Library Assessment Committee Strategic Plan

The Library Assessment Committee recognizes the increased importance of accountability in higher education today. Assessment data provides evidence that documents needs, and guides the implementation of change in research libraries.

The role of the Libraries Assessment Committee is to explore, identify, adopt, and apply effective measures that the Libraries can use to assess our operations and demonstrate our value. The results of our efforts will be used to improve our services, enhance our collections and develop our human resources.

We would like to encourage a culture of assessment within the library system. We want our colleagues to include an evaluation component in all their planning processes. We want all of the library's organizational groups to consider how they would measure their success and progress toward a goal. How would they communicate and celebrate the completion of a goal?

The Committee is validating the RULS Library Quality Excellence Indicators (Indicators) among our stakeholder groups (Faculty & Students; Librarians & Staff; University Administration; Alumni, and the State of New Jersey). Once validated, the Indicators will drive the library system's future assessment activities. These Indicators, which focus on the most critical library measures, will be reviewed and modified annually to reflect the library's changing priorities.

One important component of the Library Quality Excellence Indicators will be our participation in LibQual+. This survey is used to access and improve library services. The survey results will help library administrators spot trends in service quality and identify where scare resources need to be focused. We will be able, over time, to track the changes in our organization's service quality performance as we respond to the survey results and implement improvements. Not only will we be able to compare our own service performance over time, but we will also be able to compare ourselves nationally with other ARL libraries who participate in LibQual+.

Another important component of the Library Quality Excellence Indicators will be the administration of an Organizational Climate Inventory to help the libraries better understands our organizational climate.

As the importance of assessment and accountability increases both within the university and the library system, it is imperative that we develop expertise in various techniques of data collection and analysis, including focus groups and customer surveys, as well as analysis of computerized data files.

Assessment activities will require funding for survey administration, educational activities, incentives and data analysis.

The future well-being of libraries and librarianship is inescapably intertwined with outcomes assessment and accountability, as well as competition for diminishing resources. In everyday language, the library must be able effectively to tell real stories about its accomplishments without solely resorting to anecdote. Just as important, if libraries do not credibly assess themselves - the university administration will, often with limited understanding and lacking perspective.

Library Assessment Committee
     Susan Beck (chair)
     Judy Gardner
     Nancy Hendrickson
     Ann Montanaro
     Farideh Tehrani
     Ann Watkins

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