The University of Tennessee, Knoxville School of Information Sciences has been awarded an IMLS grant to study the value of academic libraries. It will collaborate with the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Libraries and the Association of Research Libraries.
Here's an excerpt from the press release :
Carol Tenopir, a professor in the School of Information Sciences, is the lead investigator on the project; Paula Kaufman, University Librarian and Dean of Libraries at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, is a co-principal investigator; and Martha Kyrillidou, Senior Director for Statistics and Service Quality Programs, is leading the project from ARL.
The three-year grant, entitled "Value, Outcomes, and Return on Investment of Academic Libraries (Lib-Value)," will work to enrich, expand, test, and implement methodologies measuring the return on investment (ROI) in academic libraries.
"There is an increasing need for academic librarians to demonstrate the return on investment and value of the library to the various stakeholders of the institution and to guide library management in the redirection of library funds to important products and services for the future," Tenopir said. Academic libraries actively participate in the many changes in scholarship, such as the move to e-science, collaborative and participatory scholarship, and focus on new materials such as data, multimedia, and born-digital assets. To remain relevant and central to the academic mission in the future, academic librarians need to be able to demonstrate the value that the academic library provides to the campus community using proven methods of measurement that will allow librarians to determine where their efforts should be concentrated and how funding should be allocated.
The results of the study will provide evidence and a set of tested methodologies and tools to help academic librarians demonstrate how the library provides value to its constituents and ROI to its funders, and to measure which products and services are of most value to enhancing the university’s mission. This project will greatly expand upon earlier studies to consider multiple measures of value that the academic library brings to teaching/learning, research, and social/professional/public engagement functions of the academic institution.
To ensure that the process will be rigorous, realistic, and highly visible in the academic library and university community, an experienced team of academic librarians and outstanding researchers bring their leadership, built on many years of experience, to the project. Two well-known researchers in the library field will serve as consultants: Bruce Kingma, an economist at Syracuse University, and Donald W. King, a statistician at the University of North Carolina at Chapel-Hill. Additional project participants include: Gayle Baker, Ken Wise, Rachel Fleming-May, Regina Mays, Crystal Sherline, and Andrea Baer at the University of Tennessee; Tina Chrzastowski at the University of Illinois; and Henry Gross, Gary Roebuck, and David Green at ARL.