This book, first published in 1992, explores the issue of library assessment methods and the impact of accountability on the delivery of reference services. It is a call for librarians to actively adopt performance measures and learn how to work with the results. It analyses a wealth of assessment methods that librarians can use to collect data and create standards that are valid, practical, and useful in accounting for reference services. Some of the methodologies described include quantitative measures, qualitative measures, patron surveys, questionnaires, interviews, case studies, peer review, unobtrusive testing, and even updating the library's policies and procedures manual as a way to evaluate services. A variety of assessment methods for reference services are applied to all types of libraries.
Chapters in Assessment and Accountability in Reference Work describe how a small town library defends the relevancy of its services at a town meeting, how a special library documents the value of its services to cost-conscious management, and how academic libraries can become involved in university- and college-level assessment programs. Librarians seeking to develop their own assessment methods will benefit from practical advice on assessing diversity in the library, and helpful suggestions for improving reference services through training workshops, peer-coaching, and changes in organizational climate.
1. Introduction Susan Griswold Blandy Part 1. Requirements and Methodologies 2. Federal Register: Rules and Regulations 1988: 602.17 and 602.18: Focus on Educational Effectiveness 3. Reference Services: Research Methodologies for Assessment and Accountability Jo Bell Whitlatch 4. All the World is Data and We But the Ciphers in It . . . William Shakespeare 1992 Anthony Walsh Part 2. The Ecology of Assessment: The Environment of the Library 5. The Small Town Library: Discovering Relevancy Ellen L. Hardsog 6. Assessment and Accountability at Toledo-Lucas County Public Library Jane Pinkston 7. Special Libraries Assessment or Marketing the Special Library Mary L. Strife Part 3. Patterns of Assessment 8. Assessment in Higher Education Nancy Allen 9. The Librarian's Role in Academic Assessment and Accreditation: A Case Study Susan Griswold Blandy 10. Teaching High Schoolers About Libraries: A Message to Teachers Harold Ettelt 11. A Program With a View: The Inner City High School Library Margaret Galloway 12. Accountability for BI Programs in Academic Libraries: Key Issues for the 1990s Craig Gibson Part 4. Taking Human Beings Into Account 13. Humanism and Automation: Working With People in the Library Automation Process Karen A. Nuckolls 14. Assessing and Evaluating Diversity in the Reference Department Deborah A. Curry 15. Facing Personal Evaluation: A Mentoring Program Supports Professional Staff Undergoing Tenure Review Annalisa R. Van Avery 16. Privacy and Accountability at the Reference Desk Rosemary A. Del Vecchio Part 5. Reference Evaluation 17. Reference Evaluation: An Overview Patricia Hults 18. Wrong Questions, Wrong Answers: Behavioral vs. Factual Evaluation of Reference Services David A. Tyckoson 19. How's the Water? The Training of Reference Librarians Heather Blenkinsopp 20. What Do Faculty Want? Susan Griswold Blandy Part 6. Connections With the Rest of the Library 21. Reference Librarians and Technical Services Librarians: Who's Accountable? Marilyn K. Moody 22. Evaluating OPACs, or, OPACs Are Reference Tools, Too! Lynne M. Martin 23. ‘All I Need is the Computer’: Reference and Bibliographic Instruction in the Age of CD-ROMs Trudi E. Jacobson 24. Interactive Multi-Media and Electronic Media in Academic Libraries: Policy Implications Lorre Smith 25. Open vs. Closed Stack for Academic Library Periodical Collections Gretchen Roberts and Geraldine Wright 26. Is the Sky Falling? Or Using the Policies and Procedures Manual as an Evaluation Tool Jo Ann O. McCreight 27. Accountability in Book Acquisition and Weeding Harold Ettelt