Association of Research Libraries (ARL) Releases Final Report of Research Library Impact Framework Pilot Initiative
The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) Research Library Impact Framework (RLIF) pilot initiative, established in 2019, has released its final report, Building a Community of Assessment. The report details the research projects, findings, and lessons learned conducted under the pilot phase of this framework. It also includes information about the framework itself as a means to explore and learn about research library impacts. Finally, the report identifies next steps and potential considerations for any future implementation.
The RLIF provides a structure to examine library services, operations, impact, and alignment with institutional mission and goals across four critical areas: Research and Scholarly Life Cycle; Teaching, Learning, and Student Success; Collections; and Physical Space. The full framework includes 185 potential research questions across these critical areas. However, the framework is also meant to be flexible and modular, allowing for modifications and adjustments based on salient issues facing research libraries. In this way, the framework serves as a tool to organize and prioritize research efforts.
Of the original 185 research questions, ARL’s Assessment Committee (now the Research and Analytics Committee) identified 5 questions that several research teams examined in the pilot implementation of the RLIF. These questions reflected extensive engagement and feedback from ARL library directors and assessment practitioners, and were designated as high-priority areas of research. The five questions were intended to help ARL members understand and articulate research library impacts through narratives set in their local context.
The RLIF initiative set four goals to guide its strategy and implementation. As illustrated below, the breadth of the goals for the framework extend beyond any research project. Along with research project findings and their ability to inform and shape decision-making, the framework also sets out to build capacity and foster an assessment posture throughout ARL institutions.
- Goal 1: Create and foster a culture of assessment through participation in formal, methodologically sound research projects
- Goal 2: Enhance and improve processes for identifying data points for collection and distribution of information that substantiate library impact to institutional decision-makers and within the research and learning ecosystem
- Goal 3: Expand abilities to collaborate and compare data and methods with peers on topics highly relevant to individual libraries and pool research expertise and resources for collective benefit
- Goal 4: Improve the impact of services and programs for users
ARL’s Research and Analytics Committee will review the RLIF pilot and final report and issue recommendations about the future of the RLIF initiative at ARL. Any future course of action will be in alignment with ARL’s Action Plan 2023–2026.
The Research Library Impact Framework initiative (LG-18-19-0092) was made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). The views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this project do not necessarily represent those of IMLS.
Direct to Full Text Report: Building a Community of Assessment.
76 pages; PDF.
About Gary Price
Gary Price (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. He earned his MLIS degree from Wayne State University in Detroit. Price has won several awards including the SLA Innovations in Technology Award and Alumnus of the Year from the Wayne St. University Library and Information Science Program. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com.