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Archive for July, 2007

An ROI Calculator for Libraries

The North Suburban Library System (north suburban Chicago, IL) has created a Return on Investment (ROI) Calculator on their website in keeping with their theme for the month of July, 2007: Dollars and Sense: Why Libraries are a Good Investment. For more information about this tool, visit:http://www.nsls.info/articles/detail.aspx?articleID=143.

Free Online Course on Outcomes-Based Planning and Evaluation

Shaping Outcomes, an online course on outcomes-based planning and evaluation, will be available free to museum and library professionals this summer and fall. The instructor-mediated course, which will help participants improve program designs and evaluations, was developed through a cooperative agreement between the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis (IUPUI). Through the approximately five-week course, participants will work at their own pace to learn outcomes-based planning and evaluation concepts and apply the concepts to a program or a project at their own institutions. A special course for those interested in teaching Shaping Outcomes or incorporating it into their own curricula will be offered in October 2007. Those interested in learning more about Shaping Outcomes or registering for one of the courses should visit http://www.shapingoutcomes.org or e-mail outcomes@iupui.edu.

Registration for 2007 American Evaluation Association Conference

For those of you interested in attending the 2007 American Evaluation Association Conference in Baltimore (November 7-10), information is now online at the AEA conference Web site.  I also recommend AEA’s pre- and post-conference professional development workshops, which are offered Nov. 5-7 and Nov. 11. Workshop descriptions and cost information are available here.  Many of these workshops have been taught by the same instructors year after year and have received high evaluations. The quality can vary, however — so maybe some of you who have previously attended the AEA conference can add their comments about the workshops they liked.

New books about online surveys recommended at the AEA listserv

Because so many RMLs conduct online surveys, I thought I would mention a couple of books recently recommended in discussions at EvalTalk, the American Evaluation Association’s listserv. The first is Don Dillman’s book “Mail and Internet Surveys” (updated 2007, Sage). Don Dillman is probably the best known survey researcher – that is, he researches the best ways to conduct survey research. I have used this particular book and found it to be very useful, although I have not seen this edition. The second book is by Sue and Ritter called “Conducting Online Surveys” (2007, Sage). One listserv member said he liked the book because (among other things) it addressed issues related to response rates – a concern that most of us have regarding online surveys. If you are a member of AEA, you may get similar information from an upcoming issue of New Directions in Evaluation which deals directly with use of online surveys in evaluation. This issue is edited by Sue and Ritter and is due out in September. New Directions in Evaluation is free to AEA members.

How to Assess the Value of Libraries from ACT for Libraries

Imholz S, Arns JW. Worth Their Weight: An Assessment of the Evolving Field of Library Valuation. New York: Americans for Libraries Council, 2007.

“Worth Their Weight” takes stock of the field of library valuation, defined as the process of assessing the value of a library to its community in actual dollars and cents. The report was issued by Americans for Libraries Council (ALC), “a nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing innovation and investment in the nation’s libraries.” The report describes different valuation models adapted from business and the nonprofit sector, such as social return-on-investment, triple-bottom line accounting, corporate social responsibility reports, and the balanced scorecard. To provide an overview of the valuation field, the report includes summaries of 17 public library valuation and impact studies (with links to the full reports). These summaries include detailed descriptions of the methods used, including actual surveys employed by the libraries. Finally, the report suggests ways to build the field of valuation and apply findings for use in library advocacy. The report relates specifically to public libraries, but the information has applicability to hospital and health science library valuation.