Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Value of Academic Libraries Summit White Paper

Value of Academic Libraries Summit White Paper

The Connect, Collaborate and Communicate is the report from the VAL's recent summit of "representatives from twenty-two post-secondary institutions, including senior librarians, chief academic administrators, and institutional researchers, for discussions about library impact."  Here's an excerpt from the blog entry that summarizes the key points (emphasis added):

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.

The audio presentation of this report was interesting, as well. Here are a few points that deserve some highlighting:

  • Megan relating a response from Charles Blaich to her summary of the VAL guidelines: "Assessment data and reports are not useful unless somebody does something with them..." and that following guidelines is "not enough if you're following the letter of the law but not the spirit of the law."
  • Megan pointing out what (emphasis added) "we, as librarians need to learn about assessment and research design, more about using data and evidence, and learn more about higher education assessment and accountability in general and the ways in which librarians fit into the larger picture, namely in the national dialogue on the value of higher education."
Megan mentioned the invitational meeting that will occur at the national ACRL conference, the purpose of which is to develop a research agenda on the VAL guidelines.  I'm looking forward to the release of this research agenda, because that could enable me to focus my research interests on issues that not only are relevant to the my library's issues, but also to the national dialogue of value of libraries in higher education (and thus, more opportunities for funding).

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