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

An ACRL e-Learning Online Course

February 4-22, 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.

Facilitators: Dr. Debra Gilchrist, Vice President for Learning and Student Success, Pierce College; Lisa Janicke Hinchliffe, Coordinator for Information Literacy Services and Instruction and Professor of Administration, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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

Registration fees:

ACRL member: $135

ALA member: $175

Nonmember: $195

Student: $60

How to Register: Registration materials will be available winter 2012.

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