521-4930.

I hope that you will see the value in contributing your statistics to the ACRL survey.  The more libraries that contribute, the greater will be the benefits for all academic libraries.  By doing so, you will help contribute to the data that we need when preparing reports demonstrating the value we provide to our institutions.



[1] Robert E. Dugan, Peter Hernon, Danuta A. Nitecki. Viewing Library Metrics from Different Perspectives: Inputs, Outputs, and Outcomes. (Santa Barbara: Libraries Unlimited, 2009)

[2] A much shorter version of the NCES ALS survey will be included in IPEDs beginning in 2015.  You can review the new form on the IPEDs website.

[3] If you are not familiar with ACRLMetrics, it is a subscription service.  However, libraries that contribute their statistics do receive a subscription discount.  I am not trying to sell subscriptions to this service.  I am more concerned that we have a survey tool that accurately reflects data from more academic libraries.  If interested, you can obtain information on subscriptions at their website, but I will point out that if you contribute your data, you become eligible for a subscription at less than $200.



submitted by Debbie Malone, VAL Committee member: This blog post is the first in a series of posts discussing the library value work being done by the ACRL Liaisons to non-library higher education organizations. We welcome Mandy Swygart-Hobaugh, Georgia State University, who is our liaison to the American Sociological Association (ASA) 


As 2012/2013 was my first year as the ACRL-ASA Liaison, many of my initial activities involved making connections and having conversations with key people in the areas I was most interested in exploring: sociology-specific information literacy and sociology-specific data management needs/open access to data/scholarship. These conversations proved quite fruitful and resulted in several burgeoning projects discussed herein.

I am now a Member of the Section on Teaching and Learning in Sociology (STLS) Cooperative Initiatives Committee; my committee activities involve my sociology-specific information literacy projects/activities described in this post.

At the ASA annual conference, which took place August 10-13 in New York City, I had an informal roundtable discussion accepted, entitled “Developing Assessments of Sociology Information Literacy/Critical Research Learning Outcomes,” which was to be moderated by Sally Willson Weimer (UCSB Sociology Librarian), Sociology Professor Ed Kain (Southwestern University), and myself. Perhaps due to timing and conflict with another teaching-related session, we had no one in attendance for the roundtable itself. However, the following morning at a breakfast meeting between myself, Sally Willson Weimer, Ed Kain, Diane Pike (Augsburg College), and Rachel Brekhus (University of Missouri – Columbia Sociology Librarian), Ed Kain informed me that he had suggested to Margaret Vitullo, ASA Director of Academic and Professional Affairs, that next year’s ASA conference training of Department Resource Group (DRG) Program Reviewers include discussions of how to conduct sociology program reviews that more thoroughly incorporate information literacy assessment in the library portion of reviews. I am following up with Ed Kain and Margaret Vitullo regarding this and will likely solicit input from ANSS members regarding how to develop this aspect of the DRG Program Reviewer training.

Also, by invitation from Teaching Resources and Innovations Library for Sociology (TRAILS) Editor Diane Pike, I attended the TRAILS Area Editors meeting. Drawing from the outcomes of this meeting as well as the aforementioned breakfast meeting, I marketed TRAILS by recommending via the ANSS listserv that sociology liaison librarians encourage their sociology faculty to submit teaching materials to TRAILS.

I had another informal roundtable discussion accepted for the ASA Conference, entitled “Data Management for Sociologists,” which was led by Jason Phillips, former NYU Data Services Librarian and Sally Willson Weimer, and which I and another New York University librarian joined. Drawing from outcomes of this discussion, I plan to (1) pursue developing a guide for sociology-specific data management needs/practices, including addressing making data and scholarship open access, and (2) contacting Michael Kisielewski, Research Associate for the ASA Department of Research on the Discipline and Profession, to discuss his department’s interest in pursuing a research project to gauge sociology-specific data management needs, including addressing making data and scholarship open access.

Additionally, while attending an NSF-sponsored Policy and Research Workshop entitled “Data for Social Science Research: Availability, Accessibility and Research Possibilities,” myself, Sally Willson Weimer, and Frans Albarillo (Brooklyn College – CUNY Sociology Librarian), spoke with Patricia White (National Science Foundation) and Sheela Kennedy (University of Minnesota IPUMS-International) and have been in email communication regarding how we can help disseminate information about the IPUMS data resources as well as teaching materials for enabling IPUMS data use. My initial plans regarding approaching this include (1) working collaboratively with Frans Albarillo and Sally Willson Weimer on developing a LibGuide that highlights IPUMS and other social-science data resources with instructional help for those resources, and (2) disseminating this information with a link to the LibGuide to the ANSS listserv, the IASSIST (International Association for Social Science Information Services & Technology) listserv, ANSS Currents, and to ASA Officers.

While my past year’s activities did not focus on open access to sociology scholarship, I am pursuing some related activities this coming year. I have had brief communication with Karen Gray Edwards, ASA Director of Publications and Membership, and have learned from the November 2013 ASA Footnotes newsletter that the ASA Council and Committee on Publications has “approved moving forward with SAGE on plans to launch a premier open access general sociology journal. A detailed proposal is expected for review at the next Council meeting [March 1-2, 2014, in Washington, DC], including the payment model, copyright provisions, candidates for editorship, and journal name” (ASA Footnotes, “Council Highlights,” p. 13). I hope to have further conversations with Karen Gray Edwards about how this open-access initiative is proceeding.

For being my first year as the ASA-ACRL Liaison, I feel that I accomplished quite a bit. I have gotten several projects off the ground this year and made great connections with ASA members and administrators, which is quite a feat for a first-year liaison.


Mandy Swygart-Hobaugh, Georgia State University



One of the goals of the Value Committee is to “increase research that demonstrates the value of academic and research libraries.”  Members of the ACRL Value committee are aware that one of the biggest challenges facing academic librarians in proving their value is too often a lack of confidence and/or skills in conducting a research project that truly demonstrates how their library contributes and makes a positive impact on the student experience, faculty publishing, or institutional prestige.  This is especially true in smaller institutions that may not have a well-developed institutional research office or program that can support their efforts.  Thus, we want to call attention to the recent announcement of a new institute that will provide a professional development opportunity for academic librarians who wish to improve their skills in research.  The Institute for Research Design in Librarianship, aims to bring together a diverse group of librarians from a variety of types of academic institutions for a nine-day institute to be held during the summer at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.  The first institute will bring together 21 librarians “who are motivated and enthusiastic about conducting research but need additional training and/or support to perform the steps successfully.” [1]  The summer institute will include pre-institute learning activities and will include developing a cohort that will provide a personal learning network with ongoing mentoring. The institute is co-sponsored by the San Jose State University School of Library and Information Science and the Statewide California Electronic Library Consortium and is being funded with a three-year grant by the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS).  The stated goal for this institute is to “increase the number of academic librarians with specific skills in conducting and disseminating the results of research.”[2]     The added emphasis on publishing and sharing the results of their research is a valuable component of this institute.  The University of Minnesota library has been featured in several Value blog postings and they have done an excellent job of publishing results of their studies on library use and student retention[3], but we need more publications from other institutions sharing the type of research they have done.  This institute provides the type of opportunity that we hope academic librarians will take advantage of in order to develop research projects that could contribute to the literature that demonstrates the value of our libraries to our institutions.

Complete details on this institute and information on how to apply will be found on their website - http://irdlonline.org/about/.  Applications are being accepted until February 1, 2014.  Applicants who are successful will be notified March 1, 2014.  The first institute will be held June 16 – June 26, 2014.

We will look forward to hearing more as this institute embarks on their first year.  We also hope to see references to successful research projects in this blog in the coming years.

[1] From the website, http://irdlonline.org/about/, visited 12/30/2013

[2] From the website, Grant Proposal, http://irdlonline.org/project-info/grant-proposal/, visited 12/30/2013

[3] Soria, K., Fransen, J. & Nackerud, S. (2013). Library use and undergraduate student outcomes: new evidence for students’ retention and academic success. portal: Libraries and the Academy, Volume 13, Number 2, April 2013, pp. 147-164



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