Minutes of May 15, 2002 Meeting

Ann Montanaro, Samson Soong, Addie Tallau, Farideh Tehrani, Ann Watkins

The preliminary report on the e-journal survey which we conducted in February has been available at the Assessment Committee web-site. Addie expanded our preliminary report by inserting cross-tabulations and figures that help shed more light on our findings. The Committee reviewed the expanded report which also includes additional tables and graphs Addie generated. Since the user responses to some questions have necessitated a large number of tables and cross-tabulations, the committee agreed to keep the narratives as the front part of the report and most of the tables and figures at the end to make it easier for readers of our report. Addie will pull together a final electronic version of the report which will replace the preliminary report currently at our web-site.

Ann Montanaro and Judy had not been able to find time to analyze the responses we obtained as a result of a follow-up survey on Ask-a-Librarian. But it will be done in the coming weeks and shared with the other committee members.

The membership of the Assessment Committee was briefly reviewed, as Addie will retire in June and Susan Beck will return in July. We agreed that it is necessary to have adequate representation for all major areas, collections, public services, technical services, human resources, etc. in which we do assessment work. It is also useful to include a member who will allow us to maintain close working relationship with SCC since we have been using the web-based survey platform developed by Ron Jantz and SCC staff to support our assessment work.

The database use statistics and other reports currently available at our web-site were also reviewed. We agreed to ask Sam McDonald to rearrange and better label them to make it easier for others to find a particular set of statistics or a survey report. Ann M. will talk to Sam M. and give him copies of database use statistics that are currently missing from our web-site.

To prepare for goal-setting for the coming year, the group first discussed aspects of our collection and services we are and should be most interested in assessing, the methods we have used that worked well and that worked poorly in particular kinds of assessment, and the challenges the committee faces in conducting effective assessment work. Potential areas for assessment suggested include effectiveness of our collections, efficiency of various library workflows, productiveness of library committee work and meetings (both system-wide and local), and adequacy of library space. As regard to the methods, in addition to surveys, the committee can conduct focus group interviews to collect relevant data and information for which we however need to develop better interview and other skills. One of the challenges the committee faces is to maintain adequate analytical skills and the ability to use tools such as SPSS. In addition, our assessment work is often hampered by not having sufficient help. It is very time consuming to compile database statistics which cannot be easily delegated to others.

Some possible goals the committee discussed include identifying a good, easy-to-use workflow assessment tool, developing recommendation for one or more processes to use the tool, developing or agreeing on a framework or criteria for assessing libraries in terms of desired service outcomes, recommending impact assessment for all new services introduced at the libraries, identifying and recommending areas, e.g. library organization, for board-based and systematic assessment. Based on these discussions, Samson will draft preliminary goal statements to be considered by the committee at its next meeting.

Our next meeting will be held on Wednesday, July 17, at 9:30 am.

URL: http://www.libraries.rutgers.edu/rul/staff/groups/assessment_com/minutes/assessment_02_05_15.shtml
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