ACRL Consulting Services - Project Overviews

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Every library and its campus setting are unique, and we tailor our services to address your library’s particular needs and budget. The following sample project descriptions provide an overview of some of the ways we might work with your library.

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NEW! Facilitative Support for Library Leaders

Leading is especially challenging now due to the changes and pressures in libraries and higher education from the ongoing pandemic, hybrid in-person and online working environments, and the pressing need to create more equitable, inclusive, and supportive workplaces. ACRL's experienced consultants/coaches will work with you one-on-one or your leadership team in a highly customizable way, scoped to meet your needs.

Learn more.

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External Review of the Library

ACRL conducts external library reviews (on site or remote) that are not part of a cyclical program review process where a self-study has been completed. For this type of review, two consultants study background materials and conduct a one-day site visit or equivalent remotely. Consultants interview a wide variety of individuals and meet with groups to learn how the library is meeting the needs of the college or university community. They conduct benchmarking comparisons against peers on key data points to determine how an institution is performing with respect to similar schools. Using the ACRL Standards for Libraries in Higher Education as a framework, the consultants analyze their findings and prepare a report of 15-20 pages that focuses on areas of strength, areas for growth and improvement, and specific recommendations.

Sample project fee: $13,000, delivered remotely. (Plus travel costs if delivered on-site.)

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Strategic Thinking Staff Retreat

A retreat that brings together all librarians and library staff members for strategic thinking and planning can provide your library with an effective, highly participatory staff kickoff to a planning effort. One or two ACRL consultants will design a set of planning activities and facilitate a one-day retreat on site, or equivalent remotely, to identify strengths and opportunities for the library and begin to articulate a desired future and a set of strategic directions. This type of retreat helps to ensure that each member of the library contributes to the initial planning process, and it sets the stage for a smaller staff group to continue the planning work. The consulting project may include an additional half-day guided discussion with the designated planning group or library administrators to create a process to carry out their planning work.

Sample project fee for two consultants: $14,000, delivered remotely. (Plus travel costs if delivered on-site.)

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Regenerating the Academic Library

ACRL consultants work with libraries to help them through the process of regeneration—emerging from crisis, navigating a dramatically altered landscape, and rebuilding for the future. ACRL consultants will collaborate with you to design and facilitate a multi-stage, remotely-delivered organizational development process that is tailored to your library’s needs and campus setting. Prepare your team to respirit, reenter, and remake your organization's future with help from ACRL. Learn more.

Sample project fee for 4-part service: $25,000, delivered remotely.

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Organizational Development and Effectiveness

ACRL consultants can guide your staff through an inclusive organizational development process that encourages and builds on their ideas, perspectives, and needs while offering new perspectives, tools, and approaches and challenging unexamined practices. Depending on the needs of your organization, the service may be delivered as a half-day event or as a multi-day series of activities. ACRL consultants will work with you to design a process that includes all-staff and small group activities and that engages staff across the organization in conversations and exercises about library-wide and departmental priorities and practices within the context of a changing higher education landscape. The service focuses on building all-staff commitment to improving organizational effectiveness and advancing organizational growth and change.

Sample project fee: $7,000-$19,500, delivered remotely. (Plus travel costs if delivered on-site.)

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Review and Feedback of Internal Library Self-Studies

Academic libraries are frequently tasked with conducting an internal self-study as part of an accreditation or institutional program review process. If your library is preparing a self-study report, an ACRL consultant can review the report before its final submission and provide recommendations for strengthening it. The consultant will deliver a 3-4 page document that addresses the library’s use of appropriate standards; assessment of services, programs, and collections in meeting institutional needs; measures of service performance and organization effectiveness; and documentation of contributions to the institution’s mission and priorities.

Sample project fee: $4,300.

*Learn about strategies and resources for self-studies: 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, 2015.

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Search for Library Director or Dean

The search for a new library dean or director should be grounded in sufficient information about the library and aspects of the campus community that would be attractive to prospective candidates. To help a college or university prepare for and carry out a successful search, two consultants review the proposed search approach and process (e.g., 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 identify the unique opportunities of the position, features of the institution that will draw qualified candidates, and the campus community’s expectations and desired qualities of a new library leader. They deliver a report of approximately 15 pages that synthesizes their findings and provides specific recommendations for attracting a quality pool of applicants.

Sample project fee: $11,200 (for two consultants, plus travel costs if delivered onsite.)

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Soliciting Input from Campus Stakeholders

ACRL can work with you to design and facilitate a process that generates critical input from campus stakeholders and constituent groups about a topic or issue of great import to the library. In a half-day session, for example, one consultant develops a process and facilitates roundtable discussions (or conducts a focus group) among librarians and campus stakeholders. The information gathered provides the library with a deeper understanding of campus stakeholders’ perspectives, priorities, and needs that may feed into strategic planning, partnership development, and communication strategies. The consultant prepares a 3-page report that summarizes themes that emerged from the discussion(s) and provides suggestions for using the results to inform library planning efforts. ACRL consultants can also work with your library to plan and facilitate retreats that engage staff in reflection, discussion, and planning on a wide variety of topics, including undertaking a large-scale change management initiative, leadership development, and organizational effectiveness.

Sample project fee: $3,700. (Plus travel costs if delivered on-site.)

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Meet our consultants, see what past clients have to say, and check out our sample publication and webinar recording to help you understand the work of our consultants and what's involved with reviewing and advancing academic libraries.

NOTE: ACRL has suspended consulting services as of June 2023. Because many of our consultants also work independently, interested parties may wish to contact them directly.

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