Understanding the basic principles of planning and assessment

For Immediate Release
Tue, 08/03/2021


Rob Christopher

Marketing Coordinator

ALA Publishing & Media

American Library Association



CHICAGO — The concepts of planning and assessment are intrinsically linked—and understanding them is essential for raising the library’s profile and strengthening its position among stakeholders and the community. Even LIS students and those new to the profession, or library staff for whom planning or assessment are not primary areas of responsibility, have a role to play in the success of organizational efforts. Rachel A. Fleming-May has more than a decade of experience in planning and assessment initiatives and instruction, and Regina Mays was her institution’s first assessment librarian; their new book “Fundamentals of Planning and Assessment for Libraries,” published by ALA Editions, draws from theory, research, and their first-hand observations to illuminate such topics as:

  • characteristics of bad planning strategy that can help to illustrate a better approach;
  • reasons why using economic models, like ROI, fall short;
  • how to mix the three types of planning;
  • guidelines to ensure that assessment is meaningful and actionable;
  • tips for creating effective surveys;
  • emphasizing users’ needs with a critical assessment framework;
  • data analysis for surveys, interviews, focus groups, and observation;
  • four questions to ask about audience level before you develop a report;
  • a sample 3-year assessment plan that can be customized; and
  • seven steps for developing a culture of ongoing assessment.

Examination copies are available for instructors who are interested in adopting this title for course use.

Fleming-May is an Associate Professor in the School of Information Sciences at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville. Prior to earning her Ph.D. from the University of Alabama in 2008, she worked as a public and academic librarian for several years. She has worked on two assessment-related Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS)-funded grant programs: Experience Assessment: Building User Experience and Assessment Capabilities in Libraries and Information Centers (UX-A) (co-Principal Investigator), and Value, Outcome, and Return on Investment of Academic Libraries (Lib-Value) (management team member). Mays is an Associate Professor and Head of Assessment Programs and Collection Strategy at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville Libraries, where she has practiced, researched, and published on library assessment and planning for over a decade.

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