Academic Library Value: The Impact Starter Kit

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It’s up to you to measure the value of your academic library and how it delivers on your institution’s goals. The question is how to do it efficiently and effectively. This resource from Megan Oakleaf, who wrote a benchmark 2010 ACRL report on library value, will help you apply value and impact concepts to your own library. It includes 52 activities designed as part of professional development workshops and in consultation with libraries. By using this book, you’ll learn how to identify your stakeholders, listen to them, take new approaches to addressing value, and ultimately position your library as an increasingly valued asset. The activities inside will guide you through such key issues as

  • stakeholder views of library servicescapes;
  • institutional communications audit;
  • assessment fears, challenges, and barriers;
  • impact on student retention;
  • involving the entire library organization; and
  • reporting the results.

This kit will help academic libraries measure their existing value while also identifying ways to increase their value in the context of their institutional missions.

How to Use this Book


Activity #1: Institutional Focus Areas



Activity #2: Stakeholders as the Heart of the Institution
Activity #3: Stakeholder Role Play
Activity #4: Stakeholder Questions
Activity #5: Stakeholder Card Sort
Activity #6: Stakeholder Help Study
Activity #7: Stakeholder Views of Library Servicescapes
Activity #8: Institutional Communications Audit
Activity #9: Institutional Program Review & Accreditation Audit
Activity #10: Institutional Learning Outcomes Audit
Activity #11: Higher Education Assessment Initiatives Audit




Activity #12: Library Data Audit
Activity #13: Time Audit
Activity #14: Self Audit
Activity #15: Job Task Audit
Activity #16: Job Description Audit
Activity #17: Committee Audit
Activity #18: Management Audit
Activity #19: Skill Audit
Activity #20: Professional Development Plan
Activity #21: Planning for Organizational Change
Activity #22: Planning Timeline for Change
Activity #23: Assessment Questions for Prospective Library Hires
Activity #24: To Assess or Not to Assess?
Activity #25: Assessment Fears, Challenges, & Barriers




Activity #26: Library Impact Map
Activity #27: Present and Future Library Impact
Activity #28: Passive-to-Active Impact
Activity #29: Impact Vision Creation
Activity #30: Impact on Student Learning Outcomes
Activity #31: Impact on Student Retention
Activity #32: Impact on Faculty Productivity
Activity #33: Impact on Institutional Efficiency
Activity #34: Impact on Institutional Prestige & Brand
Activity #35: Thinking Impact Through
Activity #36: Keeping Impact Simple




Activity #37: Planning for Assessment
Activity #38: Gathering Library Impact Literature
Activity #39: Engaging the Assessment Cycle
Activity #40: Preparing a Continuous Assessment Timeline
Activity #41: Involving the Entire Library Organization
Activity #42: Approaching Institutional Research Collaborations
Activity #43: Approaching Human Subjects Research
Activity #44: Selecting Assessment Tools
Activity #45: Choosing Assessment or Research
Activity #46: Planning Partnerships
Activity #47: Considering Assessment Management Systems




Activity #48: Reporting Results
Activity #49: Managing the Message
Activity #50: Transforming Library Fact Sheets
Activity #51: Closing the Loop
Activity #52: Articulating the Institutional Value of the Library


Megan Oakleaf

Megan Oakleaf is an Associate Professor in the Syracuse University iSchool. The author of ACRL’s Value of Academic Libraries Comprehensive Review and Report, she has published in several library and information science journals including College and Research Libraries, Portal, JASIST, and Journal of Documentation. She has presented at numerous conferences, including ALA, ACRL, AAC&U, and AALHE national conferences, the Library Assessment Conference, the IUPUI Assessment Institute, and EDUCAUSE. She won the 2011 Ilene Rockman Publication of the Year award, was included in the LIRT Top 20 Instruction Articles five times, earned Best Paper recognition at the 2007 EBLIP conference, and was awarded the 2014 Jeffrey Katzer Teacher of the Year award. Her research areas include library value, learning analytics, rubric assessment, and information literacy instruction.

”I was struck by how useful this workbook could be if the activities were shared among colleagues within an institution to allow for more thorough assessment. Many of the activities can be completed by library workers who do not have access
to internal data, instead allowing them to draw from their personal experiences and observations."
— Catholic Library World

”Apart from being an auditing tool, this book can very easily be used for professional development both through group and individual work ... This starter kit is comprehensive, well researched and designed, and may be prove to be an effective tool to start the arduous but necessary process of evaluating the effectiveness of and value of academic libraries."
— Journal of the Australian Library and Information Association