Monday, 12 May 2008

Measuring and articulating the value of the Academic Library

Richard sent me the link to this paper by Lyn Bosanquet, Transforming the Academic Library - the new value proposition

You may not agree with all she says but it is interesting to note the section "Where to next?" which starts with the sentence: "It is imperative that the library understands what the university values" - and then she goes on to suggest that the value should be more weighted towards library support for research.

Anyway, she does identify some of our challenges for the future, and documents how things have changed.
Karmen asked me to post this and add some comments I made. She would love you all to comment too!



Roger Carter said...

Most of this article is fairly unsurprising, (and she annoyed me immensely with a number of sweeping statements that show she has not spoken to a real library client for far too long) but for my money she does flag a couple of issues that we may be neglecting or doing poorly or unevenly.
First: Increasing coursework postgrads. We do run classes etc. but generally in a reactive way. We have never developed a real position on this growing group in relation to graduate generic attributes and IL needs. Almost all our IL thinking is at undergrad level.
Second: Her point about measuring outcomes for researchers is challenging. This would show value to the institution as she says, but how do you measure it?

Katrina said...

I agree that the author's generalisations are annoying (although she does say that library staff are intelligent!). I think a focus on research/researchers is warranted but not necessarily at the expense of the undergraduate program. It would be interesting to find out how many researchers were UTAS undergrads and would have benefited from our Library programs in the past.

Chris said...

I'm just reading this article now, so maybe my sense of it will change once I've finished.

Funny to have just heard about the library capital works projects being described as "campus heartlands" projects, and now read Bosanquet's comments on the library "as the heart or hub of the University". Also, I agree that our staffing and service support still is not reflecting our shift to electronic/virtual. In general, I think we need to be more savvy in our use of professional and para-professional skills...but that's another story!

Karmen is right to pick up on the mention of aligning ourselves/our services to the University's strategic objectives. This always sounds really complicated to me but clearly it's essential. We need to pay more attention to this, having started to demonstrate growing awareness via our Library Plan. There may be changes we should make to our priorities for supporting researchers - it looks like the next section of the paper, Where to Next, is going to get particularly interesting for me, so I'll have a quiet read and reflect on it before I post more comments!

KP said...

This article seems to have thrown up quite a few issues which need indepth attention and debate. I am just planning the next Liaison Day and it may be that we can incorporate some of this discussion in that day although with "Web 2.0" as its theme it already looks like a full agenda. And we need to pay attention to that theme as (1) the environmental scan dictates this and (2) Stephen Abram will be here in September.

Could we have a bit more discussion here on coursework postgrads and IL/Research skills please?