Demonstrating Library Value Remains Elusive Goal
LISU report commissioned by SAGE uncovers examples of best practice from international library communityJune 25, 2012
Los Angeles, CA (19 June, 2012) – Providing evidence of value remains an elusive goal for academic libraries across geographic borders, according to a new report published today. The findings are the results of a six-month research project commissioned by SAGE, which sets out recommendations for academic libraries to enhance their working relationship with academic teaching and research staff. ‘Working together: evolving value for academic libraries’ was undertaken by LISU, a national research and information centre based in the Department of Information Science at Loughborough University (UK).
Findings from three geographic areas, the United States, United Kingdom and Scandinavia, indicated that there is no systematic evidence of the value of academic libraries for teaching and research staff. Despite this, librarians noted that they receive positive feedback about the support the library provides, but there is a perception that academic staff do not really know how to use all that the library can offer.
The findings are based on eight case studies: in the USA at Purdue University; Towson University; University of Utah; and Wake Forest University; in the UK at the University of Nottingham and University of Sussex; and in Scandinavia at Karolinska Institutet, Sweden and; Oslo and Akerhus University College, Norway. Additionally a survey was undertaken by 630 librarians in the same regions to compare findings.
Outlined in the report are three key issues identified by librarians as being central to working together with faculty. These are: value measurement and perception; working together with researchers and teachers; and raising awareness about library products and services. The report sets out examples of best practice and makes a series of recommendations for libraries and university management to improve the perceived value of academic libraries with teaching and research staff.
The report highlights the need for individual libraries to develop teaching skills: embedded teaching and co-teaching are extremely valued by teaching staff, who can observe the benefits in the quality of the assignments they receive from students. Communication was also viewed as a key. This includes building an increased understanding of marketing skills, as well as greater personal relationships with teaching and research departments. Confidence in librarianship skills and the motivation of library staff to take on these new roles was seen as vital to success.