Reflections on My First Library Assessment Conference

Richard M. Cho
Reference/Instruction Librarian
California State University, Fullerton

Flying a long way from California to Virginia, I had the pleasure of attending the 2016 Library Assessment Conference, which happened to be celebrating its 10-year anniversary. A few months earlier, I was in Florida for the American Library Association (ALA) Annual Conference, and the experience taught me to focus on sessions that pertain to the specific needs of the institution I belong to. Several workshops preceded the Library Assessment Conference, and I participated in one, titled “Learning Outcomes” led by Martha Kyrillidou.

Molly Broad of the American Council on Education welcomed 640 conference attendees, a record number, during her keynote speech. She emphasized the values that are the foundation of higher education and iterated that a library is an indispensable source for students’ academic excellence. Afterward, I sought out concurrent sessions focused on learning, organizational issues, and analytics/value.

I gave particular attention to such topics as: structured assessment cycle, method of recording students’ instructional histories, assessment librarian’s proficiency, developing guidelines for librarians about collecting assessment data, and creating scaffolded sequence for library instruction sessions.

After the concurrent sessions, I gave up the Library of Congress group tour in order to participate in the Qualitative and Quantitative Method in Libraries (QQML) affinity meeting. I learned about the group’s focus and conferences and met a number of experienced assessment librarians, with whom I exchanged contact information for possible future collaboration. The poster session afterward was vibrant, with innovative and multifarious ideas on library assessment, testifying to the progress we assessment librarians have made in the field and the bright future of assessment culture that is to come.

The conference provoked a strong research interest in library assessment, and I bade farewell envisioning myself showcasing my own research at the next assessment conference in two years.

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