Library Assessment Conference
Building Effective, Sustainable, Practical Assessment
Brinley Franklin served as vice provost for university libraries at the University of Connecticut from 2005 to 2013 and as library director from 1999 to 2005. Throughout his career, he has advanced library assessment nationally and internationally. His leadership roles include chair of the ARL Statistics and Assessment Committee and service on the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) Academic Library Committee and the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) Statistics Advisory Committee. Brinley served as president of ARL in 2009–2010. He has conducted considerable research in the field of library administration and assessment, publishing more than 30 articles and book chapters, and he has strongly supported international efforts, conferences, and meetings in this field, acting as a role model, mentor, and thought leader. As co-developer of MINES for Libraries®, Brinley has brought a valid and reliable method for assessing electronic-resource usage to more than 50 North American libraries.
Fred Heath will retire in August 2014 as vice provost and director of the University of Texas Libraries, a position he has held since 2003. His career has been characterized by a search for understanding library service from the user perspective. While dean of libraries at Texas A&M University, Fred was the principal driver behind developing a pilot implementation of the SERVQUAL service quality model in the academic and research library community. That successful pilot quickly grew into the development of the LibQUAL+ program, funded through a multi-year grant to ARL from the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education. LibQUAL+ remains the only total-market survey in the academic library community allowing benchmarking against peer institutions over time. Through 2013, there have been 2,663 institutional surveys implemented across 1,295 institutions in over 29 countries, 21 language translations, and over 1.8 million respondents. Fred has published extensively on library service quality assessment and LibQUAL+, has served on the editorial boards of several library journals, and has held leadership roles with the Center for Research Libraries, Coalition for Networked Information, Digital Library Federation, and ARL, including a term as ARL president in 2003–2004.
Jim Self is also due to retire in August 2014, as director of library assessment at the University of Virginia (UVa) Library. He previously served as director of the Clemons Library at UVa and as head of the Undergraduate Library at Indiana University. Jim was instrumental in creating and building the assessment program at the UVa Library in the 1990s, one of the earliest library assessment programs in the country. He introduced the balanced scorecard at UVa in 2001, pioneering its development as a library assessment tool that reflects an organization’s goals and strategies; uses specific, measurable goals; and integrates diverse data into a single system. Through his work as a consultant and ARL visiting program officer, Jim has helped more than 40 academic libraries develop effective, sustainable, and practical assessment programs that demonstrate the libraries' contributions to teaching, learning, and research. However, it is his role as co-founder and co-chair of the Library Assessment Conference that has made him the face of library assessment for many people throughout the world.
Joan Stein now holds the position of principal librarian for assessment, marketing, and training, after 29 years as head of access services at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU). Throughout her career, Joan has been guided by understanding user needs and developing services—based on data and evidence—that provide real value to users. She has been among the earliest adopters of new methods to assess service quality. She has served on the editorial board of Performance Measurement and Metrics since 1998 and has chaired the American Library Association’s Library Research Round Table. Joan’s most significant contribution to library assessment has been her active participation in the Northumbria International Conference on Performance Measurement in Libraries and Information Centers, as a presenter, keynote speaker, and member of the editorial board. Her role as a host in helping to bring the Fourth Northumbria Conference to the United States in 2001 was a catalyst for developing the library assessment community in North America. Joan will retire from CMU in October 2014.
Karin De Jager — acceptance speech
Karin De Jager has been a teacher and researcher at the University of Cape Town and a pioneer in the field of library assessment and evaluation for more than twenty years, both in South Africa and internationally. In South Africa, her assessment work has included information literacy, research commons, information technology in libraries, a framework for assessing library quality, and working with public library staff to strengthen the role of libraries in the community. She was also active as a researcher, teacher, and mentor in the Carnegie Corporation-funded Research Libraries Consortium project. Internationally, Professor De Jager has a long history of active involvement in the Northumbria International Conferences on Performance Measurement in Libraries and International Services, and serves on the Board. She has participated in each of the biennial Library Assessment Conference meetings, and is a productive member of the International Standards Organisation Working Group, which is developing a standard on the impact of libraries. As a researcher, teacher, and mentor she has always emphasized assessment and evaluation that has practical applications to improve library services.
Sam Kalb has been the Assessment Coordinator at Queen's University in Ontario, Canada. He has also worked over the last ten years to expand assessment to the national scale in Canada as the coordinator of the LibQUAL+® Canada consortium, a role he undertook on behalf of the Canadian Association of Research Libraries. Sam has played a leadership role in assessment in research libraries by developing the LibQUAL+® Canada consortium in 2007 and 2010, organizing Canadian assessment workshops, conducting a study to compare the LibQUAL+® and LibQUAL+® Lite survey instruments, and provided ongoing advice and support to colleagues across more than 60 academic libraries. Sam has been active in ARL initiatives, serving on the Library Assessment Conference 2010 Planning Committee and the Ad Hoc Task Force for Best Practices in Counting Serials, and contributing to the ARL E-Metrics Project. He shared his knowledge in library assessment broadly through numerous publications and presentations.
In his 50 year career as a consultant, Don King has developed methods to determine return on investment (ROI) and value of libraries, written hundreds of articles, reports, and books that explain these findings and methods, and taught librarians how to conduct value assessments. As one of the nominees stated, “A resume of over 47 pages identifies publications of 17 monographs and over 400 articles, with notable evidence of impact through high levels of citational references by others.” Highlights of his long and distinguished career in assessment include leading two statewide assessments and a national survey of public library users to determine the value and ROI of public libraries, studying the value and contribution of information services in corporate and government settings, and leading national surveys of the value of scholarly readings and libraries to researchers in academic and other settings. His refinement of the critical incident and contingent valuation techniques in library assessment have influenced a generation of librarians and researchers. Don has been recognized by many organizations and has received Special Recognition from the Special Libraries Association and the Research Award and Award of Merit from the American Society for Information Science & Technology. He continues in his retirement to undertake research in specific venues and to be generous in consulting and assisting others to undertake their own assessments.
Joan Rapp served as Executive Director of Libraries at the University of Cape Town from 1998 until 2011. Prior to coming to coming to UCT, she held senior positions in several American university libraries and had an “optimistic, grounded” view of library assessment. She believed that libraries could know their environment well enough to align performance with it, and could integrate assessment results into their work of implementing relevant change. Joan immediately set out to develop a framework and culture of quality assurance, using internationally developed measures. In 2005, she took the lead in bringing LibQUAL+® to the libraries of South Africa. Two years later, UCT participated in the ARL consulting project “Effective, Sustainable, Practical Assessment.” In 2008, the university awarded Joan its prestigious Vice-Chancellor’s Medal. She has spent the last year completing the Carnegie Corporation-funded Research Libraries Consortium project, a grant to six South African universities to better support graduate research.
Gordon Fretwell — introductory speech
Gordon Fretwell contributed to, and led, many ARL assessment efforts prior to his retirement from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. For 16 years he was the editor of the ARL Annual Salary Survey. In 2002, he was a Visiting Program Officer working to collect and analyze e-metrics data recommended from the ARL E-Metrics project. Most recently his research paper presented in 2008 in Seattle on the LibQUAL+® comments informed the design of the new LibQUAL+® platform launched in 2010. Fretwell served in the past and has been recruited again to serve as consultant to the ARL Statistics and Assessment Committee. As Jay Shafer, director of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, library observed: “Gordon has a keen and careful eye for reporting and reviewing data. He interprets data with a perceptive mind; his astute observations bring the story in the data to life. Gordon challenges us all to do our best and maintain the highest standards of integrity.”
Dr. Roswitha Poll was chief librarian of Münster University Library from 1987 to her retirement in 2004. She still chairs the committee “Quality—Statistics and Performance Evaluation“ and the working groups for “International library statistics,” “Statistical data for library buildings,” and “Methods for assessing impact of libraries” within ISO (International Organization of Standardization). She has contributed substantially to the evaluation of libraries and information systems. Her publications deal with measures for the quality, costs, and outcome of library services. In 2007, she published the second revised edition of the handbook on performance measurement in libraries, “Measuring Quality,” together with Peter te Boekhorst. She has been a major proponent of the Balanced Scorecard approach to assessment. She also serves on the editorial boards of the Northumbria International Conference on Performance Measurement in Libraries and Information Services and of several journals. She has been a keynote speaker at innumerable international conferences on library assessment.
Kendon Stubbs — introductory speech
During his 43-year career at the University of Virginia Library, Kendon Stubbs became the leading authority on defining the size of, and measuring the services provided by, academic research libraries. He is the father of the ARL Index methodology originally suggested in the report he authored, The ARL Library Index and Quantitative Relationships in the ARL. Later, Stubbs applied these methods to the historical ARL data in Cumulated ARL University Library Statistics 1962–63 through 1978–79, and to more than 3,000 academic libraries in the Association of College and Research Libraries publication Quantitative Criteria for Academic Research Libraries. All of these works are monuments in the field of library science, characterized by Stubbs’s desire to remove what he called “ineluctable fuzziness” from the process of defining research library criteria. Stubbs later turned his critical eye onto those who would use his statistical methods incorrectly, such as in the Journal of Academic Librarianship article “Apples and Oranges and ARL Statistics,” and pieces like “Lies, Damned Lies... and ARL Statistics?” and “Remembrance of Things Past, Present … and Future?” (the latter with Ann Okerson). Stubbs has given us statistics with a human face.
Amos Lakos and Shelley Phipps led the groundbreaking effort to articulate the critical role that organizational culture plays in library performance and assessment. Working together for the past decade—Lakos at the University of Waterloo Library and later UCLA Library and Phipps at the University of Arizona Library—they defined and promoted a “culture of assessment” within libraries, which ultimately expanded the concepts and practices of performance measurement beyond metrics. In their seminal article “Creating a Culture of Assessment: A Catalyst for Organizational Change” (portal: Libraries and the Academy, July 2004), they counseled: “Assessment should become part of the everyday work process. It needs to become part of the decision-making loop in the organization, a normal part of evaluating internal processes…. If we are to create a culture of assessment, an amalgam of committed leadership, repeated articulation of purpose and external focus, time for group learning, and the creation of supportive organizational systems must be deliberately developed. Without this amalgam there is little chance of achieving true culture change, and there is a high probability of becoming irrelevant and unable to communicate the value and the worth of libraries in the information society.” The now-universal acknowledgement that a culture of assessment is integral to effective, sustainable, and practical library assessment is due largely to the contributions of Lakos and Phipps.
Duane Webster played a vital role in making library assessment an integral part of the 21st-century library. As ARL Executive Director, he had the vision to grow the capability of the ARL Statistics & Measurement program. He understood early on that, in an age of accountability, libraries would need to provide data explaining their worth to their parent institutions and to society. In his welcoming remarks at the 2006 Library Assessment Conference in Charlottesville, Virginia, Webster defined assessment “as a means of articulating the value that libraries add to a research institution. By doing so, we demonstrate accountability for investing in the library to provide effective services, to steward the resources entrusted to us, and to chart new library roles in support of…education and research.” He also committed the Association to finding “new measures” of the library’s value and he actively supported the development of a suite of assessment tools.