Post 1: Draft of 2011 ACRL Standards for Libraries in Higher Education

In 2009, ACRL 2009-2010 President Lori Goetsch charged a Task Force to review and revise the 2004 ACRL Standards for Libraries in Higher Education. For more than a year, we have been reading relevant library, higher education and accreditation documents, surveying academic library directors to understand how the current ACRL Standards have served the profession, and interviewing library reviewers to better understand the evolving role of libraries within institutional accreditation processes. The new 2011 Standards are intended to provide a comprehensive framework using an outcomes-based approach, with evidence collected in ways that are appropriate for each library.

We now welcome your comments on the draft of the 2011 Standards for Libraries in Higher Education.

If your preference is to print out a full draft of the 2011 Standards, you can find the full document on the ACRL Standards and Guidelines website.

If, however, you would prefer to consider the draft of the 2011 Standards in smaller, coherent units and share your opinions, suggestions, criticism, and comments in an online environment, then you have come to the right place- the 2011 ACRL Standards for Libraries in Higher Education Task Force blog. No clever acronym for this blog has leapt to mind, but we are open to any creative suggestions! The blog will be open for comments through Monday, April 11, (a little more than one week after the close of the ACRL 2011 Conference).

This blog will present the draft of the 2011 Standards in six parts:

  • Introduction to the Standards – You may be inclined to skip over the introduction and jump right to the “heart” of the Standards. But, please note that the 2011 Standards differ in significant ways from previous versions of the Standards, so you may find this brief introduction to be very helpful
  • Principles – The 2011 Standards are grounded in nine Principles that reflect the core roles and contributions of higher education libraries
  • Performance Indicators for Principles 1 through 4 – Performance indicators are library-centric indications that the Principles are being applied
  • Performance Indicators for Principles 5 through 9
  • Sample Outcomes – Each library will develop user-centered, measurable outcomes that articulate specifically what the user is able to do as an outcome of each performance indicator.  The 2011 Standards provide sample outcomes to demonstrate how such outcomes could be crafted within an individual library
  • Benchmarking and Peer Comparisons – We received a lot of feedback indicating that library staff are seeking tools to create both internal benchmarking and peer group comparisons.  The 2011 Standards are designed, in part, to facilitate this type of benchmarking evaluation.

Several of the posts link to PDF versions of sections of the Standards to maintain the integrity of the document. Pagination for the complete document has been retained in each instance.

This blog is not the only means through which you can share your comments with the Task Force.  If you are attending the ACRL 2011 Conference, we invite you to attend (and comment) at our public hearing —scheduled for April 1 from 1:30-3:00 p.m. in the Independence Ballroom, Philadelphia Marriott Downtown Hotel, located at 1201 Market Street, Philadelphia.

You may also contact any member of the ACRL Standards for Libraries in Higher Education Review Task Force with suggestions and comments. Our names and contact information are listed below.

The Task Force has endeavored to create a document that will be informative, useful and relevant to the work we do in academic libraries. Participation is key to our review process, so please take these opportunities to share your thoughts with us (and your colleagues). We look forward to a robust discussion both online and in person at ACRL 2011.

ACRL Standards for Libraries in Higher Education Task Force Members:

Patricia Iannuzzi (Chair), University of Nevada-Las Vegas: Patricia.iannuzzi@unlv.edu
Tom Abbott , University of Maine-Augusta: tabbott@maine.edu
Jeanne Brown, University of Nevada-Las Vegas: jeanne.brown@unlv.edu
Susan Gibbons, University of Rochester: sgibbons@library.rochester.edu
Lynne King, Schenectady County Community College: kinglo@sunysccc.edu
Sharon McCaslin, Fontbonne University: SMcCaslin@fontbonne.edu
Mary Reichel, Appalachian State University: reichelml@appstate.edu
Joan Ruelle, Hollins University: jruelle@hollins.edu
Lisa Stillwell, Franklin & Marshall College: lisa.stillwell@fandm.edu
Mary Jane Petrowski, ACRL liaison: mpetrowski@ala.org

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Post 2: Introducing the 2011 ACRL Standards for Libraries in Higher Education

The 2011 ACRL draft Standards for Libraries in Higher Education (Standards) are designed to guide academic libraries in advancing and sustaining their role as partners in educating students, achieving their institutions’ missions, and positioning libraries as leaders in assessment and continuous improvement on their campuses. Libraries must demonstrate their value and document their contributions to overall institutional effectiveness and be prepared to address changes in higher education. These Standards were developed through study and consideration of new and emerging issues and trends in libraries, higher education, and accrediting practices.

These Standards differ from previous versions by articulating expectations for library contributions to institutional effectiveness. These Standards differ structurally by providing a comprehensive framework using an outcomes-based approach, with evidence collected in ways most appropriate for each institution.

Text: Introduction/ Sources Consulted/ Structure/ Adoption (PDF)

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Post 3: Nine Principles of the 2011 ACRL Standards for Libraries in Higher Education

The 2011 Standards are grounded in nine Principles, which reflect the core roles and contributions of libraries and were distilled from relevant higher education, accreditation, and professional documents.  A list of the sources consulted which influenced the development of the Principles can be found in Appendix 3 of the draft 2011 Standards.

Principles:

Institutional Effectiveness: Libraries define, develop, and measure outcomes that contribute to institutional effectiveness and apply findings for purposes of continuous improvement.

Professional Values: Libraries advance professional values of intellectual freedom, intellectual property rights and values, patron privacy and confidentiality, and user-centered service.

Educational Role: Libraries partner in the educational mission of the institution to develop and support information literate learners who can discover, access, and use information effectively for academic success, research, and lifelong learning.

Discovery: Libraries enable users to discover information in all formats through effective use of technology and organization of knowledge.

Collections: Libraries provide access to collections sufficient in quality, depth, diversity, format and currency to support the research and teaching missions of the institution.

Space: Libraries are the intellectual commons where users interact with ideas in both physical and virtual environments to expand learning and facilitate the creation of new knowledge.

Management/Administration: Libraries engage in continuous planning and assessment to inform resource allocation and to meet their mission effectively and efficiently.

Personnel: Libraries provide sufficient number and quality of personnel to ensure excellence and to function successfully in an environment of continuous change.

External Relations: Libraries engage the campus and broader community through multiple strategies in order to advocate, educate, and promote their value.

Please give us your feedback on these Principles. Are they sufficiently comprehensive? Have we overlooked a key principle or two? Do these Principles adequately reflect the core roles and contributions of your library?

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Post 4: Performance Indicators for Principles 1 through 4

What follows below are the first four Principles with their related Performance Indicators. These are intended to be expectations — standards — which apply to all types of higher education libraries.  Nonetheless, each library must respond to its unique user population and institutional environment.

The 2011 Standards assume that each library will identify and select Performance Indicators that are congruent with its institution’s mission and contribute to institutional effectiveness.  A library may decide to create additional Performance Indicators that apply to its specific library type.  For example, a research library may want to add a Performance Indicator around open access, while a Performance Indicator concerning GED support might be appropriate for a community college.

Text: Principles 1 -4 (PDF)

Are there Performance Indicators, generally applicable to all types of higher education libraries, which should be added to what’s above? Is the relationship between the Principles and the Performance Indicators clear and intuitive?

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Post 5: Performance Indicators for Principles 5 through 9

What follows below are the last five Principles with their related Performance Indicators. Please keep in mind that these are intended to be expectations — standards — which apply to all types of higher education libraries.  Nonetheless, each library must respond to its unique user population and institutional environment.

The 2011 Standards assume that each library will identify and select Performance Indicators that are congruent with its institution’s mission and contribute to institutional effectiveness. A library may decide to create additional Performance Indicators that apply to its specific library type. For example, a research library may want to add a Performance Indicator around open access, while a Performance Indicator concerning GED support might be appropriate for a community college.

Text: Principles 5 – 9 (PDF)

Are there Performance Indicators, generally applicable to all types of higher education libraries, which should be added to what’s above? Is the relationship between the Principles and the Performance Indicators clear and intuitive?

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Post 6: Sample Outcomes for Selected Performance Indicators

It is the hope of the Task Force that these sample outcomes are just the start of what will be a growing body of sample outcomes that are shared broadly throughout the library community.

Text: Appendix 1, Sample Outcomes (PDF)

Does the relationship between Principles, Performance Indicators and Outcomes make sense? Can you start to imagine how you might try to measure outcomes using the methods of assessment that are available at your library and institution?

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Post 7: Benchmarking and Peer Comparisons

The Task Force received lot of feedback indicating that library staff are seeking tools to create both internal benchmarking and peer group comparisons. The high frequency of these types of inquiries to the ACRL office confirms this need. Consequently, the 2011 Standards have been designed, in part, to facilitate this type of benchmarking evaluation.

Appendix 2 of the 2011 Standards first explains the use and value of benchmarking and peer comparisons, and then suggests sources that can help with peer group identification. Once peer groups have been established, there are several sources from which peer data can be obtained, some of which are highlighted in the Appendix.

The Appendix ends with some sample ratios and metrics that may provide a good starting set for the development of a local benchmarking tool.

Text: Appendix 2 (PDF)

Is Appendix 2 on benchmarking and peer comparison useful to you?  Does the inclusion of benchmarking and peer comparison information into the 2011 Standards seem appropriate?  Are there key metrics that you find very useful which are missing from our sample list?

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Post 8: Concluding Remarks from the Task Force

That’s it! You have now worked your way through the draft of the 2011 ACRL Standards for Libraries in Higher Education. What do you think? Don’t be shy; we welcome any and all constructive comments.

Your participation is key to this review process. The Task Force has strived to create a document that will be informative, useful and relevant to the work we do in higher education libraries. If we have fallen short of that goal, we need you to tell us how and suggest ways that we can improve the Standards.

As a reminder, if you are attending the ACRL 2011 Conference, we invite you to attend (and comment) at our public hearing —scheduled for April 1 from 1:30-3:00 p.m. in the Independence Ballroom, Philadelphia Marriott Downtown Hotel, located at 1201 Market Street, Philadelphia.

You may also contact any member of the ACRL Standards for Libraries in Higher Education Review Task Force with suggestions and comments.

We look forward to a robust discussion both online and in person at ACRL 2011!

ACRL Standards for Libraries in Higher Education Task Force Members:

Patricia Iannuzzi (Chair), University of Nevada-Las Vegas: Patricia.iannuzzi@unlv.edu
Tom Abbott , University of Maine-Augusta: tabbott@maine.edu
Jeanne Brown, University of Nevada-Las Vegas: jeanne.brown@unlv.edu
Susan Gibbons, University of Rochester: sgibbons@library.rochester.edu
Lynne King, Schenectady County Community College: kinglo@sunysccc.edu
Sharon McCaslin, Fontbonne University: SMcCaslin@fontbonne.edu
Mary Reichel, Appalachian State University: reichelml@appstate.edu
Joan Ruelle, Hollins University: jruelle@hollins.edu
Lisa Stillwell, Franklin & Marshall College: lisa.stillwell@fandm.edu
Mary Jane Petrowski, ACRL liaison: mpetrowski@ala.org

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