Reflections on the Library Assessment Conference

Linda Aurora Garcia
Circulation and Reserves Assistant
Washington State University Vancouver

Linda Garcia and Jackie Belanger

Jackie Belanger and Linda Garcia at the 2016 Library Assessment Conference

I feel like I found my people—the people who understand and advocate for the importance of assessment in libraries. Assessment to me is simple: are you meeting the needs of your users? At the end of the day, as librarians we’re in it to help people connect to resources they need, whether that’s a peer-reviewed article, a collaborative space, or just a whiteboard to review for a test. How do we know if we have met those goals? This conference showed me innovative and creative ways to assess those needs. Thanks to the travel award, I was able to pay most of my expenses for this eye-opening experience!

As a recent Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) graduate from the University of Washington (UW), I had the opportunity to do two big assessment projects while at UW. I worked with classmates, coworkers, and leaders at UW to find the best methodology for each assessment project. One of those projects gave me the opportunity to also present at the conference about my own methodology, challenges, and success in the library assessment realm. During my session, I found other colleagues throughout the US that were also exploring new and creative ways of assessing their services. One presentation that stood out to me was Kris Markman’s (Harvard University) “Assessing User Engagement with Library Exhibits Using Eye Tracking.” I didn’t realize there was technology available to see and experience what our patrons see. I want to know more, and I want to use it at my institution!

From the very first day of the conference, I knew I was in for an adventure. Looking through the program to decide what sessions to attend, I was interested in them all. How can you decide on just one session when all of them offer topics in everything you’re interested in? Now that I’ve found my people, I will never let them go!

Linda Garcia

Linda Garcia at the 2016 Library Assessment Conference

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