ACRL Consulting Services - Project Overviews

ACRL consultants provide expert advice and facilitation on a wide variety of projects. While every project is unique and we tailor our services to your particular needs and budget, the following sample project descriptions provide an overview of ways we can work with your library.

External Review of the Library

Photo of post-its on tableFor an external review which is not part of a cyclical program review process where a self-study has been completed, two consultants study background materials and conduct a one-day site visit. While on campus, the consultants interview a wide variety of individuals and meet with groups to discover how the library is meeting the needs of the college or university community. They conduct benchmarking against peers on key data points as external comparisons reveal how an institution is performing with respect to similar schools. By applying the ACRL Standards for Libraries in Higher Education as a framework, the consultants analyze their findings. They deliver a report of about 20 pages that focuses on areas of strength, areas for growth and improvement, and specific recommendations.

Sample project fee: $9,500 plus travel.

"The consultant team from ACRL provided us with a thorough analysis of our library’s potential, but even more importantly gave us ideas that we can act on immediately. I find myself referring to their report almost every week as we plan new programs and initiatives." - Catherine Kelley, Ph.D., Associate Provost for Educational Resources and Assessment, Fairleigh Dickinson University

"I cannot emphasize enough the benefit of the external review in helping us to reposition the Library. There is much excitement brewing between faculty and the Library staff and what is yet to come." - Teresa Sordelet, Vice President for Administration, University of Saint Francis. 

Read more about how to conduct an external library review in the recent chapter:

Malenfant, K. & Deiss, K. (2015). Successful external reviews: Process and practicalities. In  Reviewing the Academic Library: A Guide to Self-Study and External Review. E. Mitchell & M. Seiden, (Eds.). Chicago, IL: Association of College and Research Libraries.

Search for Library Director

For a college or university seeking to hire a new library dean or director, two consultants review the proposed approach (job ad, committee makeup, interview questions, etc.) and conduct a one-day site visit. While on campus, the consultants interview a variety of individuals and groups to discover the unique features that would draw qualified candidates and what the community hopes for in a new library leader. They deliver a report of about 15 pages that focuses on areas of strength within the library and specific recommendations on how to attract a quality pool of applicants.

Sample project fee: $8,000 plus travel.

Soliciting Input from Campus Stakeholders

Photo of group at workshopIn a half-day session, one consultant designs a process to facilitate round table discussions (or conducts a focus group) among librarians and other campus stakeholders on a topic of great import to the library. This information may feed into strategic planning, space planning or other planning processes. The consultant provides a brief 3 page written report which summarizes themes that emerge and provides suggestions for how the results could inform future library planning efforts.

Sample project fee: $2,500 plus travel.

"Northeastern Illinois University recently engaged Kara Malenfant, Senior Strategist for Special Initiatives for ACRL, to create and facilitate a visioning program in our library as part of the University’s Innovation Roundtable series. ACRL had provided the Library with similar services in the past and I felt that they were the perfect choice for our program. Intended as a “kickoff” for our master space plan the event managed to generate the necessary discussion to begin engaging the library staff and our campus in this initiative. The report written by Ms. Malenfant also provided me with the necessary document in support of our Roundtable and additional rationale for our space plan. Whether it’s strategic planning, creating collaborative staff environments or developing strategies for implementing the ACRL Standards for Libraries in Higher Education, I believe that ACRL brings a high level of expertise and a neutral point of view to facilitate change. The role they play as the primary professional association for academic libraries also adds an additional level of legitimacy to our initiatives for university administrators and other campus stakeholders. We are updating the Library’s Strategic Plan in the fall and I will be contacting ACRL again to assist us with the process." - Carlos Melian, Dean of Libraries and Learning Resources, Northeastern Illinois University

Library Staff Retreat

Photo of group at workshopFor a library beginning a strategic planning process, undertaking a large-scale change management initiative, or setting annual goals, one or two consultants design and conduct a one-day on-site retreat with all librarians and library staff members.

Sample project fee: $10,000 plus travel. (Other examples include an additional half-day guided discussion with library administrators to create a process to continue their planning work, or a senior leadership team development retreat.)

"ACRL consultants Kathryn Deiss and Kara Malenfant are a fabulous resource for any library or library director seeking to engage in a library strategic planning process. Kathryn and Kara bring much to their role as consultants, derived from their own backgrounds in libraries of all sizes serving all manner of constituents, their ability to listen, see and encourage creative and strategic thinking, and a broad and international knowledge-base of library developments and trends. At Hampshire, Deiss and Malenfant helped design and facilitate a process that was inclusive and effective and perhaps most importantly, one that was accessible and energizing to all library staff." - Jennifer Gunter King, Director of the Library, Hampshire College

"Loyola found great value in utilizing the consulting services of ACRL both for staff development and in strategic planning. We will use this helpful service again when the opportunity presents itself. We were particularly pleased with the help provided by Kathryn Deiss in facilitating our planning discussions and goal setting." - Bob Seal, Dean of Libraries, Loyola University


To learn more about our consulting services and to book our team for your library, contact ACRL at Organizational members of ACRL receive a discounted rate on consulting fees.