Q. What is the role of the ACRL President or ACRL leadership in terms of promoting the adoption of the Standards for Libraries in Higher Education?
A. The ACRL Standards for Libraries in Higher Education sets the framework within which libraries can define their value to the institution of which they are a part. The Standards define certain principles and performance indicators and provides some sample outcomes that may be used by libraries to demonstrate this value. This type of assessment may be new to some libraries and it is therefore our responsibility as leaders within ACRL to help our colleagues to determine what measures will work best in their setting. There have already been several opportunities for librarians to learn about the standards and how they can be applied, but more of these opportunities may be needed. I believe it is the responsibility of those of us with more experience in gathering and reporting on these measures to work with those less experienced in these tasks so they, too, can become proficient.
Understanding how to apply the standards is not sufficient. We must also work with our colleagues to articulate the importance of the standards – of the outcomes being measured – and how they contribute to the success of students, faculty and researchers. Various stakeholders were consulted as the standards were being developed. It’s important for the ACRL President and leaders to “close the loop” and report back to these stakeholders to get them to help with the adoption of the standards in our academic institutions. To do so ill involve close collaboration to gather and analyze the relevant data about how the library contributes to the college’s success. Without the support of the stakeholders, which include The Association of American Colleges and Universities, the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities, and of course, the various accrediting bodies, the Standards will not be nearly as effective as they are designed to be.