Working Together evolving library value: initial findings

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‘Working together: evolving value for academic libraries’ is a six-month research project investigating the value of academic libraries for teaching and research staff. SAGE commissioned LISU to undertake the research in December 2011. Now halfway through the project, two UK case studies are complete, and those in US and Scandinavia are underway.
Some initial results have been compiled into a short presentation to coincide with the UKSG conference.

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  • You can find an accompanying summary to these slides here http://libraryvalue.files.wordpress.com/2012/01/working-together-lisu-article.pdf
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  • Preliminary resultsBased on UK case studiesEarly indications of where libraries add value for teaching and research staffVery tentative at this stageWatch this space…
  • Library is aligned with University strategic goals and vision. Not necessarily traditional ‘academic librarians’, some institutions are moving away from the concept of subject-librarians as the ’designated’ library contacts for departmentsLibrary input valued at high level within the institution, on standing and ad-hoc committees
  • ‘Information literacy’ label seen as technical jargon which can be off-putting - academic staff as well as students find it difficult to understand what it means.Academic needs vary, in complex ways, and academic staff do not always know what the library can provide.
  • Range of services and support offered – again about meeting the needs teaching and research staff didn’t know they had, as well as the ones they did.academic staff don’t respond very well to the idea of being trained – those sessions are often called ‘awareness raising’ or ‘engagement’ or ‘library skills’ sessionsREF and bibliometrics – academic staff often find it difficult to identify bibliometrics and REF-related issues as part of the library’s expertise.Creation of research community with library seminar events on research issues such as impact, data management, bibliometrics, public engagement, and with the creation of a physical space entirely dedicated to doctoral students and academic staff in order to boost interaction as well as the sense of a research community within the institution
  • Communication is a two-way system: you need somebody at both ends.Traditional communication seen to be more effective than social media – at least with teaching and research staff (students will use facebook…)Library faculty user group and academic library representative are two successful ways to convey information out to academic staffLibrary blogs – not as successful as hopedInvolving academic staff in collection development and projects very successful University committee structure used as a tool to disseminate information and obtain feedbackPersonal relationships and informal communication seemed to be essential in building good working relationship with academic departments. Communication with departments varies from one department to another and also from one individual to another.For example, librarians seem to have stronger relationships with Humanities than with Sciences.
  • Pick up ideas from other departments who market their services to teaching and researchstaff, and copy their successesPromotion of library services targeted to academics who haven’t used them, or in subjects where students haven’t used themGetting rid of the jargon is key
  • Some faculty are very appreciative, and know what the library does. Others are less engaged and less appreciative of the work librarians do, and will be put off by the jargon of librarianshipChanging perceptions doesn’t happen overnight – it takes work!
  • In the context of fee revisions and NSS scores, libraries are aware that they need to be able to demonstrate their value, therefore need to use the evidence they haveStaff feedback can provide powerful direct evidence of impact for particular servicesKPIs (Key Performance Indicators) collected regularly and reported provide more indirect evidence, as long as they are the right KPIs.
  • Library must align with wider institutional goals, and show how it contributes to those goals. Value for money also key, overall, but also in context of individual resources and services, especially subscribed services, which are becoming ever more costly.
  • Now halfway through the project. UK case studies are complete, those in US and Scandinavia still need more work.Developing a general, short, survey for librarians to validate the findings from what is a relatively small number of case studies – this will go live shortly, and we would like to encourage everyone to fill it in, and let us know what you think about library value.
  • Had a good response from the library community so far, but we always want more, so please let us know your views, directly or via the blog.
  • Working Together evolving library value: initial findings

    1. 1. Presentation for UKSG, March 2012
    2. 2. Background 6-month research project  Value of academic libraries for teaching and research staff. Building on existing research  How libraries can  Better market their services  Improve perceptions with key decision makers. Much evidence of library support for research  Less evidence on their support for teaching
    3. 3. Methodology Literature review • Literature review To inform... Final report • Case studies with Case • 2 UK triangulated studies • 4 USA results • 2 ScandinaviaRegional Confirmed by...surveys • Survey of librarians
    4. 4. Place of the Library within the institution Structure mirroring University structure Named library contacts for departments Library represented at SMT level  Learning &Teaching Committee  Research Committee  Panel undertaking University-wide review of all subjects
    5. 5. Library support for teaching staff „We support academics in any way we can‟  Proactive as well as reactive to academics‟ needs and requests. Group sessions branded as „teaching sessions‟ or „information sessions‟, not „information literacy‟ Exploring integration into the institutional VLE  Conduit between publishers and academics in how best to provide material for students Recognising need to understand academics‟ needs  and the range of different types of academics
    6. 6. Library support for research staff Information skills training for academics on a one-to- one basis  going out to their office Skills training for doctoral students Support with working up grant applications REF  OA repository, & support for OA publishing  Publication database  Bibliometrics, citations Research community  Library events about issues such as impact, data management, bibliometrics, public engagement  Research hub within the library for academic staff and doctoral students
    7. 7. Communication Meetings and face-to-face  Departmental meetings  Library faculty user group (staff + students)  Departmental library representatives Involve academics University committee structure Promotion  Email / Print and electronic newsletters / Blog Importance of personal relationships and informal communication
    8. 8. Marketing „Marketing is important‟  Learn from others Outreach by one section of the library, e.g. Special Collections team, promotes the library overall Learning & Teaching Support team targets promotion to individual academics Terminology and branding  Organised “drop-in sessions”, but clients did not know what they were.
    9. 9. Faculty’s perception of the value of the Library Differs by discipline and by individual Avoid jargon  E.g. „information literacy‟ – what is it, why do we need it?  „how to use the catalogue‟?  or a „research thing‟? Engage with academics to change perceptions  Find out where inaccurate perceptions exist  Target promotion and awareness raising
    10. 10. Evidence of value Mainly anecdotal evidence - but increasing use of surveys to gather hard evidence  Feedback from staff - e.g. bibliographies have improved as a result of library skills interventions Don‟t just gather evidence –use it  E.g. sessions run and hits are analysed longitudinally and by subject area, to identify areas to target. KPIs  E.g. book orders turnaround; reading list provision; high demand items
    11. 11. Drivers for evidence of value Value for money  Student fees  NSS REF and league tables University strategy  Show that library is important part of wider institution  Improve and innovate
    12. 12. Next steps Complete the case studies Wider survey of librarians in the three countries Final report by end of June
    13. 13. How you can get involved Let us know your views  Add comments to the blog  http://libraryvalue.wordpress.com/  Respond to the survey  And pass the link on to your colleagues Contact us via the web site, or at lisu@lboro.ac.uk

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