ER&L: ROI — Why oh why?

Speaker: Doralyn Rossman

How to use a combination of qualitative and quantitative data to tell a story.

ROI is a hot topic. People outside of the library are aware of it. Comparing yourself to other libraries is challenging because your missions are different. Showing how you contribute to the mission of your institution is much more valuable.

Methods of assessment: ROI, use, impact, alternative comparison (lib versus other service), customer satisfaction & outcomes, and commodity production (services, facilities, resources).

When you tell your story, start at the top: strategic plan, accreditation, etc. Give administrators information in the language they need to share with others. What do they need to know that they don’t know they need to know? What do they not want to know?

There are plenty of examples out there — do your homework.

Quantitative metrics: COUNTER, simultaneous users, multiple-year deals, capped inflation, staffing & workflows, reference queries, instruction sessions, citation reports & impact factor of collection, cost if purchased individually.

Qualitative metrics: relevance to curriculum, formatting efficiencies, user self-sufficiency, condition and usabilty of collection, proactive trouble shooting, MINES protocol from ARL.

Story: cost avoidance for users, reduced cost of course materials, quick access to research materials for faculty and grant work, attracting and retaining faculty/students, what would you do if they library didn’t exist, contribution to the strategic plan.

Example: University of Tennessee surveyed faculty about their grant proposal process. They found that faculty used more materials and resources than what was reflected in the proposals themselves. There is an importance of library resources at all stages in the grant process and publishing process.

LIBvalue project is a good resource. It’s generated by an IMLS grant following up on the ROI research at various institutions. Recommended reading.

If you’re not already collecting data, start now. You want a long-term study. Build it into your routines so you do it on a regular basis.

There are no cookie cutter methods. You have to know what story you want to tell, and then find the data to do that. Each situation/institution will be unique.

From the audience: Sense Maker is a good tool for capturing qualitative data.

Leave a Reply