About assessment

Library Department Assessment of Student Learning

The Library Department adopts the following information literacy standards developed by the Association of College & Research Libraries as our student learning outcomes for graduates of UWL. An information literate individual is able to: 

  • Determine the extent of information needed
  • Access the needed information effectively and efficiently
  • Evaluate information and its sources critically
  • Use information effectively to accomplish a specific purpose
  • Understand the economic, legal, and social issues surrounding the use of information, and access and use information ethically and legally

The Library Department’s core activities of information literacy instruction, supplemented by on-demand reference and consultation services, form the foundation of our program of teaching and learning.

The instructional design and integration librarian coordinates assessment of information literacy instruction. Individual librarians also conduct student learning assessment projects as important components of specialized library instruction developed for particular sets of students and their specific information needs.

The department measures student learning both directly and indirectly. Routine indirect measures include faculty evaluation of each information literacy instruction session for its effectiveness in teaching students the information literacy skills they need for the course. Also, direct observations of information seekers by librarians positively reflect the fruits of our efforts. Select direct measures of student learning are periodically employed in the classroom as well.

In all cases, assessment findings are used to inform the revision of lessons and learning objects in deliberate efforts to measurably improve student learning.


Murphy Library Evidence-Based Decision-Making

Librarians are responsible for assessment of programs associated with their principal areas of responsibility within the library, such as collection development, document delivery services, reference, etc.

Additionally, the Murphy Library Director and Chair of the Library Department work with the Faculty Senate Library Committee on assessment and review of library programs.

The library’s collection of information resources comprises the foundation of our role in the educational mission of UWL. Whether in the classroom, at the reference desk, or in the provision of other programs and services, the adequacy and effectiveness of the library collection is directly experienced by librarians in our ability to meet the specific information resource needs of the community. Gaps uncovered in the collections may be addressed with new library purchases initiated as the direct result of librarians working with faculty or students in support of specific research projects or assignments.

One method utilized for measuring the value of information resources contained in library collections is to monitor their rates of use. Frequently-used resources may be deemed highly valuable, while little-used resources may be considered expendable. The Library continually monitors the use of library resources by the UWL community and regularly takes levels of usage into account when making decisions regarding the renewal or cancellation of ongoing subscriptions.

An overall measure of Murphy Library’s value to the community is the extent to which people visit the facility, physically or virtually. The Library regularly takes counts of people currently in the building, people visiting the website, and more. Such data are routinely consulted and often drive major programmatic decisions.

Finally, from time to time the Library conducts surveys of our community of users and potential users to determine extents and levels of satisfaction, relative to expectations, with respect to library collections, facilities, and services. Measures of user perceptions are prized for their reflection of the library’s value to the community, and for providing grounds for setting and prioritizing goals and objectives for Murphy Library on behalf of the active community of researchers, teachers, and learners at UWL.


Current Assessment Projects

CST110: Assessment of Student Learning Outcomes in Information Literacy

Summary: The CST110 library day lesson was re-worked in fall 2012 to focus on strengthening student’s evaluation skills. In the spring of 2013, all CST110 sections were asked to take a post-test (quiz). Those results are currently being analyzed and a report is pending. CST has given approval for the library to develop a pre-test for students next fall.