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Planning and Assessment

Planning

The library should have a mission statement and goals to serve as a framework for its activities. The mission and goals should be compatible and consistent with those developed by the college. Assessment of the quality and effectiveness of the library should be linked closely with the specific mission and goals of the college. In order to build its programs and services in the context of the college, the library should be involved in the overall planning process. Formal planning procedures and methods, such as strategic planning, are used frequently. These planning methods require input from a broad spectrum of the college community. They help the college prepare for the future by clearly defining a vision and mission, by setting goals and objectives, and by implementing specific strategies or courses of action designed to help meet those ends. Strategic planning is an iterative process that includes evaluation, updating, and refinement. This process helps the college community focus on its essential values and provides an overall direction that helps to guide day-to-day activities and decisions.

Assessment

Comprehensive assessment requires the involvement of all categories of library users. The choice of clientele to be surveyed and questions to be asked should be made by the administration and the staff of the library with the assistance of an appropriate advisory committee. Questions should relate to how well the library supports its mission and how well it achieves its goals and objectives. Library users should be encouraged to offer signed or anonymous comments and suggestions. Opportunities for making suggestions should be available both in the library and through remote electronic access. All categories of users should be given an opportunity to participate in the evaluation. The weight given to responses should be consistent with the focus and mission of the library. A program of assessment and evaluation should take into consideration the changing rhythm of the academic year. Evaluation, whether it involves some or all of the techniques listed below, should be an ongoing process. Formal evaluation tools may include the following:

  • General library knowledge surveys (or "pre-tests") offered to incoming first year students, re-offered at a mid-point in the students' careers and again near graduation, to assess whether the library's program of curricular instruction is producing more information-literate students.
  • Evaluation checklists for librarian and tutorial instruction to gather feedback from students, other librarians and teaching faculty.
  • Student journal entries, or information literacy diaries, used to track their library use.
  • Focus groups of students, faculty, staff, and alumni who are asked to comment on their experiences using information resources over a period of time.
  • Assessment and evaluation by librarians from other colleges and/or other appropriate consultants.
  • Reviews of specific library and information service areas and/or operations.

Outcomes Assessment

Outcomes assessment will increasingly measure and affect how library goals and objectives are achieved. It will address the accountability of institutions of higher education for student achievement and cost effectiveness. It should take into consideration libraries' greater dependence on technology, their increasing use of online services, their growing responsibility to provide information literacy skills, their increasing reliance on consortial services, the possibilities of dwindling financial resources for collection development, and new developments in the ways in which scholarly information is published and distributed.Outcomes assessment can be an active mechanism for improving current library practices. It focuses on the achievement of outcomes that have been identified as desirable in the library's goals and objectives. It identifies performance measures, such as proficiencies, that indicate how well the library is doing what it has stated it wishes to do. Assessment instruments may include surveys, tests, interviews, and other valid measuring devices. These instruments may be specially designed for the function being measured, or previously developed instruments may be used. It is critical, however, to choose the instrument, the size of the sample, and the method used for sampling carefully. The instrument should be valid, and the way it is used should be appropriate for the task. Colleagues at peer institutions may render invaluable assistance by suggesting assessment questions and sample sizes, by sharing lessons learned, and suggesting alternative methods for measuring outcomes.


  1. Is the library's mission statement clearly understood by the library staff and the college administration? Is it reviewed periodically?
  2. How does the library incorporate the college's mission into its goals and objectives?
  3. How does the library maintain a systematic and continuous program for evaluating its performance, for informing the college community of its accomplishments, and for identifying and implementing needed improvements?
  4. Is the library's assessment plan an integral component of the institution's assessment and accreditation strategies? For example, does the library revise and update its assessment procedures in conjunction with campus-wide planning and the actions of academic departments?
  5. How does the library assess itself? (e.g.: What quantitative and qualitative data does the library collect about its performance? How does it take into account special needs, such as those of physically challenged users?)
  6. What outcomes does the library measure, and how does it measure these outcomes?
  7. How does the library compare itself with its peers?

1. Is the library's mission statement clearly understood by the library staff and the college administration? Is it reviewed periodically?

The latest Mission Statement of IUPUI University Library was adopted in January, 2001. It was developed with full participation of the entire library staff at that time, and it was developed to blend with the campus mission. The library needs to be more consistent in providing and reviewing the mission with new personnel. It is, however, a critical part of planning and is incorporated into other documents.
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2. How does the library incorporate the college's mission into its goals and objectives?

The campus mission statement has been reviewed and refined in wording throughout the past few years in an elaborate process that solicits input from many sources. However, the basic direction toward recognition as a major urban research university has stayed constant. The library parallels its mission statement to that of the campus. Each year, during one of the library's organizational weeks, the library's goals and objectives are reviewed within the context of these mission statements.
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3. How does the library maintain a systematic and continuous program for evaluating its performance, for informing the college community of its accomplishments, and for identifying and implementing needed improvements?

  1. Internal reviews by each team once a semester that compare accomplishments to goals and objectives
  2. User satisfaction surveys
  3. Campus surveys that include questions about the library or information literacy
  4. Accomplishments and goals are communicated to the campus administration and faculty committees through an annual report submitted by the Dean
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4. Is the library's assessment plan an integral component of the institution's assessment and accreditation strategies? For example, does the library revise and update its assessment procedures in conjunction with campus-wide planning and the actions of academic departments?

The institution's assessment strategy is evolving under the direction of the Office of Planning and Institutional Improvement. The library closely follows the template for assessment categories developed by the Office of Planning and Institutional Improvement. The assessment factors are reviewed at least annually by the library Teams and administration. There is a need to better analyze the data we have already collected and to articulate further the outcomes about which our users are concerned.
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5. How does the library assess itself? (e.g.: What quantitative and qualitative data does the library collect about its performance? How does it take into account special needs, such as those of physically challenged users?)

  1. Internal assessment of goals and accomplishments is done each semester by the library Teams
  2. User satisfaction surveys have been done once a year
  3. Campus surveys that include library components
  4. Post-graduation surveys that include information literacy components
  5. Data for reporting to educational/library organizations is provided, e.g., ACRL statistical counts, Dept. of Education reports
  6. Collection development data is provided to academic units on campus undergoing program review. The reviewers of the program often provide feedback on library resources for that discipline.
  7. The library is one of the campus programs which undergoes a review process organized by the Office of Planning and Institutional Improvement. This review should take place every years, but the library has not yet had this review because of changes in organization and leadership.
  8. A study of the effectiveness of an online instrument for teaching information literacy in first year classes was conducted by William Orme, Associate Librarian, in 2001/02.

Special needs, such as those of physically challenged users:

  1. The IUPUI University Library was constructed in 1993 and fortunately incorporates the newer code standards for physically challenged users. A number of workstations on every floor are adapted for people in wheel chairs.
  2. All library Web design is done with the physically challenged in mind.
  3. Video materials are purchased with captions if possible, otherwise arrangements are made for captioning for classroom use.
  4. There are two rooms on the second floor of the library that host a variety of special equipment to meet special needs including sound proof booths. This area is staffed by Adaptive Education Services.
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6. What outcomes does the library measure, and how does it measure these outcomes?

The library has a process of continually reviewing accomplishments and setting new goals each semester. This process is usually done within the individual Team. From these accomplishments and goals, a limited number of items are highlighted for campus reports. The choice of items to highlight has been made in various ways, but the process minimally involves the Leadership Team which is composed of Team Leaders from each Team, plus the Dean.
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7. How does the library compare itself with its peers?

The peer institutions have been chosen by the Office of Planning and Institutional Improvement. Those institutions are:
  • University of Alabama - Birmingham
  • University of Cincinnati
  • University of Illinois - Chicago
  • University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee
  • Wayne State University
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Last updated by lcalvert on 08/03/2007