ACRL Awarded Second IMLS Grant to Build Profession’s Capacity to Demonstrate Value

The Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) has been awarded a National Leadership Demonstration Grant by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) for the project “Assessment in Action: Academic Libraries and Student Success.” The grant funding of $249,330 will support ACRL, in partnership with the Association for Institutional Research (AIR) and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU), and build on their IMLS 2011 Collaborative Planning Grant which convened two invitational summits. With this grant, a professional development program to strengthen the competencies of librarians in campus leadership and data-informed advocacy will be designed, implemented and evaluated.

“I am delighted with IMLS’ decision to provide continuing support for ACRL’s commitment to helping academic libraries demonstrate alignment with, and impact on, institutional outcomes, the goal of ACRL’s Value of Academic Libraries initiative,” said ACRL President Steven J. Bell, associate university librarian for research and instructional services at Temple University.

“Continuing our work with our higher education partners AIR and APLU is an exciting opportunity to further engage librarians in the broader campus assessment initiatives,” added ACRL Executive Director Mary Ellen K. Davis.

Three hundred institutions will participate in the project (Year 1: 75 institutions; Year 2: 100 institutions; Year 3: 125 institutions). Each participating institution will identify a team, consisting of a librarian and at least two additional team members as determined by the campus (e.g., faculty member, student affairs representative, institutional researchers, or academic administrator). The librarians will participate as cohorts in a one-year professional development program that includes team-based activities carried out on their campuses.

“I am pleased to continue APLU’s partnership with ACRL on this grant to more effectively assess the impact of university libraries on learning and to use that information to enhance student success,” said APLU President Peter McPherson.

“Institutional researchers and librarians have long been partners in using data to improve institutional performance,” Randy Swing, executive director of the Association for Institutional Research, noted. “This grant allows us to raise the bar for using data to prove and improve the impact of libraries on student learning and success.”

Librarians who participate in the program, supported by a blended learning environment and a peer-to-peer network, will lead their campus teams in the development and implementation of an action learning project examining the impact of the library on student success and contributing to assessment activities on their campus. The projects will result in a variety of approaches to assessing library impact on student learning which will be documented and disseminated for use by the wider academic library and higher education communities. The different perspectives and experiences represented by the institutional team members will foster a collaborative approach to assessing the library’s impact on student learning and success on the campus of each participating institution.

Information about how to apply to participate in the first cohort will be available in January 2013.  Contact Kara Malenfant, ACRL senior strategist for special initiatives, at or (312) 280-2510 with questions about the grant or the Value of Academic Libraries initiative.