Working together: evolving value for academic libraries

2013-10-31T13:13:15Z (GMT) by Claire Creaser Valerie Spezi
This study investigated the value of academic libraries for teaching and research staff. The academic library community has been dealing with the issue of how best to demonstrate its value for years, especially value to students. Yet although a good deal of evidence is collected, much of this is evidence of activity rather than evidence of value and impact, especially value to and impact on teaching and research staff. The study showed that libraries are struggling to find appropriate, and systematic, ways to capture evidence of their value for teaching and research staff. Much work is needed to build an evidence base in this area. Libraries can show their value to teaching and research staff most effectively by describing this in terms of benefits, for example, staff time saved, increased quality of student assignments, increased contact hours. The study found that librarians generally understood the needs of their users in very broad terms, and provided services to meet these needs. Embedded information literacy instruction is highly valued by teaching staff. Increasingly, this is developing into integrated teaching and curriculum development activities. Support for research appeared less well embedded, but there is evidence of successful partnerships between librarians and research staff in the areas of literature reviewing and data curation, in particular. Meeting research staff one-to-one and targeting services to meet specific needs was an effective, albeit time-intensive, way for librarians to raise their profile and value. There are concerns that not all teaching and research staff appreciate the level and extent of the support available from the modern academic library. Working in partnership with teaching and research staff was found to be an effective way to promote the library, and to increase the perception of value.