ACRL has released a new white paper, “Connect, Collaborate, and Communicate: A Report from the Value of Academic Libraries Summits,” which reports on two invitational summits supported by a National Leadership Collaborative Planning Grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. The report is freely available on the ACRL website (PDF).
As part of ACRL’s Value of Academic Libraries Initiative, a multiyear project designed to assist academic librarians in demonstrating library value, ACRL joined with three partners — the Association for Institutional Research, Association of Public and Land-grant Universities and the Council of Independent Colleges — to sponsor two national summits held November 29 – December 1, 2011. The summits convened senior librarians, chief academic administrators and institutional researchers from 22 postsecondary institutions for discussions about library impact. Fifteen representatives from higher education organizations, associations and accreditation bodies also participated in the summit discussions and presentations and facilitated small group work.
The report — co-authored by Karen Brown, associate professor at Dominican University, and ACRL Senior Strategist for Special Initiatives Kara Malenfant — summarizes broad themes about the dynamic nature of higher education assessment that emerged from the summits. From these themes, the report presents five recommendations for the library profession:
- Increase librarians’ understanding of library value and impact in relation to various dimensions of student learning and success.
- Articulate and promote the importance of assessment competencies necessary for documenting and communicating library impact on student learning and success.
- Create professional development opportunities for librarians to learn how to initiate and design assessment that demonstrates the library’s contributions to advancing institutional mission and strategic goals.
- Expand partnerships for assessment activities with higher education constituent groups and related stakeholders.
- Integrate the use of existing ACRL resources with library value initiatives.
“Beyond these recommendations, the report also articulates a framework for future action,” said Megan Oakleaf, co-chair of ACRL’s Value of Academic Libraries committee and associate professor at the Syracuse University School of Information Services. “This will be a guiding document for furthering the discussion at national and local levels.”
Lisa Janicke Hinchliffe, co-chair of ACRL’s Value of Academic Libraries committee and associate professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, concurs observing that “We expect the report will serve as a resource for academic librarians and others on campus who are committed to helping their colleges and universities assess and advance their missions.”
“ACRL’s ‘Plan for Excellence’ identifies the value of academic libraries as a top priority for the association, and results just in from the 2012 membership survey show that demonstrating library relevance is the top issue of concern for our members,” added Joyce L. Ogburn, ACRL president and university librarian and director of the University of Utah Marriott Library. “ACRL has already taken steps to continue this crucial work by submitting a grant proposal to design, implement and evaluate a team-based professional development program to strengthen the competencies of librarians in campus leadership and data-informed advocacy.”
For more information on the report, listen to a podcast conversation with Hinchliffe and Oakleaf.
Learn more about the report and the steps ACRL is taking to address the recommendations during the upcoming ALA Annual Conference in Anaheim. The “Forum on ACRL’s Value of Academic Libraries Initiative” will be held from 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. on Sunday, June 24, 2012, in the Disneyland Hotel, Magic Kingdom Ballroom 2.