UNLV Libraries are committed to continuous improvement and we have worked hard to create a culture of assessment throughout the Libraries. During its 2010 accreditation review by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, the university received a commendation for University Libraries for its “highly effective and robust program of assessment data gathering that is used on an ongoing basis to improve resources and services.” The Libraries approach to assessment is reflected in the 2011 Association of College and Research Libraries Standards for Libraries in Higher Education.* It includes user-centered measurable outcomes, and collection of evidence that is used for decision-making, continuous improvement, and demonstration of the value added by the Libraries to the institutional mission. The Libraries Strategic Plan aligns with institutional mission and priority and provides the blueprint for the collection of evidence that demonstrates how the Libraries contribute.
The Libraries collects data that can show trends and changes in the use of resources and services. That data, analyzed by staff, becomes the basis for adapting services, and identifying new areas to investigate. Each year the Libraries’ Assessment Unit compiles the Uniform Statistics document with tabs for statistics on collections, space, instruction classes, web materials and more. Library staff review the statistics to determine patterns and interpret meaning in order to inform new or evolving activities and services.
Collections data is continuously collected in order to inform collections decisions. Libraries monitor cost, rate of inflation, use, cost per use, circulation for physical materials (by discipline), document delivery, and other more detailed measures at the title level in order to maintain an understanding of use and value. Information collected is shared with faculty through the liaisons and through focus groups. More details about collections data is available at: [need something here]
University Libraries solicit feedback from library users and non-users alike. We conduct major surveys of undergraduates, graduate students and faculty every three years. Our most recent survey was in fall 2012. The summary report and data files are linked to below. Prior to the 2012 survey, we administered the LibQual+ survey in 2009 (LibQual+ is a nationally normed library survey). Those results are also linked to below.
- UNLV Libraries 2012 User Survey Summary Report (PDF)
- Fall 2012 Undergraduate Survey Data Report (PDF)
- Fall 2012 Graduate Survey Data Report (PDF)
- Fall 2012 Faculty Survey Data Report (PDF)
The Libraries works with other groups on campus to ensure library related questions on campus-wide surveys administered to students and alumni. For example, the 2011-2012 Graduating Senior Exit Survey showed 92% of graduating seniors satisfied with library resources!
Measuring Impact on Student Learning
The Libraries struggle with methodology for how best to measure impact on student learning. Satisfaction, use/participation, surveys, and self-reports are unsatisfactory methods for assessing student learning. Correlation between library experiences (use, participation etc) and academic performance can, at best, indicate possibilities for further exploration but are fraught with challenges for data collection. The Libraries are nonetheless committed to pursuing such options in the hopes that data collected will yield significant correlation to inform a research agenda. A more meaningful approach would be through the actual assessment of specific information literacy learning outcomes embedded in the curriculum and measured through assessment methods put into place by academic programs. To that end, library faculty have been part of the development and implementation of the new UNLV general education program. The new curriculum not only includes a clear articulation of desired learning outcomes for all students, it also provides a coherent vertical pathway that maps those outcomes at the beginning, in the middle, and at the end of a student’s academic career at UNLV. The Libraries Instruction Framework provides a plan for how to map information literacy learning outcomes strategically across the curriculum.
Reports to campus and outside agencies
University Libraries report library data to a variety of individuals, groups and agencies, including members of the campus, the Association of College and Research Libraries, and the National Center for Educational Statistics.
*The national task force to revise the ACRL Standards was chaired by UNLV Libraries Dean Patricia Iannuzzi. Head of Library Assessment, Jeanne Brown, was also on the task force. The new standards set the bar for all academic libraries in the United States.