Libraries assess their services by way of the Organization of Record Knowledge and Information competency. This strategy gives libraries the ability to perform at an optimal level and provide the appropriate needs of its users. An assessment can have many components including monthly, quarterly, or annual measurements. To identify the needs of my users, I developed, implemented, and recorded a Library Assessment/Evaluation for my employer (Spring Valley Library). This assessment is an example of the Organization of Record Knowledge and Information competency.
Most assessments cannot be completed successfully without an assessment plan. The development of an assessment plan is usually a task performed by the library manager. This assessment plan should include why an assessment is needed and the expected goals of the information gathered. The evaluative skills needed to development an assessment plan are listed in one of the core competencies of librarianship required by the American Library Association. This specific core competency is Organization of Recorded Knowledge and Information.
Competencies associated with the objectives of the library should be used as a guide to identify what needs to be evaluated. Various needs can be used in the evaluation. Materials, equipment, staffing, and operating hours can all be used in the assessment. Although not common, evaluations and analyses from outside agencies can be used and may prove to be beneficial for the overall outcome. User involvement has been the most successful assessment/evaluation strategy in my personal experience as noted in my Library Assessment/Evaluation.
It is important to justify the purpose of the assessment so specific details of the information gathered should be listed. Comparing the library to be evaluated with another library that offers similar services is a great idea. Reviewing the relevance of programs, services, and material is also a good point of emphasis. An assessment emphasis that is usually overlooked is the evaluation of users utilizing the services. Once these objectives have been assessed, the evaluator has a substantial source of information.
ALA. (2009). ALA’s Core Competencies of Librarianship. Retrieved February 18, 2015 from the World Wide Web: http://www.ala.org/educationcareers/sites/ala.org.educationcareers/files/content/careers/corecomp/corecompetences/finalcorecompstat09.pdf