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Justifying the Library - Using Assessment to Justify Library Investments

Virtual Conference

About This Virtual Conference

When resources are tight, it is important that everyone is able to justify the role we serve in accomplishing an institutional mission. One approach to relating the story of this value is to use data in support of that narrative.

This virtual conference will examine the many ways in which an institution can show its value and the data that can be used in support of that argument.  This might include usage statistics, patron activity, use of patron tools that support their work, traditional circulation data, or ethnographic study.

Event Sessions

11:00 a.m. - 11:10 a.m. Welcome and Introduction


11:10 a.m. - 11:45 a.m. -- Why Library Assessment? A Look at Current Practices


Steven Bell

Associate University Librarian
Temple University

Nancy Turner

Assessment and Organizational Performance Librarian
Temple University

Higher education institutions are increasingly held accountable for demonstrating value, contributing to student success,  providing support for faculty teaching and research, and enhancing institutional reputation.   Academic librarians can contribute to that mission by paying more attention to what is being assessed and how that activity is conducted. In this session the presenters will make a case for why academic librarians should practice assessment, the promises and pitfalls of investing in an assessment culture, the data needed to successfully make a case for library investments and how a dedicated assessment position or unit within the academic library can make the difference.

11:45 a.m. - 12:15 p.m. -- Why is this Assessment Different from All Others? Assessment of Archives & Special Collections


Archival assessment enables data-driven decision making, fosters workplace transparency, and promotes enhanced and effective access to collections and services.  Using the experiences gained during a year-long user survey at Columbia’s Rare Book & Manuscript Library this presentation will discuss how evaluating information gathered from users, collections, and discovery tools can improve both professional practice and user experience.

12:15 p.m. - 12:45 p.m. -- Leveraging and interpreting library assessment data - pulling the wheat from the chaff


Elizabeth Brown

Director of Assessment and Scholarly Communication
SUNY - Binghamton

Assessment data can be collected from a multitude of sources from within and outside your library. It’s not just about the size of collections, or number of reference transactions, or hours a library is open. This presentation will review some of the key places assessment information can be gathered and provide strategies to creatively think about assessment data collection for your library.

1:45 p.m. - 2:15 p.m. -- Information Resources: Justifying the Expense


Ken Varnum

Senior Program Manager and Discovery Strategist
University of Michigan Library

Discovery layers have changed the landscape of resource use for many libraries through their goal of centralizing access to distributed content through a single interface. Yet, for many libraries, services like Google, Mendeley, and others, provide the access point for much resource use. In this presentation, Ken Varnum will discuss assessment tools such as COUNTER and the Open Discovery Initiative that libraries can use to understand resource usage, as well as discuss emerging efforts to evaluate the impact of that use through broader campus-wide learning analytics processes.

2:15pm - 2:45pm We're not in this alone: Working with campus partners to integrate the library into students' academic experience


Jan Fransen

Service Lead for Researcher and Discovery Systems
University of Minnesota - Twin Cities

University of Minnesota Libraries have been collecting data to figure out who our users are and how they use our services for years. When we started working with our Office of Institutional Research in 2011, we were able to take our data to another level. Now we are gaining insights into who tends to benefit most from discovering and understanding library resources, and finding ways to reach out more effectively to people who haven't found us through other means. We are in the early stages of work with the University's Academic Advisers, meshing our work with what our campus partners are doing to identify who is thriving, who is struggling, and how we can move the needle in the right direction for as many students as possible.

2:45pm - 3:15pm A Library-Based Metrics and Impact Core


Galter Health Sciences Library launched the Metrics and Impact Core (MIC) in 2014 to serve data reporting needs of the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine community. The MIC offers expertise in areas like bibliometrics, data visualization, information systems, alternative metrics, and more. The MIC serves everyone from individuals to large groups on needs related to successful dissemination strategies, publication tracking and reporting, assessing research impact, and communicating research impact to audiences. The MIC provides an extensive range of services for stakeholders. This presentation will introduce the MIC, highlight some of our favorite resources, and present examples of available reports and services.

3:30pm - 4:00pm Planning the Plan: Collaboratively Aligning Strategic Plan Initiatives and Assessments


Starr Hoffman

Head, Planning & Assessment
University of Nevada, Las Vegas

In Fall 2015, Starr Hoffman joined the UNLV University Libraries as the Head of Planning and Assessment; she arrived to find a major survey underway and a new strategic framework needing an assessment plan. In the following six months, she lead the collaborative creation of a diverse portfolio of assessments for which all of the Libraries have taken ownership, and that directly tie to the university’s strategic goals. Ms. Hoffman will detail the process of crafting the assessment plan and strategies for involving all areas of the Libraries in its development.

4:00pm - 4:30pm Why measure that, when we need to show this?


Carl Grant

Chief Technology Officer and Associate University Librarian for Knowledge Services
University of Oklahoma

Public research institutions and their libraries are facing real challenges when they’re asked to substantiate their value through the use of data. Things that are easily measured don’t necessarily show the real value contribution made. Carl’s talk will start by examining what we should be measuring and the steps being used at the University of Oklahoma to move in that direction. It involves everything from the University Mission Statement, campus IT infrastructure and data governance/policies to discussions of the metrics involved as well as how our tech suppliers need to work with us to facilitate these plans.

4:30 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. Roundtable Discussion Moderated by Todd Carpenter


Additional Information

  • Cancellations made by Day, Date, Year will receive a refund, less a $35 cancellation. After that date, there are no refunds.

  • Registrants will receive detailed instructions about accessing the virtual conference via e-mail the Friday prior to the event. (Anyone registering between Monday and the close of registration will receive the message shortly after the registration is received, within normal business hours.) Due to the widespread use of spam blockers, filters, out of office messages, etc., it is your responsibility to contact the NISO office if you do not receive login instructions before the start of the webinar.

  • If you have not received your Login Instruction e-mail by 10 a.m. (ET) on the day before the virtual conference, please contact the NISO office at for immediate assistance.

  • Registration is per site (access for one computer) and includes access to the online recorded archive of the conference. You may have as many people as you like from the registrant's organization view the conference from that one connection. If you need additional connections, you will need to enter a separate registration for each connection needed.

  • If you are registering someone else from your organization, either use that person's e-mail address when registering or contact to provide alternate contact information.

  • Conference presentation slides and Q&A will be posted to this event webpage following the live conference.

  • Registrants will receive an e-mail message containing access information to the archived conference recording within 48 hours after the event. This recording access is only to be used by the registrant's organization.

For Online Events

  • NISO has developed a quick tutorial, How to Participate in a NISO Web Event. Please view the recording, which is an overview of the web conferencing system and will help to answer the most commonly asked questions regarding participating in an online Webex event.
  • You will need a computer for the presentation and Q&A.

  • Audio is available through the computer (broadcast) and by telephone. We recommend you have a set-up for telephone audio as back-up even if you plan to use the broadcast audio as the voice over Internet isn't always 100% reliable.

Please check your system in advance to make sure it meets the Cisco WebEx requirements. It is your responsibility to ensure that your system is properly set up before each webinar begins.