Academic Library Contributions to Student Success: Documented Practices from the FieldACRL has released a new report “Academic Library Contributions to Student Success: Documented Practices from the Field” which synthesizes results from over 70 higher education institutions from across North America which recently completed team-based assessment projects. These projects, from the first year of Assessment in Action: Academic Libraries and Student Success (AiA), resulted in promising and effective approaches to demonstrating the library’s value to students’ academic success.

The findings from the assessment work of the first cohort of campus teams are impressive. By demonstrating the variety of ways that libraries contribute to student learning and success, academic librarians are establishing connections between such academic success outcomes as student retention, persistence, GPA, engagement, graduation, career preparedness, and different aspects of the library (e.g., instruction, reference, space and facilities, and collections).

Many of the projects are replicable at other academic libraries or contain elements that can be adapted to a college or university’s unique institutional context. Libraries can learn about ideas and strategies that promote evidence-based demonstrations of an academic library’s contributions to student learning and success through the wide variety of projects. Find out more:

AiA is a three-year project sponsored by the ACRL in partnership with the Association of Institutional Research and the Association of Public Land-grant Universities, and with funding from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services. When the project concludes in 2016, over 200 higher education institutions will have participated in developing assessment methods and tools.

Interested in participating in the next round of Assessment in Action? ACRL is seeking applications from all types of higher education institutions for 125 additional teams. Apply by March 4, 2015, to participate in the third year of the program, April 2015-June 2016.


Submitted by Debbie Malone, VAL Committee member: This blog post is one in a series of posts discussing the library value work being done by the ACRL Liaisons to non-library higher education organizations. We welcome Moriana Garcia, Denison University Libraries, who is ACRL liaison to the Association for Information Science & Technology (ASIS&T).

I am the current ACRL-STS (Association of College and Research Libraries-Science and Technology Section) Liaison to ASIS&T (Association for Information Science & Technology), in the second year of my appointment. ASIS&T is an international organization for information professionals seeking to advance the information sciences and related applications. It was funded in 1937 and includes members from 50 different countries. This organization leads the search for theories and technologies to improve access to information by bringing together information science researchers and practitioners interested in solving common problems.

I have been a member of ASIS&T since 2008. I was first involved with my local chapter (Central Ohio-ASIS&T), and later moved to national appointments. I chaired the Special Interest Group – Scientific and Technical Information (SIG-STI) in 2012 and was elected Advisor to the ASIS&T SIG Cabinet Steering Committee –which coordinates all Special Interest Groups’ activities– in 2013. My leadership trajectory within ASIS&T has provided me with a strong platform from where to exercise my role as ACRL-STS Liaison to the organization.

In the last decade, ASIS&T has become the main venue for faculty and graduate students from Library and Information Science programs worldwide to discuss their research. Library and corporate practitioners, on the other hand, have become a minority. This shift in membership has made the ASIS&T meeting programs heavy on theoretical research but light on practical applications. However, the current ASIS&T leadership is truly invested in bringing back practitioners to the organization, as shown with the new conference focus on “Applied Research” added to the 2015 ASIS&T Meeting Program.

Becoming a Liaison to ASIS&T gave me an excellent opportunity to support the participation of academic librarians within the association. As part of my strategy, I organized a panel for the 2014 ASIS&T Annual Meeting (October 31-November 4, Seattle, WA) titled 3D Technologies: New Tools for Information Scientists to Engage, Educate and Empower Communities. This panel, sponsored by SIG-STI, included an array of public and academic librarians, information science researchers and museum practitioners, who discussed their experience working with three-dimensional (3D) technologies. Our main goal was to provide a broad understanding of the applications of 3D printing, scanning and design in libraries and museums, and how these technologies could be used to educate and empower local communities. By bringing together library practitioners and researchers, the panel modelled a truly effective partnership between both communities.

Another goal of the panel was to show examples of state-of-the-art services currently offered in libraries. By describing new academic collaborations among librarians, faculty, and students, achieved through the use of 3D technologies, the panel drew attention to our role in enhancing student learning. It also highlighted the transformative value that access to these innovative technologies brings to higher education. The panel was well received, gathering positive comments on the Twitter-verse. Most attendants assessed the panel as informative and relevant.

As an outcome of this panel, I am currently editing, in collaboration with Tod Colegrove (one of the panelists and ACRL-STS member), a special issue of the ASIS&T Bulletin dedicated to 3D technologies, to be published next Fall (2015). The Bulletin is a magazine directed to practitioners that shares news about the organization and topic-focused articles. With this special issue, we expect to support the scholarship efforts of our fellow panelists and other librarians/researchers working on the field.

In addition to being a panel moderator at the 2014 ASIS&T Meeting, I participated in the SIG Cabinet meeting, the SIG-STI Planning meeting and the ASIS&T Business meeting. Being an active member in the governance structure of ASIS&T keeps me abreast of the important challenges faced by our organization and the strategies implemented for their solution. It also allows me to remain visible and engaged with officers and administrators, expanding my professional network.

I also took part on a focus group organized by the ASIS&T Strategic Planning Team, one of the major initiatives of the new ASIS&T President-Elect. The focus group consisted of practitioners with 6 or more years of ASIS&T membership, who were invited to share their vision for the future of the association. The focus group was an ideal place to advocate for further engagement between theoreticians and librarians, and to argue that our experience working directly with users could and should inform research. Although the theoretical depth and intellectual richness of ASIS&T programs is what attracts many librarians to the organization, our participation in professional development events that do not generate an immediate outcome has become more difficult to justify lately. Supporting initiatives that foster collaboration among the different communities at ASIS&T is one of the strategies that might help with the retention of current practitioners, and the recruitment of new ones to the association.

Several programs presented at the 2014 ASIS&T Meeting captured my attention. The main keynote speaker was Kris Kutchera (Vice President of Information Technology and Strategy Management at Alaska Air Group). Her presentation focused on how innovation, which depends on sustained investment in people and technology, drives high performance results for companies. She described the difficulties of attracting talented information technology candidates, advocating for more STEM education initiatives at the Primary School level. The second keynote speaker was Alessandro Acquisti (Associate Professor of Information Technology and Public Policy at Carnegie Mellon University). His lecture addressed privacy in the age of augmented reality, describing how commercial companies influence our online decision making, and revealing deeper links between privacy and security. He gave some examples on how interested parties exploring “big data” practices can obtain inferable sensitive information from anonymous information on social networking sites.

Another series of papers during the ASIS&T 2014 Meeting explored the social role of documents, showing, for example, how printed encyclopedias were used in the past as tools for identity construction and the placement of external memories, and how those emotional components have changed with online versions like Wikipedia. Data preservation and management was also a popular topic during the meeting, with several programs focused on the subject. More information is available in the online Proceedings

My latest initiative as Liaison is to organize for the coming year a webinar on Electronic Lab Notebooks co-sponsored by ASIS&T SIG-STI and the ACRL-STS Hot Topics Discussion Group. The webinar will be presented by Kristin Bogdan, Science and Social Science Data Librarian at Yale University. It will use the ASIS&T Webinar platform, where it will remain archived and publicly available.

I am truly committed to my role as ACRL-STS Liaison to ASIS&T and to the promotion of library practitioners as valuable professionals in the information science arena. As a result of my efforts, I hope to see more programs targeted to librarians in future ASIS&T meetings, and to strengthen the connection between both organizations.

Moriana L. M. Garcia, Natural Sciences Liaison Librarian, Denison University Libraries.


Assessment in Action LogoACRL is seeking applications from all types of higher education institutions for 125 teams to participate in the third year of “Assessment in Action: Academic Libraries and Student Success (AiA),” made possible by the Institute of Museum and Library Services and described on the ACRL website.

Librarians will each lead a campus team in developing and implementing an action-learning project which examines the impact of the library on student success and contributes to assessment activities on campus. They will be supported in this work by a professional development program with sequenced learning events and activities at key junctures. AiA employs a blended learning environment and a peer-to-peer community of practice over the course of the 14-month long program, which runs from April 2015-June 2016. The AiA program, undertaken by ACRL in partnership with the Association for Institutional Research and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, is a cornerstone of ACRL’s Value of Academic Libraries initiative.

In order to apply, each prospective institution must identify a team consisting of a librarian team leader and at least two additional team members from other campus units (e.g., faculty member, student affairs representative, institutional researcher, or academic administrator). The application requires two essays — the first describes the team’s project goals and the second describes the goals of the librarian team leader — and statements of support from the library dean/director and campus chief academic officer. There is a registration fee of $1,200 for participating in the third year of the AiA program. For the first two years, the IMLS grant covered the majority of the costs for developing and delivering the AiA program; in the third year, the grant will subsidize only part of the costs.

Read full details about participating in the third year and apply online by 5 p.m. Central, Wednesday, March 4, 2015. There will be an online forum in February (date TBA) where you can learn more. Or attend the session Update on ACRL’s Value of Academic Libraries Initiative to be held from 1:00 — 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, February 1, 2015, during the ALA Midwinter Meeting in Chicago.

Contact ACRL Senior Strategist for Special Initiatives Kara Malenfant with questions.

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