Tuesday, October 30, 2012

CLIC's Year of Assessment

The following post is submitted by guest blogger, Dan Gjelten, CLIC Board Chair and Director of the University of St. Thomas Libraries, and summarizes his presentation at CLIC's Kick-off Program on October 26.

The CLIC libraries’ year of assessment activities take place in the context of a national discussion on the value of higher education.  Though there is plenty of evidence that a college degree leads to better chances of employment and a higher income, perhaps the most important value of higher education is in the way in which it changes the way graduates think and act for the rest of their lives, thought even that assertion is under scrutiny.  Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa’s Academically Adrift, Limited Learning on College Campuses  (U of Chicago, 2011) concludes that:

"Specifically, while others have applied the metaphor of a river to the journey through college of today’s students, our findings call attention to the fact that many undergraduate students are academically adrift on contemporary campuses.  Educational reform requires improved measurement and understanding of the processes and factors associate with student learning.  In an increasingly globalized competitive economy, the consequences of policy inattention are profound.  Regardless of economic competitiveness, the future of a democratic society depends upon educating a generation of young adults who can think critically, reason deeply, and communicate effectively.  Only with the individual mastery of such competencies can today’s complex and competitive world be successfully understood and navigated by the next generation of college graduates."

Those words “think critically, reason deeply and communicate effectively” remind me of UST’s mission statement: “The University of St. Thomas educates students to be morally responsible leaders who think critically, act wisely and work skillfully to advance the common good.” 

What we want to talk about today is the way that we can measure how well we in the libraries are supporting these higher goals of our institutions.   Traditionally, we’ve measured our quality and value by counting things – books, computers, chairs, librarians, classes, gate clicks - but moving forward, we think we (as well as the whole university) will be better served by trying to measure the outcomes of our work. That is, how did we change the lives of our students, how are they more effective as graduates, as citizens, as employees and employers, as consumers, because of what the library has done.

I feel strongly that what we do in the libraries is very important, and  I’ve got some data that suggests that what we teach students is considered by them, in retrospect, at least, to be among the most important things that they learn in college.  The University of Washington regularly surveys its graduates and asks them to identify the most important skills out of a list of 17.  I’ve ranked the skills that they identify as “Essential” and “Very important.”  In every survey I’ve looked at the following are at the top of the list:
  1. Defining and solving problems
  2. Locating information needed to make decisions or solve problems
  3. Working/learning independently
  4. Working effectively with modern technology
  5. Speaking effectively
  6. Critically analyzing written information (April, 2009)
I would suggest that most of those skills are ones that the library, in collaboration with teaching faculty, can provide to students.

The ACRL has recently taken two major steps towards developing an agenda for the measurement of library effectiveness.  The publishing of revised standards for academic libraries in 2011 takes very seriously these new kinds of assessment measures.  Under the rubric of “Institutional Effectiveness” ACRL defines outcomes as ‘the ways in which library users are changed as a result of their contact with the library’s resources and programs.’”  Examples include:  “The library develops outcomes that are aligned with institutional, departmental, a d student affairs outcomes;” The library contributes to student recruitment, retention, time to degree, and academic success;” and “The library articulates how it contributes to student learning, collects evidence, documents successes, shares results and makes improvements.”

The Value of Academic Libraries, published in the fall of 2010 and authored by Megan Oakleaf (Syracuse University), describes the current state of assessment in academic libraries and provides a long list of next steps and recommendations for libraries. We are very lucky in CLIC to have Terri Fishel as a member of the Value of Academic Libraries committee.

The Value of Academic Libraries suggests many ways to measure library value including trying to connect library programs to student academic achievement in the ways that Huddersfield University in England and at the U of MN Libraries have done – or connecting library collections and services to faculty research productivity, grant application success, institutional prestige, even graduate employment. 

This assessment and measurement process is not about “proving” value, or “looking valuable” but increasing value and being valuable. It is not about justifying our existence; it is about insuring that we continue to remain central to the academic mission of the institution.

Most of us will probably not be able to devote any single person just to assessment (as in the library which advertised for the position of “Impact Evaluation Specialist”) but will expect all staff to participate in one way or another in our assessment activities, and our activities in CLIC this year are aimed at learning from each other and raising our skills in the area of measuring library effectiveness.

CLIC Year of Assessment Kick-off Program

On October 26, CLIC hosted "A View from the Field: Overview of Recent Assessment Activities in CLIC Libraries," a kick-off program for CLIC's Year of Assessment. More than forty attended to hear speakers from CLIC libraries discuss their recent assessment activities.  

To see the agenda, with links to the speakers' presentations, handout, and resources, see the Kick-Off web page. To see more photos, please visit CLIC's Facebook page. Over the next few weeks, some of the presenters will guest-blog on CLIC News to post summaries of their presentations. Stay tuned!

Another feature of the Kick-off program was to gather input from attendees on their preferences for topics for the series of CLIC mini-workshops slated for early 2013.  We are using their input to develop a survey which will go out to the CLIC membership later this week.  

CLIC Assessment Workshop Series Schedule:

Friday, January 18, 2013, 9:00 a.m.-12:00 noon, Assessment Mini-workshop: Andrea Koeppe (UST) and Ginny Heinrich (Macalester) will present a program summarizing what they learned at ACRL Information Literacy Immersion Program Assessment Track; Location: Hall of Fame Room, Macalester College
Wednesday, February 20, 2013 1:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m., Assessment mini-workshop: topics and location TBA
Wednesday, April 3, 2013, 1:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m., Assessment mini-workshop: topics and location TBA
Wednesday, May 1, 2013, 9:00 a.m.-12:00 noon, Assessment mini-workshop: topics and location TBA
Tuesday, June 4, 2013, 9:00 a.m.-3:30 p.m., CLIC-wide Assessment Conference: The Value of Academic Libraries, Presenter: Megan Oakleaf of ACRL and Syracuse University; Location: TBA

Monday, October 29, 2012

Call for Nominations: CLIC 2012 Awards

The CLIC Executive Committee would like to receive your nominations for CLIC’s two annual awards for 2011-12: User Service Award and Group Effectiveness Award. When you submit a nomination, please indicate the reasons that the individual or group is deserving of the award.

The User Service Award is presented to an individual within CLIC who has done the most to improve service to users during the past year.

The Group Effectiveness Award is presented to a group within CLIC which has best exemplified group action for the benefit of CLIC and its mission.

For a list of past winners, please see: http://clic.edu/newclic/dir/awards/pastaward.asp

Please email your nominations to Maureen.fitzgerald@clic.edu no later than Monday, November 26, 2012.

Friday, October 26, 2012

CLIC Libraries Represented at MNIUG

Several staff from CLIC member libraries presented at the MNIUG Conference at St. Olaf on October 23.

Nathan Wunrow and Kate Burke, both from University of St. Thomas, presented "Mobile Libraries: Beyond the plaster / tear down this wall!" The UST Library has reinterpreted the traditional concept of library as "place" by bringing samples of its collection and services to the many social environments of the University community.  The presenters outlined their experience and observations, and they motivated the audience to consider alternative interpretations of library as "place."

Angi Faiks, MaryLou Steiner, and Jack Davidsen, all from Macalester College, presented "Ready for Shelf Ready?" Macalester's DeWitt Wallace Library is in the midst of a pilot project to test complete automation of their acquisition workflow with Ingram from request to the shelf, including order submission to acquisitions, invoicing, cataloging, and physical processing.  The pilot involves coordination between Macalester, Ingram, OCLC, and CLIC to ensure smooth and accurate automated delivery and processing of shelf-ready materials.

Linda Hulbert from University of St. Thomas, Dixie Ohlander from Augsburg College, Earleen Warner from Bethel University, Emily Asch from St. Catherine University, Jennifer Carlson from Concordia University, and Paddy Salzer from University of St. Thomas participated in a panel presentation, "CLICtrek: The Next GENeration: a Consortial Odyssey."  The presenters, who are all members of CLIC's ILS Task Force, discussed their evaluation of eight "next-gen" library systems and the process they used to narrow the field to three contenders.  It was an odyssey!

Congratulations to all presenters for their programs at MNIUG!

Monday, October 15, 2012

REMINDER: Session proposals for the 2013 Library Technology Conference still being accepted

Library Technology Conference 2013
Macalester College - St. Paul, MN

The Library Technology Conference has already received many great session proposals on a wide variety of topics - but there is still room for your proposal. The call for proposal deadline is just a couple of weeks away. Submit your session proposal today!
Call For Proposals – Deadline October 26, 2012
The 6th Annual Library Technology Conference will be held March 20-21, 2013 on the campus of Macalester College in St. Paul, MN, and the planning committee invites you to submit your session proposal ideas. We're looking for session ideas about technology use in libraries that challenge, entertain, and inspire discussion. We encourage proposal submissions from public, school, or special libraries as well as academic libraries.
The Library Technology Conference is a conference that mixes keynotes, traditional lecture-style presentations, panel discussions, hands-on workshops, and poster sessions highlighting many of the technologies affecting how users interact with libraries, as well as how libraries are using technology to create new and better ways to manage their resources. The focus is on sessions that are interactive and which provide practical information that will allow participants to apply what they've learned at their own library.
Some possible session topic ideas might include:
  • Surviving in an increasingly mobile world
  • Cloud computing in libraries
  • Augmented reality
  • Working with vendors in a digital age
  • Digital Preservation
  • Institutional repositories
  • Impact of technology on copyright and intellectual property rights
  • Social networking for outreach and service promotion
  • Virtual research environments
  • Search engines / Information discovery
  • Web 3.0
  • Creating Library-specific apps
  • Technology and Information literacy
  • Electronic books
Please do not let this list of suggestions limit your imagination on session proposal topics. We are interested in hearing about how changes to established technologies are being made to meet the evolving needs of libraries and also about cutting edge projects that libraries are doing with technology. We want to hear about your successes as well as what you learned with your failures.
Proposal Submission Deadline: October 26, 2012

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Court ruling on HathiTrust case

This week, the U. S. District Court (SDNY) issued an Opinion & Order in the Authors Guild lawsuit against HathiTrust et al., finding that retention and use of millions of digital books for purposes of preservation, text search, and accessibility for the visually impaired were within the limits of fair use.

For a good analysis and discussion of the Judge's Opinion, see the following resources:

Kenneth Crews, Columbia University Libraries  http://copyright.columbia.edu/copyright/2012/10/11/court-rules-on-hathitrust-and-fair-use/

Nancy Sims, Copyright Program Librarian at the University of Minnesota Libraries http://blog.lib.umn.edu/copyrightlibn/2012/10/authors-guild-v-hathi-trust-a-win-for-copyrights-public-interest-purpose.html

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Help Create New ACRL “Assessment in Action” Learning Community

The Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) is seeking four smart, creative, and skilled individuals to help ACRL shape a unique set of learning experiences for campus-wide teams. Are you someone who believes in the power of peer-to-peer learning and communities of practice? Are you skilled as an instructional designer or teacher with a philosophy based in the positive power of experiential learning? Then you might be the person ACRL is looking for! Read the ACRLinsider post for details of the  project, the criteria, and how to apply.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Reference COI to Tour Hamline's New Student Center

On November 7, CLIC's Reference Community of Interest will hold their regular meeting at Hamline University's new Carol Young Anderson and Dennis L. Anderson Center.  Meet in the lobby at 1:00 p.m. for a tour of the new Center.

To prepare for the meeting, please read: "Active Learning in the Library Instruction Environment: An Exploratory Study," by Alanna Ross and Christine Furno. portal: Libraries and the Academy, ISSN 1531-2542, 2011, Volume 11, Issue 4, pp. 953 – 970. 

Monday, October 1, 2012

More News from Circulation

More news from Circ: Bethel University is opening their DVD, VHS, and CD collections to CLIC holds.