What should we stop doing?

Sometimes, many times, most times, you cannot be all things to all people. When I put on my outreach and marketing hat, I have to contend with the reality that the library really is for everyone and everyone is a customer — at least for campus teaching and research.

When it comes to the services and stuff the library provides, the rubber hits the road.  Daniella Laporte asked Seth Godin to create a Stop Doing List in her post. What about academic libraries? What do we do? Why do we do it? How do we know it is valued? What should we stop doing? What you stop doing is just as important as the things you start doing (D. Laporte). Of course it is difficult to identify those activities. It is also difficult to figure out who values a service you may offer passively. From the outside of libraries it may not seem like such a big deal. Each consultation with a researcher, collaboration with a campus academic center like the Writing Center, and Valentine’s Day Blind Date with a Book display takes time, planning, and people. For as much data as we work with there are still many reasons why qualitative data are incredibly valuable. But who has time for that?

When I read Bryn Geffert’s “A Librarian’s Defense of Despair” article in the Chronicle, it was a relief to see the words on the screen.The costs associated with building and maintaining a collection of materials for an academic library are steep. No one has unlimited funds. We want to support all areas of research on campus — which are extremely broad and significantly deep. Yet, you cannot get access to everything. How do you make decisions about what resources you do not subscribe to? That’s a big deal, and there isn’t one good way to go about this. We have recently taken a new approach to collection development that seems to head in the right direction. Individual subject selectors collaborating on disciplinary teams, which in turn are accountable to a leadership team. Things are getting exciting out there. Check out the testy relationship German universities have with Elsevier.  Never a dull day in libraryland.

The Value of Assessment to Libraries

Assessment programs provide the means to measure effectiveness of programs and progress towards strategic goals. Large-scale assessment tools, i.e., LibQual+, ITHAKA, and NSSE, inform library decision- making and planning. The use of small-scale assessment instruments enable the library to be more agile and responsive to user needs.



Plugging into the process: Enhancing campus partnerships to provide robust student research support

Brown University’s project focused on developing an understanding of research skills of first year students. First Year Seminar faculty were interviewed about expectations and perceptions of student research skills. This research revealed opportunities for the Library to rethink its instruction program and collaborate with campus partners to develop programs and connect students to the support they need.

Evelyn (Bordac), S., Quist, E., O’Mahony, D., Takayama, K. and Gaylin, A. (2014). Plugging into the process: Enhancing campus partnerships to provide robust student research support. Assessment in Action, ALA Annual Conference, Las Vegas, NV.
View in the Brown University Repository