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Athenaeum21 Facilitates the Association of Research Libraries' Vision for a Renewed Assessment Program

7 Dec 2017

Athenaeum21 is pleased to announce the release of the "ARL Assessment Program Visioning Task Force Recommendations" report. We have had the great pleasure of working with the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) Assessment Program Visioning Task Force since February 2017 in the research and development of the recommendations set forth in the report.  The task force's recommendations describe a forward-looking assessment program for ARL that advances the organizational outcomes of 21st-century research libraries.


The Visioning Task Force issued a request for proposals in November 2016 for the project, and selected Athenaeum21 from among multiple respondents, to help realize its charge. Our research for this project was extensive, and included multiple surveys, and over 80 needs-oriented interviews with administrative leaders and assessment professionals in libraries and research institutions across multiple continents.

Our research...included...over 80 needs-oriented interviews with administrative leaders and assessment professionals in libraries and research institutions across multiple continents.

This work was supplemented by usage analyses of all current ARL assessment-related services and tools, including the annual ARL Statistics®, Salary Surveys and StatsQUAL® suite survey instruments. This work was followed by a gap analysis between ARL members' needs and ARL's assessment services and tools. We also examined the current state of the broader library assessment landscape; assessment trends in higher education, research institutions and other industries; and broader movements in higher education and research institutions.


We learned in our research that there is a strong sense from ARL members that the program should continue to focus on supporting assessment in member libraries. Additionally, the needs of ARL member libraries and staff have evolved since the program’s inception. We found some important gaps between ARL members' needs and existing assessment-related services that presented opportunities for the evolution and re-alignment of ARL's assessment program. Through engaged discussion of the gaps, the task force worked to prioritize current services and tools, and new opportunities in the formulation of their recommendations to the ARL membership. The report sets forth detailed structures and recommendations for a renewed assessment program that the task force believes will better meet the assessment needs of ARL members going forward. 


The recommendations were presented to the ARL membership in October 2017 and now the ARL Assessment Committee is embarking on the next phase of implementation that is expected to continue through 2018. This second phase of work will include developing more specific recommendations and business models, along with plans for measuring the success of the revised program on an ongoing basis.


Read the report, "ARL Assessment Program Visioning Task Force Recommendations".


About the Association of Research Libraries

The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) is a nonprofit organization of 123 research libraries in the US and Canada. ARL’s mission is to influence the changing environment of scholarly communication and the public policies that affect research libraries and the diverse communities they serve. ARL pursues this mission by advancing the goals of its member research libraries, providing leadership in public and information policy to the scholarly and higher education communities, fostering the exchange of ideas and expertise, facilitating the emergence of new roles for research libraries, and shaping a future environment that leverages its interests with those of allied organizations. ARL is on the web at ARL.org.


About Athenaeum21 Consulting

Athenaeum21 (A21) is an international digital strategy and innovation consultancy serving organizations that want to derive more value from their past and future investments in data, information, knowledge management, and from the technologies that support them. A21’s approach includes data-driven, iterative assessment, strategy, and implementation, always aligning organizational missions and goals with end-user needs and behaviors. A21 clients include leading organizations in the research and development, publishing, higher education, and cultural heritage sectors in North America and Europe.



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