The Mansfield Library strives to integrate assessment and evaluation initiatives into library operations to inform decision-making. The Library's efforts take many forms, including instruction feedback and learning outcomes measures, surveys, trend analyses, and usability testing and user studies. Through this work, library personnel seek to gain insight into users' perceptions of services; to identify and predict their behaviors and needs; and to measure student learning.
Questions? Contact Kate Zoellner, Assessment Coordinator.
Library personnel use data resulting from assessment and evaluation initiatives to inform decision-making, in tandem with institutional data and priorities and trends in higher education and academic libraries. For example, data has informed our decisions to:
- Integrate bibliographic management software instruction into first-year curricula to support students in organizing and formatting their references.
- Reallocate acquisition funds to maintain subscriptions to high-use electronic resources necessary for research, retention, teaching, and grant proposals.
- Add quick links on the website to ease access to library information and resources.
- Implement a chat widget pop-up for virtual reference service, and repurpose a faculty line, to provide additional support to remote users and address the needs of students enrolled in online degree programs.
- Refurbish study spaces, designate a floor in the library for quiet study, and extend building hours to provide a productive and welcoming research and study environment.
Library personnel prepare biennial reports for the University Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost. Read these Department Assessment Reports (2014, 2016) for further information on library goals and measurement tools utilized, results and modifications, and future plans for continued assessment. The library's assessment and evaluation efforts are also reported in the University of Montana's accreditation reports to the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. For example, the 2017 Demonstration Project Year Seven Report articulates the findings of the direct and indirect methods library personnel employ to measure students' information literacy knowledge and experiences.
Statistics, such as collection size, circulation figures, and instruction sessions, are maintained internally for benchmarking, and reported to the Association of College & Research Libraries and the National Center for Education Statistics to enable peer comparisons. You can access the data and run comparisons via ACRLMetrics and using the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System data tools.
The library conducts user surveys to understand the perceptions, library use, knowledge, and experiences of students, staff, and faculty, and internal employees. Surveys implemented during the past five years include the Project Outcome Undergraduate Instruction survey (field-tested), Experiences with Information Literacy topical module of the National Survey of Student Engagement, LibQUAL+®, and the ClimateQUAL®: Organizational Climate and Diversity Assessment.
Library personnel employ stand-alone projects and studies to better understand university community members' needs and how library operations can best support those needs. Recent projects include focus groups and interviews with graduate students, oral history transcription workflow testing, and resource discovery system usability testing.
Last updated December 2018.