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A21 Shares New Insights and Library Assessment Success Models at the International Conference on Performance Management in Libraries in Oxford, UK

24 Jul 2017

Athenaeum21's (A21's) co-founders Christine Madsen and Megan Hurst will present "Contextualizing Library Assessment Within a Broader Ecosystem: Proposed Models for Linking the Strategic to the Micro" at the International Conference on Performance Management in Libraries in Oxford, UK on Monday, July 31, 2017.



Between 2015 and 2017, Hurst and Madsen have conducted 96 interviews with 91 people about library assessment in academic libraries and its current state in their institutions. Interviews were conducted with library directors and leaders (associate directors, associate university librarians), library assessment practitioners, other library staff, faculty and other campus partners, and leaders and experts in the academic library community.


The first 17 interviews were conducted in 2016 as part of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation-funded project “Library Assessment Toolkit & Dashboard Scoping Project", a six-month research project in collaboration with the University
Library of the University of California, Davis; the Bodleian Libraries of the University of Oxford; and the Staats und Universitätsbibliothek, Göttingen, Germany. The research project examined how libraries currently assess their resources and services, and areas of opportunity to streamline and visualize library performance through a common and customizable set of key performance indicators (KPIs) and dashboard modules.

The following 79 interviews were conducted in 2017 on behalf of the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) as part of a collaboration with their Assessment Program Visioning Task Force in the development of a forward-looking assessment program that advances the organizational outcomes of the 21st-century research library. ARL is a non-profit organization of 124 research libraries at comprehensive, research institutions in the US and Canada that share similar research missions, aspirations, and achievements.


Based on the research from these extensive interviews and multiple surveys, A21 proposes a  modular, flexible model to understand the library assessment landscape at its broadest, and to help libraries contextualize their own unique assessment efforts and measures of success within their larger ecosystems.


The Library Assessment Success Model identifies library assessment best practices within each of the library and extra-library landscape core areas pictured above. The model enables libraries to choose the areas relevant to them, and evaluate their situation against checklists of best practices for each of the core areas. Reviewing the associated checklist enables a library to identify where it falls relative to the best practices that have resulted in robust cultures of assessment at other libraries, and to formulate plans to strengthen its assessment capabilities, practices, and culture.


Dr Christine Madsen is co-founder and principal of Athenaeum21 Consulting, where she works with libraries and museums around the world on digital strategy and innovation. She is expert in building large-scale systems that use technology to connect researchers, teachers, and students with library and learning resources. Her background is in digitization and digital scholarship, understanding both how to digitize and why we should. Previously, she has worked as Head of Digital Programmes at the Bodleian Libraries, as well as leading the Open Collections Program (OCP) at Harvard.


Megan Hurst works at the intersection of data-driven user experience and library assessment. She is expert in eliciting and understanding the behaviors of both library users and the librarians who serve them, and developing systems and interfaces that more intuitively support information-seekers' needs and behaviors. She is co-founder and principal of Athenaeum21 Consulting, where she works with libraries and museums around the world on digital strategy and user experience.


The International Conference on Performance Management in Libraries brings together practitioners, researchers, educators and students interested in all aspects of performance and measurement in library and information services in any context. The Conference was previously known as the Northumbria International Conference on Performance Measurement in Libraries and Information Services. The ethos and aim of the conference remains the same and the name change merely reflects the fact that the Conference will be hosted beyond the region of Northumbria in the future.


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