OPAL—Organizational Performance Assessment for Libraries—is a consulting service offered through the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) to help academic libraries effectively integrate strategy, planning, and assessment within the institution so that ultimately the library is well prepared to demonstrate its value in advancing the organization.
OPAL can guide the library to establish effective strategies aligned with its university mission and vision, to monitor and document progress toward plans and goals, and to provide stakeholders with a persuasive and easily understandable summary of the library’s role in the academy.
OPAL can focus the library on strategic decision making and on collecting, analyzing, and presenting information that demonstrates the library’s impact, outcomes, and value.
OPAL is the successor to, and builds upon, the Effective, Sustainable, and Practical Assessment (ESP) initiative developed by ARL Visiting Program Officers Jim Self (U. of Virginia) and Steve Hiller (U. of Washington), working with Martha Kyrillidou, ARL Senior Director of Statistics and Service Quality Programs. The ESP initiative supported consultations with 42 libraries from 2005 to 2010. In early 2011, Raynna Bowlby joined the ARL team and augments the capabilities of these experienced ESP consultants with additional expertise in consulting, training, and organizational development.