7. Libraries engage in continuous planning and assessment to inform resource allocation and to meet their mission effectively and efficiently.
7.1 The Library's mission statement and goals align with and advance those developed by the institution 7.2 Library personnel participate in campus decision making needed for effective library management 7.3 The Library allocates human and financial resources effectively and efficiently to advance the Library's mission 7.4 The Library's budget is sufficient to provide resources to meet the reasonable expectations of Library users when balanced against other institutional needs 7.5 The Library partners with multiple institutions (e.g., via collections consortia) for greater cost-effectiveness and to expand access to collections 7.6 The Library plans based on data and outcomes assessment using a variety of methods both formal and informal 7.7 The Library communicates assessment results to Library stakeholders 7.8 Library personnel model a culture of continuous improvements 7.9 The Library has the IT infrastructure needed to collect, analyze, and use data and other assessments for continuous improvement
Overall the Library personnel’s efforts to engage in continuous planning and assessment have resulted in continuing efforts to inform resource allocation and to meet its mission effectively and efficiently. The Library’s mission statement and goals are closely aligned with those of the University; currently in planning is the implementation of an annual or periodic appraisal for the Library’s strategic goals. The Library has a history of personnel involved in significant University assessment and planning efforts. Steps have been taken to review the available human and financial resources and allocate them carefully to further the University’s mission for both the short and long term. Since concerns remain about the budget trends--funding allocations stressed by regular increases in ongoing annual expenses and state/national budgetary issues--efforts are being made to identify external funding opportunities and continue the benefits of library consortial acquisitions. The Bloomsburg University Library has a strong history of partnering with its fellow PASSHE institutions and other libraries for greater cost-effectiveness and expanded access to collections; Library personnel have provided leadership for several consortial teams. Library personnel are largely satisfied with efforts at planning based on assessment when making significant decisions such as collection budget management and the research assistance model. Library personnel regard their efforts to communicate assessment results as sufficient, but believe that there are better approaches, perhaps through targeting particular audiences. Library personnel have engaged in some activities of continuous improvement but recognize there are areas of potential growth and for shared learning. Library personnel regard the IT infrastructure for assessment as sufficient; the resources and expertise for gathering budget and collection usage statistics are good but there is a need for an improved gate counter.
7.1 The Library’s mission statement and goals align with and advance those developed by the institution.
In 2013-14 Library administration, faculty, and staff, along with other representation (i.e. Library Advisory Committee (LAC)) created a new mission statement and strategic plan, working together to ensure that the Library’s mission statement and strategic goals aligned with and advanced those developed by the University. Library personnel engaged in visioning and strategic planning sessions and shared drafts with LAC in developing the final product.
The Library’s mission, values and vision statement and strategic plan were modelled after the University Mission and Strategic Plan, with emphases on student learning and academic excellence, student enrollment and retention, fiscal responsibility, and community relations.
7.2 Library personnel participate in campus decision making needed for effective library management.
Library administration, faculty, and staff participate in decision making on campus that is needed for effective library management within a local context where: the overall budgets for Library personnel, collections, and operations are established by the President and the Provost & Senior President for Academic Affairs; requests for positions or funding beyond the existing allocation are considered on a competitive basis by University Administration; and responsibility for directing the work of the Library personnel and for use of the Library’s allocated budgets lies with the Director of Library Services.
The Director serves on the Academic Affairs Leadership Council, which is convened by the Provost & Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs. The Director also serves on the Writing in the Disciplines Advisory Committee. Library faculty have been elected to and contribute to numerous University-wide committees including the Bloomsburg University Curriculum Committee and the General Education Council. Additionally, Library faculty have been appointed to and contribute to other University-wide decision-making bodies, including the Strategic Planning and Resource Council (SPARC), the University Forum, and the 175th Anniversary Committee.
Upper level administration recognize and appreciate the role and contributions of the library personnel to University committees and goals. As a result of librarian participation in a campus-wide discussion, information literacy was adopted as part of the campus-wide General Education requirements and the General Education Council now includes a Library faculty member as a standing member. Additionally, Library participation in discussions on the future of the University’s writing programs contributed to the Director’s membership on the Writing in the Disciplines Advisory Committee, and therefore the advancement of information literacy into the disciplines. Further, faculty members planning new courses and programs now bear in mind the potential contributions of Library faculty and Library funding when submitting course proposals to the University Curriculum Committee. This represents a change in practice and came about because of active service by two Library faculty members on the Committee.
7.3 The Library allocates human and financial resources effectively and efficiently to advance the Library’s mission.
During this review period the number and focus of human resources and the sources and amounts of funding for collections and operations changed. A summary of trends and issues follows; for personnel and budget details see Appendices B and C.
In mid-2009, shortly before the start of this review period, there were ten Library faculty. Two years later there were six. While there were some changes in the staff holding positions and changes in duties during the current review period, the number of staff remained the same. In the previous review period, 2005 to 2010, the number of staff went from 13 to 11. Access to Library technology personnel remained the same, one-quarter time, over the current review period. Midway in this review period a permanent director joined the organization following a six year period with two interim leaders. Bloomsburg University has the highest student to professional staff ratio of all its PASSHE and University peers (see 2012 and 2014 Library Staff data in Appendix B).
Early in the review period Library personnel--staff, faculty, and Director--adjusted priorities to focus on working more directly with students in their coursework and making building space available for students. They, individually or severally:
Later they also:
Midway through the review period came initiatives designed to set priorities within the work, improve communication within the Library, and enhance the educational role of the Library faculty. As a result, the staff, faculty, and Director, individually or severally:
In the first three years of the review period the Library’s expenses for collections and operations increased in response to vendors’ higher charges and because of added resources. In the first two years of the period the University allocation well exceeded the Library’s expenses; in the last three years the allocations went down, so, with existing costs up, a review and reduction of costs and the use of other sources of funding were necessary. In 2013-14 there was a nine percent cut in the Library’s allocations, reflecting difficulties in the overall University and Commonwealth budgets. The cut was addressed by several strategies: a review of all Library subscriptions, and cancellation of low-use resources, and transfer of some expenses to Technology Fee monies and others to Library endowment accounts. The Library’s allocations were flat the last year of the review; expenses continued to go up so there was a further review of collections and use of additional Technology Fee monies and Library endowment accounts. The Technology Fee was available throughout the review period, covering between approximately 26% and 31% of expenses for the Library including database and journal subscriptions, electronic journal backfiles and other one-time electronic purchases, and computers. Special University monies called Performance Funding were available the first two years of the review period; in the last three years any special expenses—for furniture, carpeting, new resources, and one-time projects—were covered directly or offset by Technology Fee monies or Library endowment accounts.
All decisions regarding the use of human resources are undertaken carefully, with the mission of the Library and the University at the forefront, in an effort to maintain core activities, while prioritizing as necessary, and within the local budgetary context. As the nature of the work and the priorities of the institution change, the work of individual Library personnel changes correspondingly. When vacancies occur, careful consideration is given to the need for and the nature of the position. Positions are not automatically filled and require justification to University administration in light of University and Library goals.
All decisions in collection development, where the great majority of funds is expended, are guided by the University curricula, student learning, ease of access, and available funding. All Library faculty partake in Collection Development, often as coordinators of specific Collections such as the Curriculum Collection. Library faculty and the Director of Library Services meet regularly to discuss the appropriate allocation of funds.
Throughout the year there are ongoing discussions of the Library’s budget situation.
The missions and fiscal sustainability of the Library and the University are advanced by careful consideration of the need for and nature of each Library position. An instance of this careful consideration recently took place in Access Services when a staff vacancy was converted into a Faculty Support / Access Services Library Assistant position in order to make progress on the website upgrade, assist Library faculty with projects, as well as maintain circulation services for patrons. In addition, job descriptions for staff have been reviewed and changed to reflect Library and University priorities. The drop in the number of Library faculty from ten to six over a two-year period was noticeable, resulting in responsibilities in instruction and in functions that were brand new for some Library faculty. The Library faculty believe that the advice of the last external reviewer—to consider adding “librarian positions in order to meet the needs for information literacy instruction, departmental outreach, faculty liaison, collection development and deselection, innovative use of technologies, and research assistance”—still pertains, and they advocate for additional Library faculty to provide truly excellent outcomes.
Students, faculty, and the community at large benefit from the Library’s informed and deliberate choice of resources and conscientious use of funds. Students and other patrons have access to materials necessary for their learning and research due to Library personnel’s careful planning, research, and regular discussion.
7.4 The Library’s budget is sufficient to provide resources to meet the reasonable expectations of Library users when balanced against other institutional needs.
The Library Director confers regularly with the Associate Vice President for Technology and Library Services to discuss and make decisions about funding priorities related to materials, operations, and personnel, as well as for the Library’s funding in light of the overall University budget and priorities. These meetings provide the foundation for the Library’s short and long-term planning. The Library has had funds to cover its core needs but has needed to forego more specialized or especially large commitments and rely more on the holdings and personnel of other libraries. Since the Library is aligned with the Office of Technology, Technology Fee monies have been made available to support the Library’s efforts, and they represent approximately one-third of the collections budget. In addition, the Library allocates annual interest from its endowment to the operating budget with an annual average need of approximately $44,000 for each of the last three years.
The Library Director and the Library faculty confer regularly to discuss collection priorities and make informed decisions, with the Library budget, curriculum changes, and the needs of students, faculty, and other patrons in mind. Database and journal subscriptions were reviewed each of the past two years with a view to budget reduction, with the result that resources of limited applicability to the curriculum and/or with a high cost per use were dropped. Each year for the last three years, the Director of Library Services and the Library faculty reviewed suggestions of large and/or ongoing commitments with the objective of adding vital items needed within the curriculum and by students, and each year several items were approved.
Students, faculty and other patrons benefit from the planned, regular meetings between the Library Director and the Associate Vice President for Technology and Library Services and from those between the Director and the Library Faculty. These regular meetings support an ongoing conversation that informs both short and long-term planning and stability, as opposed to quick decisions made necessary by budget restrictions.
7.5 The Library partners with multiple institutions (e.g., via collections consortia) for greater cost-effectiveness and to expand access to collections.
The Library participates in several purchasing cooperatives that enable the Library to expand its collections in a cost-effective manner: Keystone Library Network (KLN); Pennsylvania Academic Library Consortium, Inc. (PALCI); Westchester Academic Library Directors Organization (WALDO); Susquehanna Library Cooperative (SLC); Interlibrary Delivery System (IDS); RapidILL; and Lyrasis.
Students, faculty, and others in the Bloomsburg community benefit from the Library’s consortial participation in terms of greater cost-effectiveness and expanded access to collections. For example, the Library’s participation in Keystone Library Network, along with the other PASSHE libraries, has resulted in significant savings for the University and PASSHE as a whole. A 2003-04 PASSHE risk assessment study noted a savings of $1.2 million for the 14 university libraries in the PASSHE system. Another significant avenue of expanded access to resources comes from interlibrary loan. Last year Bloomsburg University students and other patrons received nearly 7000 articles and books borrowed from other libraries, thereby expanding their research options considerably.
7.6 The Library plans based on data and outcomes assessment using a variety of methods both formal and informal.
The Library employs data collected from a variety of formal and informal sources to inform and guide both short and long-term planning and decision-making. These sources include:
Additionally, informal conversations with students, faculty, staff, and administrators often produce insights and observations. A new source of data begin in Spring 2015 when, for the first time, the Information Literacy module for the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) survey was administered at the University; an anticipated second year may provide some data to compare with the baseline. Data obtained from these sources influence planning and decisions about Library collections, information literacy instruction, research assistance, Library services, equipment and technology, as well as the function and maintenance of the Library building.
Students, faculty, and other patrons benefit from the Library’s practice of soliciting feedback/gathering data from its users and using that feedback to inform short and long-term planning and decision-making; this practice gives students and other Library users a voice to influence all aspects of the Library. Examples include:
7.7 The Library communicates assessment results to Library stakeholders.
The Library continuously compiles and evaluates various assessment data, and the results are periodically shared with invested Library stakeholders. Monthly reports on research assistance activity, bi-annual reports on information literacy instruction, and annual Outcomes Assessment Reports are regularly shared by Library faculty with Library administration. Moreover, decisions that are made using local data (usage statistics, repeat requests, etc.) about collection management issues are regularly reported to the Associate Vice President of Technology and Library Services.
The Library shares on the website its annual Outcomes Assessment Report. This report was also shared with the Middle States Review Committee during the last accreditation process.
The Library shared the results of its 2009 Five Year Review with University administration, specifically the Associate Vice President of Technology and Library Services, the Provost, and the Chancellor’s Office.
The Library shared the results of LibQUAL surveys with a variety of stakeholders. The results of the two LibQUAL surveys given during this review period, as well as Library responses, were posted to the Library’s blog for public access. Digests of the LibQUAL data and its findings were shared with the Associate Vice President of Technology and Library Services, and the results were also discussed among the Library faculty and staff.
The Library shared data, feedback, and artifacts pertaining to the University’s General Education goals, especially regarding Information Literacy (General Education Goal 2), with the General Education Council and subject faculty who teach courses bearing Goal 2 General Education Points (GEPs).
The Library shared data with the Library Advisory Committee obtained from a sociological study conducted by BU Anthropology students that focused on how students view and use the Library.
The Library benefits from sharing accurate Library data, such as research assistance activity and information literacy instruction data, with University administration and invested stakeholders. Feedback gained from stakeholders has led to decision making that is more informed and transparent; these decisions are wide-reaching and affect all students, faculty, and other patrons who use the Library’s services and resources. Furthermore, the Library faculty benefit from an ongoing profile of student learning that provides a comparative understanding over time and informs changes and choices that fit students’ needs. All of this knowledge is necessary for the Library to make improvements where needed, which in turn inspires support and confidence from the BU community.
The Library benefits from sharing its annual Outcomes Assessment Report with the Middle States Review Committee and other stakeholders. The Library’s self-study, along with the Middle States peer-review process, provides valuable information about the effectiveness of the Library’s resources and services that instills confidence in students, faculty, administration and other invested members of the BU community.
The Library benefits from sharing the results of its 2009 Five Year Review with the University Provost and the Chancellor’s Office; the report documents how the Library is making responsible, well-informed decisions that justify the continued funding for Library collections.
The Library benefits from sharing the results of periodic LibQUAL Surveys. Survey results provide stakeholders with a look at how well the Library meets the needs of students, faculty, and other patrons. University administrators use this knowledge to provide funds for Library improvements where needed, and to inspire support and confidence from the BU community.
The Library benefits from sharing assessment data pertaining to the University’s General Education goals with the General Education Council and subject faculty who teach courses bearing Goal 2 General Education points. Through this collaboration, Library faculty have been given greater opportunity to influence the inclusion and development of the Goal 2 Information Literacy General Education Point (GEP). Moreover, as a result of this collaboration a Library faculty member has been asked to play a larger role in University-wide assessment efforts through her appointment as a General Education Assessment Fellowship.
The Library, as well as members of the BU community, benefit from knowledge shared with the Library Advisory Committee from the sociological study conducted by BU Anthropology students (LAC) that focused on how students view and use the Library. The study provided unique information about the Library that is not available elsewhere, and the LAC, along with Library personnel, used this information to give direction on the new mission and strategic plan.
7.8 Library personnel model a culture of continuous improvement.
Library personnel are committed to continuous learning, change, and improvement. It is a priority for Library faculty and staff to stay abreast of and proficient in current instructional practices, technological developments, and Library work processes. These efforts include education, experimentation, learning from experimentation, and moving forward to implement what is learned. Examples include:
The Teaching Excellence Academy for Librarians (TEAL) has become emblematic of the Library’s commitment to improving and sharing ideas in the context of student learning. One of the Library’s strategic goals is to strengthen the Librarians’ role as educators. Initiated by the Director of Library Services, supported by Teaching and Learning Enhancement (TALE) Center Director, and shaped by the Library faculty, TEAL provides a community of practice for all Library faculty to discuss and share ideas about and experiences with Information Literacy instruction, which often inspires others to experiment with new instructional practices. Over the two years of its existence thus far, discussions have ranged from practical applications to conceptual dialogs. Future plans include the discussion of instructional activity plans written by each of the Library faculty for the areas in which they work and mapping out important areas of current and potential impact.
The Director of Library Services initiated a series of Library-wide visioning meetings, where all Library faculty and staff were encouraged to work together to brainstorm and formulate ideas for the future of the Library, with the goal of creating a Library Mission Statement and Strategic Plan.
The Director of Library Services, Library faculty, and staff all participate in professional development endeavors, which include research and publication as well as conference and workshop attendance and presentations. All Library personnel are encouraged to participate in continuing education, and designated funding is available for professional development-related travel.
Library personnel participate in various standing committees that provide a venue for ongoing improvement and communication, such as Library Faculty meetings, Access Services meetings, the Collection Development Committee, and the Information Literacy / Outcomes Assessment Committee. Library personnel participated in ad hoc working groups that support ongoing improvement and communication, such as those for Physical Space, the Budget, Website Redesign, and Periodicals.
Library faculty continually learn, experiment with, and employ a variety of instructional strategies to improve information literacy instruction and, therefore, student learning. For example, Library faculty frequently experiment with integrating new technologies, such as PollEverywhere, Prezi, and Google Docs, into instruction sessions to increase student engagement and learning. Blackboard Collaborate is used for synchronous instruction for students taking online classes. Some Library faculty provide research assistance in campus buildings outside of the Library. Several Library faculty travel off-campus to provide information literacy instruction for Bloomsburg University Nursing students at Geisinger Medical Center in Danville, and students taking classes in Sunbury and Nanticoke.
Library faculty continually learn, experiment with, and employ a variety of new and/or novel technologies to improve Library services and increase student learning. They are adept at learning and staying current with new software platforms and updates that are necessary for essential Library services, such as the LibGuides platform that supports the Library’s homepage, website, online subject and course guides, as well as online research assistance and data.
Library faculty and staff continually learn, experiment with, and employ a variety of techniques to improve/enhance the efficiency of Library work processes. For example, the Library faculty experimented with various research assistance models before deciding that the current on-call model best met the needs of students and Library faculty. Library personnel kept up with the frequent updates and changes to the Library website and database interfaces and functions, as well as those technologies that support essential Library services, such as Voyager, RapidILL, ILLIAD, the financial reporting system, and all Library equipment. Furthermore, when searching for ways to streamline the flow of materials in the Cataloging Department, Library personnel chose to think ‘outside-the-box’ and decided to outsource selected materials for cataloging by personnel from the Technical Services Department at Mansfield University; this opportunity arose from an innovative program set up by the Library at Mansfield University to provide fee-based services to its sister institutions for temporary or ongoing projects.
The Library, as well as students, faculty, and members of the BU community benefit from the commitment of Library personnel to continuous learning, change, and improvement. Some examples include:
Library faculty benefitted from participation in the Teaching Excellence Academy for Librarians (TEAL). TEAL provides a forum for Library faculty who teach Information Literacy instruction classes to share and discuss a variety of teaching strategies in the context of student learning. Knowledge gained from these meetings has motivated instructors to experiment with new teaching strategies and assessment practices, and to adopt only those that are most meaningful to student learning. Ultimately, BU students and faculty benefit from this practice, as well.
As a result of the Library-wide visioning meetings, Library personnel had direct input into the development of the Library’s new Vision Statement and Strategic Plan. Because the new directives were designed to support student and faculty educational goals and to align with the Bloomsburg University Vision Statement and Strategic Plan, all members of the BU community can be assured of the Library’s ongoing progress in line with the University’s progress.
The Director of Library Services, library faculty, and staff benefit by participating in professional development endeavors. This newly acquired knowledge helps Library personnel stay current in their respective areas of librarianship and proficient in their daily job performances which, ultimately, benefits students, faculty, and other members of the BU community.
The Library and its personnel benefit from a culture of continuous improvement that is fostered by Library committee participation. Committee meetings provide Library personnel with opportunities to share ideas, solve problems, and plan for the future, which are all essential components of change. Even though the Library is the initial beneficiary, the entire BU community is enhanced by the Library’s culture of continuous improvement.
Students, faculty and other members of the BU community benefit from the Library faculty’s efforts to experiment with a variety of instructional strategies in their ongoing quest to improve information literacy instruction. Because Library faculty continually discuss and experiment with new ways to connect with students and clarify concepts, students are typically more engaged and open to learning concepts and skills needed to excel in their studies. Students who take classes off-campus benefit from receiving instruction in their own environment.
Students, faculty, and other members of the BU community benefit from the Library faculty’s ongoing efforts to explore and employ new technologies that improve access to Library resources and increase student learning. Everyone in the BU community who uses Library resources benefits from convenient online access to electronic Library resources, both on-campus and off, as well as the user-friendly Library website, online subject and course guides, and Research Assistance. This 24-hour access to necessary research materials contributes to scholarship and student learning.
Library personnel, as well as students, faculty, and other members of the BU community, benefit from the ongoing efforts of Library personnel to explore and employ new techniques that will improve/enhance the efficiency of Library work processes. Due to this commitment, Library personnel have developed an increased willingness to experiment with new ways of doing things. Consequently, Library personnel have adopted a new model of Research Assistance; employed numerous new instructional strategies; implemented an expanded ILL system; and have found new ways to address old problems with regard to workflow and accessibility of Library materials and to enhance collaboration with a sister institution at the same time. All enhancements to Library work processes obviously benefit the Library, but the effects of these enhancements indirectly affect every member of the BU community who uses Library resources.
7.9 The Library has the IT infrastructure needed to collect, analyze, and use data and other assessments for continuous improvement.
The Library has the necessary IT infrastructure to support continuous improvement.
The Library has successfully used free and fee-based services to collect, use, and analyze data and other assessments to achieve the Library’s goals. For the storage and review of documents, the Library has used GoogleDocs. For the General Library Research Tutorial self-checks and quiz, the Library has used Qualtrics. For information literacy instruction sessions, Library faculty have used LibGuides and PollEverywhere. In order to record and create reports for information literacy and outcomes assessment, the Library faculty have made extensive use of LibGuides forms, RefAnalytics and LibAnalytics. Similarly, various units of the Library use specialized software for usage reports, including Voyager, vendor usage reports, and Interlibrary Loan (ILLIAD and RapidILL). The Library has also taken advantage of unique free online services, such as Google Analytics, to collect meaningful data. The Library uses a gate counter software to track traffic into the building.
Students, faculty and other patrons benefit from the Library’s use of IT infrastructure to collect, analyze, and use data and other assessments. The Library carefully tracks, observes, and analyzes information about its initiatives and programs. The data and their analysis enables the Library to make informed decisions regarding student learning, instruction, and relevant collections, thereby supporting the Library’s efforts for continuous improvement.
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