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 user studies. Through this work, library personnel seek to understand users' perceptions of services; to identify their behaviors and needs; and to measure student learning.
Questions? Contact Kate Zoellner, Assessment Coordinator.
Library personnel use quantitative and qualitative 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, findings and directions have informed 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 requested for research, retention, teaching, and grant proposals.
- Refurbish and organize the Accessible Technology Center, and designate quiet study areas, to meet student research and study needs.
- Remodel the main level of the building to bring in light and views of the natural environment, and financially support student art on diversity, to create a welcoming physical space.
- Revise the library organizational structure to align service areas and address staffing levels.
Library personnel prepare biennial Department Assessment Reports for the Office of the Provost. Consult the most recent library report (2020) 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 direct and indirect methods library personnel have employed to measure students' information literacy knowledge and experiences. The next report will be submitted in 2023.
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 using the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System data tools; contact Kate Zoellner if you are interested in data comparisons available via Benchmark.
The library periodically conducts user surveys to understand the perceptions, library use, knowledge, and experiences of students, staff, and faculty, and internal employees. Recent surveys, internally-developed, have focused on the library accessibility center and on research data management; previous surveys have included Project Outcome Undergraduate Instruction survey, National Survey of Student Engagement Experiences with Information Literacy topical module, LibQUAL+®, and ClimateQUAL®: Organizational Climate and Diversity Assessment.
Library personnel employ stand-alone projects or studies to better understand university community members and library and higher education environments. Recent faculty projects have focused on understanding the experiences and needs of graduate students, and on accessibility needs, through interviews and focus groups. Evaluating institutional racism; values, vision, partnerships, and the organizational structure; and building space, were recent projects of library task forces.
Last updated May 2022.