Professional Development

Library value, directions and impact

Thursday, January 6, 2011 1:10 pm

My first two days in San Diego were spent at the ALISE conference. ALISE focuses on librarianship, education, and research. The opening session focused on the changing needs of the profession and the impact on LIS education. In fact this seems to be an ongoing theme, how librarians continue to prepare themselves for new challenges and opportunities.

I had the chance to connect with some of my friend from UNC (go heels!) and USC (go cocks!) during poster sessions and conference breaks. One of the most interesting sessions I attended was on ARL research on the value of academic libraries. The presenters asked some vey compelling questions including how libraries get to assessing value from the perspective of students and patrons as opposed to measuring activities and attendance.

The discussion around this got to a key issue about the lack of research data or methods to libraries get to value or impact focused assessments. It was suggested that the lack of this type of data is an impediment to the ongoing centrality of the library to the academic experience. This topic really connected with my experience at the Peabody leadership institute a few years ago that focused on the role and value of libraries in the academic world.

Interested? The report is at the ARL site

More to come this afternoon and Friday morning and then it is back downtown to go to ALA Midwinter

2 Responses to “Library value, directions and impact”

  1. Assessing value as perceived by the decision-making stakeholders is important also. The ARL report talks about the importance of looking at and measuring such things as impact on student retention, graduation rates, faculty recruitment and achievement, overall institution reputation and prestige. LibQual + shows, at some level, what students and faculty think about us. But we need to communicate our value to the stakeholders that control the budget allocations. I guess you can tell this is an interesting topic to me :-)

  2. We SHOULD measure impact and the desirability of services instead of measuring activities. But finding out exactly what the impact of our services is on things like retention is so hard because there are so many variables. And because so much of what we’d need to know to determine effectiveness is masked from us.

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