Your Name and Title: Kara Malenfant, Sr. Strategist for Special Initiatives


Library, School, or Organization Name: Association of College and Research Libraries


Co-Presenter Name(s): Mary Ellen Davis, Executive Director, ACRL


Area of the World from Which You Will Present: U.S.A. Chicago, IL


Language in Which You Will Present: English


Target Audience(s): Academic Librarians


Short Session Description (one line): Learn about the assessment work of the first 75 institutions participating in the Association of College and Research Libraries three year program “Assessment in Action: Academic Libraries and Student Success” to aid 300 postsecondary institutions of all types as they create engaged libraries of the future.


STRAND 6: Library and Information Professionals – Evolving Roles and Opportunities


Full Session Description (as long as you would like):

Academic librarians are connecting with campus partners in novel ways to question and discover how they bring value to their institutions. To foster these partnerships, the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL), with funding from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services, launched “Assessment in Action: Academic Libraries and Student Success” (AiA) to:

1)     Develop academic librarians’ professional competencies needed to document and communicate the value of the academic library in relation to an institution’s goals for student learning and success.

2)     Strengthen collaborative relationships with higher education stakeholders including campus faculty, faculty developers, and assessment officers.

3)     Contribute to higher education assessment by creating approaches, strategies, and practices that document the contribution of academic libraries.


The three-year AiA program is helping 300 postsecondary institutions of all types in developing campus partnerships needed to create the engaged library of the future. Its design is based on input from two invitational summits initiated in response to recommendations to build librarians’ capacity in this area. Each selected institution has a team with a librarian and at least two people from other campus units. The librarians participate in a formal 14-month professional development program and lead their campus teams in developing and implementing action-learning projects which examine the impact of the library on student success.


An important component of the AiA program is to establish a learning community where librarian team leaders participate in a 14-month long professional development program and develop professional skills. The goal is to help them apply what they learn in the AiA program in the real-world context of their campuses, building more effective campus collaborations in the process. The AiA program supports librarians in this learning journey. Being part of the AiA learning community is much more than learning new content. Librarians who participate improve their skills as effective leaders as they facilitate their campus team in completing an action-learning project. Furthermore, librarian team leaders dedicate themselves to engaging with each other as a learning community.


The action learning projects consider different aspects of the academic library (e.g., collections, space, instruction, reference, etc.) and must ultimately be tied to student learning (e.g., course, program, or degree learning outcomes) and/or success (e.g., student retention, completion, or persistence). We do not expect that all projects will yield generalizable results; however, many projects will be replicable at other libraries or contain elements which will be transferable to other settings. All team members will engage in a peer review process, providing feedback about projects being developed by other participating teams. The projects themselves will be documented and disseminated for use by the wider academic library and higher education communities and a grant evaluation will identify high impact practices. The program itself and the results of the collaborative campus projects have the potential for significant impact.


This session will report on the first 75 institutions selected to participate in 2012-13. Learn about the questions the teams are exploring as they develop and implement action-learning projects on campus. Participants will leave with an understanding of how their institutions can participate in the Assessment in Action program in future years.


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