Online discussion: Assessing how libraries contribute to student success

 Events, Library Impact on Students  Comments Off on Online discussion: Assessing how libraries contribute to student success
Nov 132014

Readers of this blog may be interested in an online discussion hosted next week by the ACRL-ULS Committee on the Future of University Libraries. The discussion is free and will be held on Thursday, November 20 from 3-4 pm EST. To register, go to:

Some of the speakers and their projects have been featured here in the past.

  • Just last month we highlighted Eric Ackermann‘s Assessment in Action project regarding the impact of library games on information confidence.
  • We’ve been talking about the big library data project at University of Minnesota since 2012, and we have followed the publications resulting from that work.

Details about the online discussion follow.

Feeling pressed to prove that your library contributes to student success?  Are administrators demanding evidence that funding the library helps retain and graduate students?  While it may seem obvious  to librarians that students would not succeed without the library, demonstrating that can be a challenge.

Read short descriptions of ways three libraries have effectively assessed their contributions to student success, and then join this online discussion, where assessment librarians will encourage discussion of various ways to measure and demonstrate how your library helps students succeed.


Eric Ackermann (Head of Reference Services and Library Assessment, Radford University) will speak on how his library has tracked how the library’s participation in freshman orientation and core courses has affected retention.

Jennifer L. Jones (Assessment & User Experience Librarian, Georgia State University) will explain how her library followed three cohorts of undergraduates to assess the effect of using library workstations, study rooms, and research clinics.

Shane Nackerud (Technology Lead for Libraries Initiatives, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities) and Janet Fransen (Engineering Librarian, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities) will discuss the big data model the library used in partnership with the university’s Office of Institutional Research to assess the library’s contribution to student outcomes.

The speakers have prepared background stories to help you prepare for this discussion.  Find the descriptions of their successful projects at

Show Your Users the Value of Academic Libraries!

 Communicating Value, Library Impact on Students  Comments Off on Show Your Users the Value of Academic Libraries!
Nov 102014

The ACRL Value of Academic Libraries committee is pleased to make available customizable posters that cite research on the value of using academic libraries:

VAL poster template (Customizable PPT template)

The PowerPoint file above can be downloaded and modified to include your library’s name and logo. The slides are set at 24″ x 36″ for large-format printing, but can be modified.

The posters cite studies from Portal: Libraries and the Academy and Evidence Based Library and Information Practice that indicate students who make use of library resources have higher retention rates and GPA.

If you would like to use the posters without customization, we also have a PDF version available:

VAL poster (Downloadable PDF)

If you use the posters in your library or on your campus, please share pictures! You can find ACRL on Twitter @ALA_ACRL.

Using the Library Makes a Difference

 Library Impact on Students  Comments Off on Using the Library Makes a Difference
Sep 302014

Two research studies are featured in the new publicity posters (links below) available for use from the VAL project that describe impact on students and (a) their use of library resources correlated to student retention and academic success, and (b) assessment of library instruction impact on academic success.

The article cited in two of the posters [Soria, Krista, Jan Fransen, and Shane Nackerud. “Library Use and Undergraduate Student Outcomes: New Evidence for Students’ Retention and Academic Success.” Portal: Libraries and the Academy 13.2 (2013): 147-64] finds a statistically significant improvement in GPA among first year undergraduate students who use the library.

The second study from the University of Wyoming, referenced in VAL-Poster-3, [Bowles-Terry, Melissa. “Library Instruction and Academic Success: A Mixed-Methods Assessment of a Library Instruction Program,” Evidence Based Library and Information Practice 7. 1 (2012): 82-95] supports a tiered plan for instruction, teaching incrementally advanced research skills. Using both qualitative and quantitative methods, the authors describe student perceptions of library instruction programs as well as GPA of graduating students who had library instruction in their first year and upper-level library instruction. Analysis of data from their study shows a positive correlation between upper-level instruction and a higher GPA at graduation.

We often hear that the library is central to the campus, and we believe that our work is essential/important to the academic mission of the institution.  At the same time our funding agencies are pressing for more evidence of accountability and commitments to improvements and increasingly, quantitative measures of our impact on the output of the college or university.

The above articles and a growing body of literature these studies review are beginning to give real evidence of that impact.  Students’ use of libraries, from using library resources measured in the Minnesota study to quantifying that instruction in information research tailored to the level of need does improve student success.

The images linked below can be used to share with your campus and your users the message that libraries do make that difference.  You can use them as posters or in posts to social media to spread the word.

VAL-Poster-v1-2014.jpg – JPG File, 595.3 KB
By: Andrea Heisel

VAL-Poster-2-v1-2014.jpg – JPG File, 93.89 KB
By: Andrea Heisel

VAL-Poster-3-v1-2014.jpg – JPG File, 172.52 KB
By: Andrea Heisel

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