Planning, Assessing, and Communicating Library Impact: Putting the Standards for Libraries in Higher Education into Action

An ACRL e-Learning Online Course
June 3-28, 2013

The new ACRL Standards for Libraries in Higher Education provide a strong framework for demonstrating the impact and value of all types of academic libraries.  In this hands-on course, individuals or teams will learn to use the standards to prepare for accreditation, demonstrate value of their library to student learning and success and institutional initiatives, and improve quality in all library programs, departments and service areas. Participants will learn and apply strategies and techniques for assessing the standards, and have the opportunity to create outcomes, assessments, and plans for integrating the Standards for immediate action as well as long-term planning and assessment efforts.

This course requires a significant amount of hands-on project work resulting in a completed assessment and activities plan for one or more areas of the library. Asynchronous lecture, readings, examples and discussion will provide opportunity to engage this work in a supportive framework with facilitator feedback.

The course is hosted on ACRL's Moodle server and is divided into 3 segments:  Designing Assessments, Strategic Planning and Benchmarking, and Communicating Results and Crafting the Library's Story.  

Part 1:  Designing Assessments: Use the principles and performance indicators outlined in the Standards to design and implement an assessment program. The approach will focus on using a planning and assessment cycle; writing outcomes, criteria for success and assessments; and applying the assessment process to accreditation and program design.

Learning Outcomes: Participants will be able to apply their understanding in order to:

  • Use the structure and function of the standards as a framework for determining quality and impact of library activities, services, and space.
  • Apply the program/planning assessment cycle to design and implement a library or department assessment program.
  • Evaluate principles and performance indicators within the standards in order to select those that align with institutional priorities.

Part 2: Strategic Planning and Benchmarking. Use the Standards to provide a framework for library planning and benchmarking and inform strategic planning processes.

Learning Outcomes: Participants will be able to apply their understanding in order to:

  • Design library services and initiatives that align with institutional mission, goals, and outcomes.
  • Develop a strategic and benchmarking plan process that supports continuous improvement.
  • Implement a strategy for documenting library impact based on the program planning/assessment cycle.

Part 3: Communicating Results and Crafting the Library. Use the Standards as a basis for communicating the library's impact. With a basis in the overall institution’s strategies, explore the elements of a powerful communication plan that conveys the value of the library in the larger context. Connecting the institutional outcomes to the library’s strategies and results allows for a more integrated and interdependent communication process. Developing a communication plan is a key strategy for telling the story of library value.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Connect library strategies and results to institutional outcomes.
  • Use a structured communication process for crafting messages to internal and external audiences.
  • Incorporate a variety of modes of communication (documents, conversations, presentations) to effectively reach the right audience with the right message.

Course Requirements: Your participation will require approximately three to five hours+ per week of primarily asynchronous activities to:

  • Read the online seminar material
  • Post to online discussion boards
  • Complete online exercises
  • Complete a seminar evaluation form


Andrea Falcone is Head of Instructional Services at the University of Northern Colorado where she leads a dynamic instruction program that offers credit-bearing courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels and one-time instruction to various campus programs and groups.  She teaches face-to-face and online courses in understanding the organization of information, developing research strategies, information retrieval, and evaluating and synthesizing information.  Andrea encourages library faculty to be experimental in designing their curriculum and to conduct assessments with the intent of continuous improvement.  Andrea has published and presented widely on innovative teaching techniques, improving classroom communication skills, and pedagogical uses of technology.  Andrea has served as a liaison to UNC’s First Year program and the Center for Human Enrichment, and currently serves as a faculty fellow for the UNC Teaching & Learning Circle, a select group of engaged and innovative campus educators.  Andrea earned a Masters in Library Science from Indiana University and a Master’s in English from the University of Toledo.

Debra Gilchrist is Dean of Libraries and Institutional Effectiveness for Pierce College, a community college in Lakewood, Washington. She is responsible for leadership and management of the library, media services, assessment, and institutional research for a multi-campus district. Prior to her position at Pierce, she was Instruction Librarian at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Washington. Debra has given presentations and published in the areas of library instruction, outcomes assessment, the teaching library mission, and faculty/librarian collaboration. She is currently facilitating the implementation of an information competency requirement that is based on student outcomes and focused on measuring library effectiveness based on student learning outcomes. Her professional activities include ALA Councilor (1994-2001), Chair of the ACRL Community and Junior College Library Section Instruction Section Committee (1995-1997), SRRT Action Council (1991-1994) as well as other appointments to ALA, local, and regional committees. She received the Miriam Dudley Award in 2007 and was co-recipient in 1997 of the ACRL Instruction Section Innovation in Instruction Award. Debra holds a B.S. in Recreation/Social Service from California State University, Northridge (1977), her M.L.S. from the University of Denver (1983), an M.S. in Geography from South Dakota State University (1987), and a PhD from Oregon State University in Higher Education Administration and Leadership (2007).


Registration fees:

ACRL member: $175
ALA member: $205
Nonmember: $245
Student: $75

How to register:

Register Online

  • Click on the link above. 
  • Scroll down to the month when the event is offered.
  • Select the "Register" link next to the course name.
  • You will need to log in with your ALA ID & password. If you do not have an ALA ID & password, you will be asked to create one in order to register.

Fax or Mail

  • Click on the link above to download and complete the print registration form.
  • If paying with a PO, submit the form along with your actual PO to ALA registration (fax or mail; see form for details).  You will not be considered registered for the course until both your PO and the registration form have been received and processed by ALA registration.
  • Completed forms can be fax or mailed to ALA Registration.

Access instructions will be sent out one business day prior to the start of the course.

Member rates apply to personal memberships only. Want to join ACRL or ALA? Complete the online membership form, available on the ALA Web site. If you join ALA/ACRL within five days of registering, we will adjust your fee (please fax a copy of your completed registration form to ACRL at 312-280-2520 ).

Payment may be made by credit card or purchase order (PO) only. If paying by PO, the PO number is required at the time of registration. Class size is limited to 60 participants. Full refunds will be granted up to 14 days prior to the start of the seminar.

Questions should be directed to Margot Conahan at