ALA Panel: Comparison of European and American Assessment Practices

The ALA International Relations Committee sponsored a program at ALA in Anaheim that was closely related to the Value project: “How to Prove Our Relevance: A Comparison of European and American Assessment Practices.” Speakers included David Pattern from the University of Huddersfield (England), Simone Fuhles-Ubach from Cologne University of Applied Sciences (Germany), and Steve Hiller from University of Washington (USA).

Both European librarians described assessment projects — The German Library Index (BIX) and the Library Impact Data Project (LIDP) — and Steve Hiller from UW provided a comparative analysis. In summary, BIX began as a benchmarking project for public libraries in 1999 and included academic libraries starting in 2002. The project makes an annual comparison of libraries across the country with a balanced scorecard tool. The Library Impact Data Project¬†aims to prove a statistically significant correlation between library usage and student attainment and involves eight higher education institutions.

For those interested in the ACRL Value report and activities, I think the Library Impact Data Project is particularly interesting because it has put in motion several aspects of the research agenda we’ve discussed here on the blog and in related summits and meetings. Visits to the library, materials checked out, and time spent using online library resources have all been correlated to student attainment (graduation, grades, honors, etc.) and use of library resources seems to have an impact on attainment. The methodology and the results for this project are really interesting. Check out the LIDP website for more information, presentations, and publications.