“Assessment in Action” Posters at ALA Annual

One of the ongoing objectives of the VAL Committee is to “leverage existing research to articulate and promote the value of academic and research libraries.”  The Assessment in Action program provides opportunities for librarian-led teams to investigate and report on research they conducted on their campus.  These projects will not only contribute to the body of research, but also provide examples for other libraries who may wish to conduct similar studies.

On Friday afternoon and Saturday morning, the first cohort of 75 11054451404_c313a4f6fd_mteams shared their project posters and provided examples of research conducted over the past year as part of their participation in  ACRL’s program “Assessment in Action: Academic Libraries and Student Success” (AiA).   The poster sessions were well attended and the quality of posters was excellent.  There is a wide range of projects conducted by librarian-led teams at their community colleges, colleges and universities and their projects examined the impact of the library (instruction, reference, collections, space, and more) on student learning/success.

 If you were not able to attend the poster sessions, you can read about their projects from the abstracts in the poster guide (pdf). Additionally, teams are submitting online final project reports, which will be analyzed and synthesized in a report released by ACRL later this year. The individual reports (including poster images) will also be available in a searchable online collection.

ACRL is undertaking 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, is made possible by the Institute of Museum and Library Services.


Value of Academic Libraries – sessions of interest at ALA

If you are planning on attending ALA in Las Vegas, the following sessions may be of interest to those of you following the VAL committee.

Assessment Project Posters will be available for viewing on two days:

  • Friday, June 27, 2:00 — 4:00 p.m. Bally’s Gold
  • Saturday, June 28, 8:30-10:30 a.m. Bally’s Skyview 6

Presented by the first participants in ACRL’s “Assessment in Action: Academic Libraries and Student Success” program, made possible by IMLS. Librarian-led teams carried out assessment projects at their colleges and universities examining the impact of the library (instruction, reference, collections, space, and more) on student learning/success. In each session, part of the teams will present posters.  Poster abstracts will be uploaded before ALA and we will provide the URL in this blog when the posters are available. Additionally, teams will be submitting online final project reports, which will be analyzed and synthesized in a report released by ACRL later this summer. The individual reports will be available in a searchable online collection.

Update Session on Value of Academic Libraries Committee work

  • Sunday, June 29, 1:00 — 2:30  Convention Center N255

In this session we will provide updates on actions taken by the Value committee during the past year, including information on the 2nd cohort for the Assessment in Action program, questions from the audience and answers from the committee regarding the AiA program, and an introduction to a publicity campaign we will kick off at ALA.  We will share marketing posters that can be used and branded by academic libraries.  This project is an effort to provide publicity materials so that you can promote how your library adds value on your campus.  Each poster cites a research study that supports statements demonstrating how we contribute to student success.

Demonstrating our Value Requires Valid Statistical Data

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.