For immediate release | March 1, 2016

Special C&RL issue focuses on assessment as action research

CHICAGO – The Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) has released a special issue of the journal College & Research Libraries (C&RL) featuring a selection of seven action research studies by teams who participated in the ACRL program Assessment in Action: Academic Libraries and Student Success (AiA). Just over 200 institutions have participated in the AiA program, with a librarian from each leading a campus team in developing and implementing an action learning project that examines the impact of the library on student success and contributes to assessment activities on campus.

“ACRL is proud to showcase this scholarship from the AiA program as there are important findings which can be transferred to other settings,” said ACRL President Ann Campion Riley, acting director of university libraries at the University of Missouri. “This special issue of C&RL helps leverage our investment in providing research training and support so that others can be inspired to improve their own evidence-based decision making.”

The seven scholarly articles in this special issue describe action research undertaken using many types of empirical research designs and a wide variety of methods and tools. There is great diversity of institution types represented, with participants and issues of pressing concern as appropriate to their setting. This special issue aims to help C&RL readers learn more about action research as an approach to scholarship and includes an introductory essay providing a basic overview to action research. Hear from the editors and authors of the special issue during an online forum to be held at 2:00 p.m. central on March 24, 2016. More details on the forum will soon be available on the C&RL website.

"I am happy to see the flexibility provided by C&RL’s digital-only publishing model allow us to showcase findings from ACRL's own AiA program in the journal," said Scott Walter, editor-in-chief of C&RL and university librarian at DePaul University. "In the future, we hope to see additional connections made across the ACRL research and publishing programs in the open access environment."

The guest editors for the special issue led the design and facilitation of the AiA program: Kara J. Malenfant, ACRL senior strategist for special initiatives; Lisa Janicke Hinchliffe, professor in the University Library and coordinator for information literacy services and instruction at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; and Debra Gilchrist, vice president for learning and student success at Pierce College.

Published since 1939, C&RL is the open access, online-only scholarly research journal of ACRL. AiA, part of ACRL's Value of Academic Libraries initiative, is undertaken in partnership with the Association for Institutional Research and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities and made possible by the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

For more on results from AiA projects, see the recently released ACRL casebook “Putting Assessment into Action: Selected Projects from the First Cohort of the Assessment in Action Grant” showcasing 27 short reflections by first year AiA team leaders on the inquiry methods they used in their assessment projects. Also forthcoming is an ACRL report synthesizing the second year AiA projects and leadership of campus assessment teams. Find more in the Assessment in Action Bibliography listing dozens of journal articles, conference presentations, and other public reports related to the AiA initiative.


The Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL) is the higher education association for librarians. Representing more than 11,000 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, Facebook at and Twitter at @ala_acrl.


David Free

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