ACRL releases 'Academic Library Impact,' an Action-Oriented Research Agenda on Library Contributions to Student Learning and Success

Kara Malenfant
Sr. Strategist for Special Initiatives
Academic Library Impact
kmalenfant@ala.org

CHICAGO – The Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) announces the release of “Academic Library Impact: Improving Practice and Essential Areas to Research.” Developed for ACRL by OCLC Research, this valuable resource investigates how libraries can increase student learning and success and effectively communicate their value to higher education stakeholders. The full report is freely available for download on the ACRL website.

Now more than ever, academic libraries are being asked to demonstrate value to their institutional stakeholders, funders, and governance boards. Academic Library Impact builds on ACRL’s 2010 "Value of Academic Libraries: A Comprehensive Research Review and Report" and the results of the subsequent Assessment in Action program. It demonstrates how libraries are now measuring library contributions to student learning and success, and recommends where more research is needed in areas critical to the higher education sector such as accreditation, student retention, and academic achievement.

“'Academic Library Impact' captures the incredible strides made by the profession in assessing and demonstrating the contributions of academic libraries to the academy, and creates a path for moving us into the future via new research avenues,” says ACRL Executive Director Mary Ellen K. Davis.

This action-oriented research agenda includes:

  • a report on all project phases and findings;
  • a detailed research agenda based on those findings;
  • a visualization component that filters relevant literature and creates graphics that can communicate library value to stakeholders;
  • a bibliography of the literature analyzed;
  • and a full bibliography of the works cited and reviewed.

All components were produced in partnership with OCLC Research and include analyses of library and information science (LIS) and higher education literature, focus group interviews and brainstorming sessions with academic library administrators at different institution types within the United States, and individual interviews with provosts. “OCLC is really pleased to collaborate with ACRL on such an important topic,” said Lorcan Dempsey, Vice President of Membership and Research and OCLC Chief Strategist. “We hope this research agenda will help administrators as they examine the changing role of libraries and their collections in the lives of their students.”  

Building on established best practices and recent research, "Academic Library Impact" clearly identifies priority areas and suggests specific actions for academic librarians and administrators to take in developing programs, collections, and spaces focused on student learning and success. It includes effective practices, calls out exemplary studies, and indicates where more inquiry is needed, with proposed research designs. It identifies the next generation of necessary research to continue to testify to library value. This new report is a significant milestone for ACRL’s Value of Academic Libraries initiative and for the profession.

Learn more about the report in this video overview:

The report is now available as a free PDF download from the ACRL website, and a print edition for purchase will be available through the ALA store website in October 2017. A companion online tool, “Visualizing Academic Library Impact: The ACRL/OCLC Literature Analysis Dashboard” helps librarians and researchers filter the existing literature for studies most relevant to their research interests and visually explore the literature and other data in the form of charts and graphs.

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About ACRL

The Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL) is the higher education association for librarians. Representing more than 10,500 academic and research librarians and interested individuals, ACRL (a division of the American Library Association) develops programs, products and services to help academic and research librarians learn, innovate and lead within the academic community. Founded in 1940, ACRL is committed to advancing learning and transforming scholarship. ACRL is on the web at acrl.org, Facebook at facebook.com/ala.acrl and Twitter at @ala_acrl.

About OCLC

OCLC is a nonprofit global library cooperative providing shared technology services, original research and community programs so that libraries can better fuel learning, research and innovation. Through OCLC, member libraries cooperatively produce and maintain WorldCat, the most comprehensive global network of data about library collections and services. Libraries gain efficiencies through OCLC’s WorldShare, a complete set of library management applications and services built on an open, cloud-based platform. It is through collaboration and sharing of the world’s collected knowledge that libraries can help people find answers they need to solve problems. Together as OCLC, member libraries, staff and partners make breakthroughs possible.

ACRL