Association of Research Libraries

University of Washington Libraries

Library Assessment Conference

Building Effective, Sustainable, Practical Assessment

2018 Library Assessment Conference
Houston, Texas
December 5–7, 2018

2010 Workshops

Full-Day Workshops

Date: Sunday, October 24, 2010
Time: 9:00am – 4:30pm
Fee: $130 per workshop

(1) Getting Started with Learning Outcomes Assessment: Purposes, Practical Options, and Impact
(2) Working Effectively with LibQUAL+®

Half-Day Workshops

Date: Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Time: 1:30pm – 5:00pm
Fee: $80 per workshop

(3) Best Practices in Graphical Data Presentation
(4) Successful Current Practices: Getting Returns on Investment (ROI)!
(5) Successfully Managing Change with the Balanced Scorecard
(6) Telling the Story

1. Getting Started with Learning Outcomes Assessment: Purposes, Practical Options, and Impact

Leader: Megan Oakleaf (iSchool, Syracuse University)

Time: 9:00am – 4:30pm

Tasked with assessing information literacy on your campus? Confused about your options? Dissatisfied with assessments you’ve already attempted? Intended for librarians considering, commencing, or retooling a plan for assessing student learning outcomes, this full-day workshop will include mini-lectures, discussion, and hands-on, scenario-based activities to engage participants in answering three questions:

  1. What is the purpose of learning outcomes assessment in my library?
  2. What assessment tools can I use? What are the strengths and limitations of each? How do I choose the right one for my campus?
  3. How will my choices impact teaching and learning? How will I “close the loop”?
  4. How might I use learning outcomes assessment to highlight the value of my library to my overarching institution?

Megan Oakleaf is an Assistant Professor in the iSchool at Syracuse University where she is professor of record for “Planning, Marketing, and Assessing Library Services.” Her research interests include outcomes assessment, evidence-based decision making, information literacy instruction, information services, and digital librarianship. She is also on the faculty of the ACRL Institute for Information Literacy Immersion Program and the author of an upcoming ACRL report on the value of academic libraries. Oakleaf completed her dissertation entitled, “Assessing Information Literacy Skills: A Rubric Approach,” at the School of Information and Library Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Previously, Oakleaf served as Librarian for Instruction and Undergraduate Research at North Carolina State University. In this role, she trained fellow reference librarians in instructional theory and methods, provided library instruction for the First-Year Writing Program and First-Year College, and spearheaded the development of the LOBO tutorial. Prior to a career in librarianship, Oakleaf taught advanced composition in Ohio public secondary schools.

[back to top]

2. Working Effectively with LibQUAL+®

Time: 9:00am – 4:30pm

Leaders: Raynna Bowlby and Martha Kyrillidou (Association of Research Libraries)

The administration of a user survey is a significant investment for any library and it raises expectations among members of the user community and among staff. Many aspects of the LibQUAL+® survey administration process have been streamlined and there is rapid access to data and results. But some libraries indicate that they are not well-prepared to work effectively with and act upon the results, once received. This workshop will enable staff responsible for administering the LibQUAL+® survey to develop work plans that they can apply in their libraries in order to: perform some simple analyses of the quantitative and qualitative results data, present the results visually, make comparisons, identify what is actionable, organize their colleagues and committees to work with LibQUAL+®, present the results effectively to different stakeholders, utilize data to target areas for improvement, and develop a process of continuous assessment.

Audience: Survey administrators and members of assessment groups/teams.

  • Calculating statistics
  • Determining representativeness
  • Preparing customized charts & graphs
  • Using norms tables
  • Making peer comparisons
  • Doing longitudinal analysis
  • Identifying what is actionable
  • Identifying roles & responsibilities
  • Presenting results to stakeholders
  • Engaging others in understanding & utilizing the results
  • Targeting incremental improvements
  • Applying data in decision-making
  • Identifying & using best practices
  • Integrating w/other assessments
  • Planning next steps

Pre-assignment: Review online tutorial "Learn to Read Radar Charts"; Bring results notebook to session

Raynna Bowlby serves as a Consultant to ARL’s Statistics & Service Quality Programs. As a consultant, Raynna develops and delivers consulting and training support for libraries in areas including organizational development, strategic planning, work analysis, human resource allocation and training, implementation of process improvement and new work processes, and assessment initiatives. Raynna is also affiliated with the Simmons College Graduate School of Library & Information Science (GSLIS) as Adjunct Faculty teaching Principles of Management and also as a Recruiting Coordinator. Formerly Raynna worked for twenty years in the Brown University Library, with 10 years as the organizational and staff development officer. She was responsible for library assessment activities and was the administrator of Brown’s LibQUAL+® survey in 2005. Raynna has an MLS from Simmons College and an MBA, with a specialization in General Management and Organizational Behavior, from the University of Rhode Island.

Martha Kyrillidou, Senior Director of the ARL Statistics and Service Quality Programs, has led ARL's statistics and measurement activities since 1994. She is responsible for identifying tools for measuring the organizational performance and effectiveness of academic and research libraries, leading the StatsQUAL® program that includes assessment tools such as LibQUAL+®, ClimateQUAL®, MINES for Libraries®, and DigiQUAL®. Previously, Martha worked in the Library Research Center at the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the Bureau of Research at the School of Education at Kent State University. Martha has an MLS and an MEd with specialization in Evaluation and Measurement from Kent State University; and a PhD in library and information science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (2009). In 2007, she received Kent State's School of Library and Information Science Alumni of the Year Award; in 1988-89, a Fulbright Scholarship.

[back to top]

3. Best Practices in Graphical Data Presentation


Time: 1:30pm – 5:00pm

Leader: Ray Lyons

Charts and graphs are a primary means for presenting quantitative information in virtually all fields, including science, medicine, business, education, and government. Despite their ubiquitous use, especially in the popular media, the principles for creating high quality graphs and charts are frequently misunderstood or intentionally ignored.

This session will provide a survey of best practices in graphical presentation of quantitative information. We will explore principles for creating effective graphs and charts as espoused by leading experts such as William S. Cleveland, Edward Tufte, and Howard Wainer.

The key requirements for the graphical presentation of quantitative data are clarity, accuracy, fairness, and thoroughness. Session topics include selection of chart types appropriate for the data, devising informative labeling, use of color and fonts, enhancing the interpretability of data points, choosing axis scaling, avoiding “chartjunk,” transforming data to reveal latent patterns, communicating numerical evidence effectively, and using graphs in intermediate analytical steps to gain a fuller understanding of the data. Hands-on exercises will allow participants to create and refine graphs based on these cardinal principles.

Ray Lyons is an independent consultant in statistical programming, library evaluation, and software implementation. He is the co-designer of the Library Journal Index of Public Library Service. His articles have appeared in Public Library Quarterly, Public Libraries, Evidence Based Library and Information Practice, and Library Statistics for the 21st Century World (IFLA Publication 138). He has been a presenter on library assessment topics at symposia organized by ARL, PLA, and the Ohio Library Council. His blog on library evaluation and performance measurement is at

[back to top]

4. Successful Current Practices: Getting Returns on Investment (ROI)!

Time: 1:30pm – 5:00pm

Leaders: Neal K. Kaske (NOAA) and Roberta Shaffer (Library of Congress)

This workshop will provide a spectrum of current valuation practices/methodologies being used with a discussion of the problems and benefits of their use. The leaders will draw on their experiences with assessment methods in NOAA libraries, the Library of Congress, and academic libraries where they spent a good part of their careers. In particular the workshop will focus on examining “Return on Effort” as an effectiveness measure where institutions are asked to look at the costs of current processes/efforts and deciding to continue or discontinue a process; cutting out what is not needed and the surrounding decision making process. The concept of “Intellectual influence” and the “expected value of our efforts” will also be discussed. This involves comparing the cost of current processes/efforts with the expected value provided to customers and demonstrating how libraries help in intangible ways while placing a dollar value on these services and activities. Last issues related to the “economic impact of libraries” and how they save other community stakeholders money will be discussed. Return on Investment (ROI) applications will also be discussed as they have been applied to select library services.

Neal Kaske is Director of the NOAA Central & Regional Libraries at National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). He is active library evaluation researcher and is currently working to document the value of online database and journal use. His experience includes federal and academic library administration, teaching, research, national survey and statistical management, research management, and grant management.

Roberta I. Shaffer was appointed as the 22nd Law Librarian of Congress in August, 2009. She had been serving as the Executive Director of the Federal Library and Information Center Committee/Federal Library Network at the Library of Congress since 2005. Roberta has held previous positions with the University of Texas at Austin, the University of Maryland, George Washington University Law School, the University of Houston Law Center, and the Law Library of Congress. She has been a Fulbright Senior Research Scholar in Israel and Portugal. [back to top]

5. Successfully Managing Change with the Balanced Scorecard

Time: 1:30pm - 5:00pm

Leader: Donna Tolson (University of Virginia)

Is your library overwhelmed with projects and initiatives? Are you having trouble finding resources to develop in new directions? Do your staff know which priorities are most important to your mission? The Balanced Scorecard, a management approach designed to manage change and implement strategy, may be just what you need.

Appropriate for anyone involved with mission, strategic planning, or assessment, this workshop will introduce you to the concept of the Balanced Scorecard, an assessment-based management approach used for 20 years in the private sector, and more recently adopted by governmental agencies, non-profit organizations, and libraries. You will learn how to develop a strategy map, draft some goals for your organization, and discuss scorecard metrics and targets. Through case studies, you will hear about the challenges and advantages realized by a few libraries that have used this approach to manage change in their organizations.

The workshop will be led by Donna Tolson from the University of Virginia (UVa) Library. The UVa Library implemented the Balanced Scorecard in 2001, under Jim Self’s leadership. Donna has worked closely with Jim on the scorecard since 2004, and chaired the scorecard committee for several years. As part of a recent ARL initiative, she and colleagues from ARL, Johns Hopkins University, McMaster University, and the University of Washington worked with consultants from Ascendant Strategy Management Group to learn how to refine the Balanced Scorecard approach to manage change in mission-driven organizations such as libraries. As a result of this initiative, UVa has recently revisited their scorecard program, aligning it more centrally to their strategic planning process. Donna will share her Library’s experiences, and you will hear from some of the other library partners in the ARL initiative as well.

Donna is currently Head of Clemons Library, the undergraduate and media services at library at UVa. Previously she served as Head of the Scholars’ Lab, a collaborative venture between the Library and the University’s IT division. Prior to joining the Library, she worked for twenty years in the areas of demographic research for the Commonwealth of Virginia, and at the U.S. Census Bureau.

[back to top]

6. Telling the Story

Time: 1:30pm - 5:00pm

Leader: John Bertot (University of Maryland)

Increasingly, libraries are being asked to demonstrate the value that they bring to their communities. Too often, librarians rely on data or stories without considering their audiences, how best to use their data, or developing a narrative that weaves library services, resources, and impact. This session focuses on helping librarians develop data-driven advocacy products and strategies to articulate library value, impact, quality, and use. In particular, the session will discuss messaging, branding, audience targeting, and creating a range of outreach approaches through web-based content, publications, webinars, social media technologies, and others.

Dr. John Carlo Bertot serves as Director of the Center for Library & Information Innovation,, and Associate Director for Research for the Center for Information Policy and Electronic Government,, in the College of Information Studies at the University of Maryland. His research spans library and government agency technology planning and evaluation, information and telecommunications policy, and e-government. Bertot serves as chair of the International Standards Organization’s (ISO) Library Performance Indicator working group and serves as a member of the National Information Standards Organization’s (NISO) Business Information Topic committee. Bertot is past Chair of the American Library Association’s (ALA) Library Research Round Table, and is President-elect of the Digital Government Society of North America. With funding from the American Library Association and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Bertot directs the public library survey component of the Public Library Funding & Technology Access study.

The Public Library Funding &Technology Access study produces a large amount of data that describes and supports public library public Internet access services. The study team has increasingly developed techniques and approaches to using the data for advocacy purposes, producing issue briefs, state profiles, press releases, presentations, and a number of other tools designed to help libraries: 1) advocate for resources to support public computing and Internet activities; 2) demonstrate the impact of public computing and Internet on the communities libraries serve; and 3) inform policy makers on the critical role public libraries play in key areas of employment and e-government. More information regarding the study and the advocacy tools is available at

[back to top]