Reflections upon Attending the Library Assessment Conference

Genny Jon
Science Librarian
York University

Attending my first Library Assessment Conference was a wonderful experience.

My conference began with an “ah-ha” moment in Martha Kyrillidou’s “Outcome(s) Assessment” pre-conference workshop: we need to begin with the desired outcomes and then find activities to enable the outcomes and measure outputs of these activities to assess our success. Until now, I have been concerned with measuring outputs and look forward to using this idea in the future.

Other highlights include:

  • How Harvard’s Houghton Library used assessment findings to change the way they engage undergraduates and to improve their cataloging practices
  • Texas Tech’s OBILLSK project’s use of predictive analytics to anticipate interlibrary loans and inform collection development
  • Being reminded of the challenges faced by urban and commuter students living with family in “A Day in the Life: Practical Strategies for Understanding Student Space Use Practices
  • Discussing library workshop initiatives with librarians from New York University’s Dibner Library (I also work in a science and engineering library and am inspired by workshop topic ideas for my own library.)
  • Unexpectedly running into people I hadn’t seen for years(!!)
  • Eating delicious food with interesting company at a dine-around

I loved how Betsy Wilson’s speech in the closing session reflected on the past and tried to guide us forward by presenting questions asked at the first conference and leaving us with questions for the future. The inaugural conference address’s questions were prescient: 10 years later, space usage remains a priority as libraries respond to changing user needs. I hope future conferences will showcase how the questions posed, particularly the ones concerning impact, new forms of evidence, and how libraries respond to a technology enabled world are being investigated.

A big thank you to the conference organizers and to ARL for this opportunity!

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