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Counting on making a difference: assessing our impact

Philip Payne (Head of Learning Support Services, Leeds Metropolitan University, Leeds, UK)
John Crawford (Library Research Officer, Glasgow Caledonian University, Glasgow, UK)
Wendy Fiander (Acting Director, Learning Resources, University College Chester, Chester, UK)


ISSN: 0305-5728

Article publication date: 1 December 2004



Purpose. Ten libraries across the UK are participating in the first phase of an initiative to assess the impact of higher education libraries on learning, teaching, and research. The initiative is being undertaken under the auspices of the Library and Information Research Group and the Society of College, National, and University Libraries. This interim report provides an overview of the initiative and describes participation by two of the libraries: Glasgow Caledonian University and University College Chester. Design/methodology/approach. Each of the libraries has chosen an area of their activity where they wish to assess their impact. The ten participating institutions have then followed a common approach to assessing impact which involves specifying objectives for what the library is trying to achieve, determining success criteria, establishing impact measures, identifying what evidence is needed, and choosing methods for gathering evidence. Findings. Assessing a library's impact is not easy but the potential benefits can be considerable. Issues identified in the first phase include the time/resources needed, the importance of having good research skills, the difficulties of getting the evidence, and separating out the library's contribution. Benefits illustrated in the case studies include demonstrating that the library is supporting university strategy, building closer links with academics, and enabling staff to gain a better understanding of academic processes. Originality/value. The paper will interest library managers and staff who are concerned about the impact of their services and are seeking ways to demonstrate the difference that they make to their host organisations.



Payne, P., Crawford, J. and Fiander, W. (2004), "Counting on making a difference: assessing our impact", VINE, Vol. 34 No. 4, pp. 176-183.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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