Value of Academic Libraries: A Comprehensive Research Review and Report

Value of Academic Libraries ReportACRL announces the release of “Value of Academic Libraries: A Comprehensive Research Review and Report.” Developed for ACRL by Megan Oakleaf of the iSchool at Syracuse University, this valuable resource reviews the quantitative and qualitative literature, methodologies, and best practices currently in place for demonstrating the value of academic libraries. The full report, along with supplemental materials, is freely available online.

Increasing recognition of the value of libraries and librarians by leaders in higher education, information technology, funding agencies, and campus decision making is one of ACRL’s six strategic priorities. Recognizing the sense of urgency around this issue, the report is intended to help academic librarians participate in the conversation and to identify resources to support them in demonstrating the value of academic libraries in clear, measurable ways.

“This report presents the vision and the reality of the value of academic libraries and their contributions to institutional goals and outcomes,” said ACRL President Lisa Hinchliffe of the University of Illinois at Urbana – Champaign. “Through it, we have a shared knowledge base for the association and our members as we pursue this strategic priority.”

The primary objective of this comprehensive review is to provide academic librarians and institutional leaders with a clearer understanding of what research about the performance of academic libraries already exists and where gaps in this research occur. The report additionally identifies the most promising best practices and measures correlated to performance and represents a starting point to assist college, university, and community college librarians in gathering evidence to tell the story of their libraries and promote dialogue on the value of the academic library in higher education.

“Documenting the evidence we have for the impact of academic libraries on student, faculty, and institutional success will enable library leaders to respond proactively to calls for accountability and return on investment. Identifying the gaps charts a path for the data we need to gather and analyze,” explained Hinchliffe. “In the coming months, the ACRL will be turning its attention to strategies for pursuing the research agenda recommended in the report, identifying funding sources for projects, and developing training and support materials for our members.”

The full report is now freely available on the ACRL Website, along with a separate executive summary for distribution to campus decision makers, a bibliography of sources consulted in the development of the report, a podcast interview with Hinchliffe and Oakleaf, and links to additional resources.

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