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


An update on the work of the Value of Academic Libraries committee was presented at a Sunday afternoon forum at ALA Annual Conference in Las Vegas. Lynn Silipigni Connaway and Melissa Bowles-Terry, incoming chair and vice-chair of the committee, shared information regarding the committee’s work and led a discussion about the Assessment in Action program. Highlights from the presentation included:

1. A Task Force on Standards for Proficiencies for Assessment Librarians and Coordinators has been formed with the charge:

To develop a list of proficiencies required of assessment librarians and other librarians who contribute to assessment programs at their institutions, focusing on broad areas of proficiency rather than a comprehensive list of skills; consider similar documents such as ACRL’s “Standards for Proficiencies for Instruction Librarians and Coordinators” and RUSA’s “Professional Competencies for Reference and User Services Librarians;” outline an approach to assist individuals and organizations in selecting the proficiencies most appropriate for their environment; and follow the standards development requirements in the ACRL Guide to Policies and Procedures.

2. We are preparing a poster campaign with posters that can be customized by any institution. Posters provide examples of the research that demonstrates library value, citing studies from the literature in higher education.

3. The first cohort of Assessment in Action participants presented posters at ALA Annual, and this fall ACRL will release their project descriptions as well as a paper synthesizing results of the first year of the program. The second cohort has begun its work, and those interested in participating in the third year of Assessment in Action should look for applications available in January 2015.

Thanks to those who attended the session, and especially to those who shared their experiences with Assessment in Action. If you missed the session, please see the slides below!

ACRL VAL Update, 2014 Annual, LasVegas



Assessment in Action LogoToday’s academic librarians are connecting with campus partners in new and exciting ways to explore and express the value they bring to their institutions. As the higher education association for librarians, ACRL is committed to facilitating ways in which academic libraries can demonstrate their impact on institutional outcomes and student success. The “Assessment in Action: Academic Libraries and Student Success” (AiA) program, a cornerstone of ACRL’s Value of Academic Libraries initiative, provides guidance in developing the skills and capacity for campus leadership, including local data-informed and evidence-based advocacy, needed to foster these partnerships across the higher education community. Learn more about AiA during an online open forum at 1pm Central on Monday, December 9, 2013.

The three-year AiA program is aiding 300 postsecondary institutions of all types as they create engaged libraries of the future. Each selected institution has a team with a librarian and at least two people from other campus units, such as the assessment and institutional research offices along with academic departments. The librarians participate in a formal 14-month professional development program and lead their campus teams in developing and implementing action-learning projects. The projects investigate library impact and consider different aspects of the academic library (e.g., collections, space, instruction, reference, etc.) and must ultimately be tied to student learning or success.

Join AiA facilitator Lisa Hinchliffe and staff manager Kara Malenfant for this hour-long online open forum as they provide background on AiA, report on the assessment work of the first 75 institutions, and give details on how your institution can apply to be one of 100 additional participant teams starting the second year of the program in April 2014. Sign up now and invite others on campus who would be your potential team members to join you and participate in the forum together. The session is limited to 500 participants on a first-come, first-served basis, and there is no charge to participate. A recording of the forum will be posted on the ACRL website.

The online application for the second year of AiA will be available in mid-January 2014 and due in early March 2014. The AiA program, being undertaking in partnership with the Association for Institutional Research and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, is made possible with funding from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services.

© 2014 ACRL Value of Academic Libraries Suffusion theme by Sayontan Sinha