Presented by Ana Guimaraes and Michael Luther July 6, 2016.
In June 2015, the Kennesaw State University Library System launched a pilot implementation of a newly-conceived Collection Assessment Plan. The plan follows a 5-year rotating schedule for systematically reviewing print holdings of the KSU Library System. The plan is broad in scope. It spans multiple library departments and integrates into operational workflows. Project contributors include Undergraduate Faculty Liaisons and Graduate Librarians as well as professional, paraprofessional, and student employees from Access Services, Technical Services, and Interlibrary Loan. In all, 36 staff members distributed over four library locations participated in this much-needed collection assessment and maintenance project.
Collection Assessment can serve numerous functions. It allows a library to better understand the needs of the community, to report assessment findings to administrative stakeholders and, importantly, it informs decisions about collection maintenance. These decisions include matters of selection and withdrawal, among others. The plan recognizes that no single metric is sufficient to serve all of these roles. Rather, it investigates multiple aspects of the collection, including use, patron perception, holdings analysis, areas of existing need, core title list comparisons, and peer benchmarks. Assessment is often considered peripheral to a library's primary objectives; it measures and reports on library activities from the sidelines. A preferable approach would be for assessment information to be in the hands of decision-makers at the point of need. This model of collection assessment endorses the idea that assessment is best employed when fully integrated into collection workflows and procedures, and distributed among staff who make decisions about selection and withdrawal. Ultimately, this plan seeks to provide structure for improved decision-making and strategic collection growth.