Submitted by Debbie Malone, VAL Committee member: This blog post is the third in a series of posts discussing the library value work being done by the ACRL Liaisons to non-library higher education organizations. We welcome Julianne Couture, University of Colorado, Boulder who is our liaison to the American Anthropological Association (AAA).

In August 2012 I was appointed as the ACRL Liaison to the American Anthropological Association (AAA), a professional organization for scholars and practitioners of anthropology. The association has approximately 12,000 members and attracts about 5,000 attendees to its annual meeting. AAA aims to advance anthropology and to further the professional interests of anthropologists. Its Statement of Purpose and the AAA Long-Range Plan provide an overview of the association and more information on its goals and objectives.

To determine my outreach strategy, I sought to understand the issues facing the organization and connect them with relevant parts of the ACRL Plan for Excellence. Looking through official AAA communication methods as well as exploring twitter, listservs, and blogs, I discovered that one major issue dealt with the future of the AAA publishing program and open access. Additionally, my work on ACRL Anthropology & Sociology Section’s Instruction and Information Literacy Committee prompted me to explore issues of student learning within the discipline. My objective was that engagement in these areas within a disciplinary association would also enhance the value of academic libraries.

The year prior to my appointment as ACRL Liaison, AAA sought to understand more about the sustainability of its publishing program by commissioning an analysis by a consulting firm and conducting a member survey. The association released the analysis in a report to AAA members which details the association’s current publishing trends and major issues it will face over the next few years. While this report is restricted to AAA members, the overall takeaway is the association faces a time where it must make critical decisions regarding the future of the publishing program and the options are varied and complex. Around the same time, outgoing American Anthropologist editor Tom Boellstroff (University of California, Irvine) penned an editorial calling for AAA to move to a gold open access publishing program after the current contract with Wiley Blackwell expires in 2017.

This provided context for my first year liaison activities and I focused on making connections within the organization and having conversations with other AAA members regarding the issues of open access, scholarly publishing and student learning at the 2012 Annual Meeting. This proved to be a challenging task since the association has 40 sections, 10 interest groups, and 20 association level committees. Many members focus on their sub-disciplines making it difficult to engage in conversations about overarching issues.  I combed through the 700 page program book to select programs, meetings, and sessions related to open access, student learning, and scholarly communication.

My strategy of attending meetings and engaging in conversations related to scholarly communication led to an invitation to join AAA’s Committee on the Future of Print and Electronic Publishing (CFPEP) for a three year term. This committee’s purview includes examining the future of the publishing program and recommending changes and also includes the continued development of AnthroSource. While I am still a relatively new member of the committee, I welcome the opportunity to advocate for open dissemination and participate in influencing publishing policies.

AAA has taken some steps to make anthropological research more open including the launch of Open Anthropology, an online-only journal whose issues offer a selection of articles based on a timely theme. Additionally, AAA partnered with SSRN to create the Anthropology and Archaeology Research Network, a resource for grey literature in the discipline, and instituted a 35 year un-gating policy. To explore the feasibility of an open access publishing program, CFPEP put a call out to the 22 AAA journals for volunteers to pilot open access. Cultural Anthropology was the only journal to express interest and February 2014 marks the journal’s first fully open access issue. For an excellent overview of Cultural Anthropology’s transition to OA check out Savage Minds interview with the managing editor. These recent developments mean there are many opportunities to have formal and informal conversations around scholarly communication, how it is produced, how it is valued and measured, and how it is disseminated. My experience as ACRL Liaison provides me the opportunity to have these conversations at the national level and highlights one role academic librarians can take on at the local campus level.

The area of student learning is one where I’ve faced bigger hurdles. While there is a Committee on Teaching Anthropology under the General Anthropology Division, this is not a very active committee and there have only been a handful of posters and presentations related to teaching anthropology. I continue to explore ways to increase partnership with the association to advance information literacy as part of student learning. Recently, AAA launched the Teaching Materials Exchange as a way for members to share syllabi, assignments, class activities and more. I will continue to look for ways to strengthen partnership in this area.

I welcome feedback and suggestions on strengthening the relationship between ACRL and AAA. I’ve also been working with ANSS to communicate and collaborate with other anthropology librarians about the issues, trends, and general information I gather through my work with AAA.

Juliann Couture, University of Colorado Boulder


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  You also make direct contact by sending an email to Lindsay Thompson at 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 second in a series of posts discussing the library value work being done by the ACRL Liaisons to non-library higher education organizations. We welcome Dr. Danuta Nitecki, Drexel University, who is our liaison to the Society for College and University Planning (SCUP)

Thinking holistically about higher education, facilitating conversations across different perspectives, fostering learning environments, transforming organizations, stimulating professional growth, communicating new knowledge through publications and online conversations.  Librarians share these perspectives and ambitions with the diverse professionals in and around higher education who are attracted to the Society for College and University Planning [SCUP].

Since 2012, I have had the pleasure of serving as the ACRL liaison to SCUP.  SCUP is “a community that provides its members with the knowledge and resources to establish and achieve institutional planning goals within the context of best practices and emerging trends.”  A good overview of its focus and benefits of membership is found in the SCUP Member Resource Guide, January 2014. Its membership numbers over 5,000 and attracts professionals from both on and off campus, with responsibilities ranging from administration to finance, academics to student services, institutional research to facilities.   It is unique among higher education associations in that “members include leaders from colleges and universities, government agencies, nonprofits and firms that support higher education.”

I now have attended two SCUP national (and one of its regional) annual conferences.  They were very well organized with informative presentations, plenty of audience engagement, and several “networking” opportunities.  The last annual conference [in San Diego] was typical in attracting over 1500 attendees, including not only higher education administrators, managers, and faculty, but also numerous professionals from such fields as architecture, construction, consulting, planning, and from all types of colleges and universities, non-profits and municipal government.

My first SCUP conference, held in Chicago, was very welcoming with an informative “new member” orientation and recognition during some other sessions, and attendees showing interest about libraries when they met me. In addition the regional conference I attended in DC was smaller but equally rich in the numerous opportunities and broad range of venues for people to come together, to learn, exchange ideas and generate knowledge—the cited SCUP objectives.  Regions are grouped as Mid-Atlantic, North Atlantic, North Central, Pacific, and Southern. Though often focusing on a regional perspective, participants come from across the country and from some of the 30 countries where members reside.

Librarians will also find SCUP publications useful.  The association’s peer reviewed journal is Planning for Higher Education and includes insights on planning trends.  Manuscripts for articles, viewpoints and book reviews are welcome. A daily online magazine, SCUP Links, shares contributed links that help form the SUCP environmental scan.   SCUP also publishes books, including its Report on Trends in Higher Education Planning that librarians will find insightful.  By invitation, I joined more than 90 SCUP members to review conference session proposals.  An added bonus was to also participate in the process to identify trends.  A listing of trend areas and description of the process to identify trends are summarized at

Another venue for exchange of ideas is the Multilevel Online Journal Odyssey [MOJO], a virtual community with quarterly themes that is open to SCUP members and nonmembers alike.   The MOJO focus at the time of writing this review is “learning environments” and includes a report of design and research about the model Design Lab, part of the University of Michigan Library’s Digital Media Commons: “Observations from an Open, Connected, and Evolving, Learning Environment”, authored by A. Matthew Barritt and Linda Knox, learning design librarian at the University of Michigan.

I urge anyone interested in facilities planning, developing planning skills, or meeting other professionals tackling the variety of issues facing higher education, to attend a SCUP conference. Only one or two presentations at the annual conferences had “library” in the title, and the most popular one drew over 100 attendees to hear a group of architects and campus planners discuss changes in library design.   It was great seeing librarians attend—more came and presented at the regional conference but represented a small proportion of the attendees at either venue.  At least four sessions will include library topics during the upcoming Mid Atlantic Regional conference in Philadelphia later this month, March 23-25.

Finally, a competition that will interest some librarians is the Perry Chapman Prize.  Begun in 2012, the Perry Chapman Prize, supported by the Hideo Sasaki Foundation, will award  $10,000 annually through 2016 to fund “research, development, and dissemination of emerging knowledge to improve campus environments in support of their institution’s mission.” I recommend the published report produced by the first award recipients:  “Research on Learning Space Design: Present State, Future Directions” by Susan Painter, Janice Fournier, Caryn Grape, Phyllis Grummon, Jill Morelli, Susan Whitmer, and Joseph Cevetello. It is a comprehensive literature review conducted by researchers, campus planners and architects that recognizes the early stages of investigation about elements contributing to designing learning environments.  I attended a workshop conducted by those authors from University of Washington about related research methods and found similarity to library assessment programs and conversations.

I look forward to the results of the 2013 prize award, expected to be published in July 2014. Jos Boys of Northumbria University, UK and Clare Melhuish from the Open University, UK, submitted the proposal “Developing research methods for analyzing learning spaces that can inform institutional missions of learning and engagement,”

Proposals for the 2014 prize are now being accepted with a deadline of May 31, 2014. See:

The SCUP connection reinforces the librarian’s role as a professional within higher education.  We can learn from engagement with the campus planners and architects for whom SCUP is their professional association.  Publications, online newsletters, and conferences provide familiar venues to exchange ideas, develop new insights and disseminate knowledge.  What is better suited to the academic librarian?  In turn how might we contribute to these colleagues’ efforts to develop integrated planning practices and conduct research to plan transformation of higher education?   In what ways might the two associations — ACRL and SCUP—provide mutual benefit from intentional collaborations?

I invite your comments and especially welcome feedback on whether relationships between SCUP and libraries are beneficial to continue and if so, how might they be strengthened.  What more would you like to know?  What about libraries might we share with SCUP and how to best promote our perspective and expertise?

Please don’t hesitate to send suggestions or reactions to me as the current liaison to SCUP:  Danuta A. Nitecki, Dean of Libraries, Drexel University at

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