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Library Assessment

Assessment Snapshot (PDF)

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.

Data gathering


This image generated from data from the 2011 Student Satisfaction Inventory shows how important students consider the library to their academic success

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 information about collections is available on the collections page.

Feedback from users

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.

2012 Survey

2009 LibQual

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 measure impact on student learning primarily through classroom assessment, where students complete a research-related activity or exercise in the library classroom, and then the work is evaluated based on learning outcomes chosen in advance of the library instruction session. We value direct assessment measures of student learning, which generally means looking at student work rather than surveying students about their learning or about their satisfaction. We are also informed by our evaluation of completed student work that is collected at the end of the semester. It is possible for librarians to see differences between the work of students who interacted with the Libraries while completing their assignments and those who did not.

Library faculty have played an important role in the development and implementation of the UNLV general education program. The general education curriculum includes a clear articulation of desired learning outcomes for all students and 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 University Undergraduate Learning Outcomes, or UULOs, include information literacy-related objectives that are closely aligned with skills and ideas taught by librarians in library instruction sessions. As the general education program continues to be implemented, librarians plan to assess student outcomes related to information literacy at all levels in the curriculum.

Academic libraries in the U.S. and internationally have begun to study the correlation between library usage and student outcomes such as retention and performance, and UNLV Libraries have plans to complete studies correlating library instruction and other services to student success. We are also pursuing a potential collaboration with other libraries in the Greater Western Library Alliance to study these phenomena across institutions. This will give us evidence of the impact of various library services as well as inform us on where our efforts could be more effective.

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.