The ABCS of Strategic Assessment: Building Blocks for Creating a New Plan in Challenging Times

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Edwards, Jamie, Rachel Gammons, Kristin Conlin, Lulu Barnachea, and Madhu Singh. “The ABCS of Strategic Assessment: Building Blocks for Creating a New Plan in Challenging Times.” Poster presentation at the annual meeting of ALA, San Francisco, CA, June 25-30, 2015.


The University of Maryland Libraries embarked on a journey to create a new assessment plan while a leadership transition loomed and campus budget cuts promised new priorities. The Libraries needed to harness its many assessment activities into a strategic coordinated program. The foundation of the new program derives from key building blocks: research, stakeholder engagement, best practices, skills and resources, and integration with strategic planning. To support this growth, the Libraries created a new model for developing assessment capacity: Assess-Build-Cultivate (ABC). The ABC model defines how the Libraries will identify their needs for assessment skills and resources, build their capacity, and cultivate a culture of strategic assessment. Building the new plan and program from the ground up required extensive collaboration inside and outside the organization. The Libraries formed a task force to coordinate this work and recommend how assessment can be deeply integrated into both everyday work and the organization’s strategic planning cycle. The results of the task force’s internal and external research revealed a dire need for coordination, training, and resources. The task force recommended best practices, a new assessment development plan, and the framework for a strategic assessment plan—to be evaluated soon by library management and staff. These building blocks represent what a library in a challenging environment can potentially do moving from limited resources and rapidly changing priorities to the promise of a new vision supported by assessment. The poster will provide charts of the team’s research and figures illustrating the ABC model and strategic framework.


Poster Presentation at American Library Association Annual Conference, 2015