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Association of Research Libraries (ARL®)

  Statistics & Assessment Contact:
Martha Kyrillidou
Organizational Performance Assessment

Process & Outcomes

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The OPAL service starts with a conversation about your library’s needs and objectives in the areas of assessment, planning, and institutional alignment. What are stakeholder and user expectations for the library and how well poised is the library to demonstrate that it is meeting these expectations?

Early in the consultation, an inventory will be made of your library’s current assessment methodologies with an eye toward their integration with institutional and library planning and decision making. These initial activities will focus on your library’s specific desired outcomes so that the consultation can be tailored to your individual institution.

A site visit to your campus, typically of one-and-a-half days in length, may include presentations and/or training for all or selected staff as well as consulting work with senior leadership and those involved in management, planning, and assessment.

Follow-up will include a short report with focused recommendations or customized to continue working with your library on specific projects or activities.

Based upon their current demands and existing capabilities, libraries may choose to focus an OPAL consultation on either strategy management and organizational performance assessment or on library assessment and performance metrics:

Strategy Management and Organizational Performance Assessment will guide you in incorporating e-library assessment as part of strategy and performance management. We will consider how your library goals and objectives are aligned with your institutional mission and the core activities of faculty, students, researchers, clinicians, and other customers. OPAL will help you to design and implement methods to assess library performance and customer value, highlighting a set of key outcome-based performance measures—such as documenting how the library contributes to student learning and/or facilitates faculty research. We will introduce effective planning and organizational performance methodologies, such as the Balanced Scorecard. Overall, OPAL will seek to create strategic capacity within your organization by cultivating senior library leaders to integrate strategy and performance, and by assisting middle managers to focus more on what’s strategic and less on ongoing operations. We will facilitate the understanding by your staff of the link between strategy and performance. The consultation will pave the way for you to communicate library performance and value to users and stakeholders.

Library Assessment and Performance Metrics will help libraries develop or recalibrate a library assessment program, including identification of relevant performance metrics. Elements could include building the essential elements of a library assessment program aligned with mission and institutional needs; establishing performance measures that demonstrate library value and meet user expectations; analyzing and reporting assessment data effectively to different audiences; benchmarking data against selected peer institutions; and managing data so that it is easily accessible and usable. We can assist you in composing summative and formative evaluation reports for formal self-studies (such as institutional accreditation) or for more focused reviews.

We can work with you on choosing the assessment methods appropriate to your need. We have broad experience designing customized surveys and working with standardized surveys such as LibQUAL+® and can assist in a range of survey activities including design, implementation, analysis, and use. OPAL can help libraries take advantage of the analysis and community-building capabilities of StatsQUAL®—ARL’s gateway to library assessment tools—and can also advise on other methods and techniques, including those needed to obtain qualitative information.