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Hege Library & Learning Technologies

Library Assessment

Common Methods

The assessment challenge for libraries is that traditional stats/measures are no longer sufficient; we need to demonstrate our value. There is no one best method for assessing library value; the method must be appropriate for the information you need.

Common methods:

  • surveys (local, multi-library, institution)
  • usage/data mining
  • qualitative methods (rubrics, focus groups, interviews, observation/ethnographic, critical incident, logs, usability, advisory groups, social media)

Selecting Method(s) of Assessment

Guiding questions for selecting a method or methods of assessment:

  • What do you want to know?
  • When do you need it?
  • How will you get it?
  • Who else might you collaborate with?
  • How will you analyze data and communicate it?


When to use a survey:

  • generalizable
  • ‚Äč‚Äčtrend data
  • compare with others
  • quantitative analysis
  • comments

When not to use surveys:

  • complex questions
  • inappropriate to topic
  • unsure how to analyze and report results 
  • cost 

Qualitative options to complement surveys:

  • observations
  • interviews
  • focus groups
  • usability
  • comments (solicited/unsolicited)
  • customer "panels"