A six-month research project commissioned by SAGE, titled Working Together: Evolving Value for Academic Libraries, found no systematic evidence of the value of academic libraries for teaching and research staff, despite positive feedback received by librarians.
The study was carried out by LISU, a national research and information center based in the Department of Information Science at Loughborough University (UK), and included data from eight case studies in the United States, United Kingdom and Scandinavia. Universities studied include Purdue University, Towson University, University of Utah, Wake Forest University, the University of Nottingham, University of Sussex, Karolinska Institutet, and Akerhus University College. A survey of 630 librarians in the same regions was instituted for comparison.
The report provides examples of best practices, and makes recommendations for how to improve academic libraries’ perceived value in the eyes of teaching and research staff. For libraries, it recommends that staff be supported in developing teaching and marketing skills, as well as greater personal relationships with teaching and research departments, in part through resource allocation. It also suggests that a senior member of library staff take on the systematic collection of evidence of value as a specific responsibility. For senior university managers, the report recommends changing their campus culture to give library staff equivalent status to teaching and research staff. This helped library staff to promote their services, as they were seen as partners in the process.
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