As academic libraries are increasingly called on to demonstrate their value, librarians are defining measures of library impact that work both within and across libraries and constituents. But what happens when data collected through an action research project tells you something you don't want to learn?
Type of Library
library impact, user experience, data collection
Survey Says: Strategies for Responding to Challenging Findings
As academic libraries are increasingly called on to demonstrate their value, librarians are beginning to define measures of library impact that work both within and across libraries and constituents. Initiatives such as ACRL's Assessment in Action program have sought to quantify library impact on student success through action research and campus collaboration. But what happens when data collected through an action research project tells you something you don't want to learn? This session will share one university library's experiences with shifting focus from measuring user satisfaction to assessing library impact through a biennial survey of students and faculty. Librarians collaborated with the campus office of institutional research to incorporate student exposure to library instruction and demographic information into the survey data. One finding from the 2016 iteration of the survey was particularly troubling: students who had experienced course-integrated library instruction did not differ in in usage and awareness of library collections and services. Presenters will share how this information was communicated to library and to campus constituents, and how the library responded to this finding. The experience of responding to difficult findings presented an opportunity for administrators to shape the culture of the organization in a healthy way. By celebrating and rewarding experimentation and deep commitment to learning about library users, staff remain encouraged to ask challenging questions about library impact and services. Attendees will take away strategies for identifying student data sources and approaching potential campus partners in order to collaborate on action research projects at their own institution. Attendees will also generate plans for responding to situations where data collection does not represent the library in a positive light.