Academic journal article Reference & User Services Quarterly

Managing with Data: Using ACRLMetrics and PLAmetrics

Academic journal article Reference & User Services Quarterly

Managing with Data: Using ACRLMetrics and PLAmetrics

Article excerpt

Managing with Data: Using ACRLMetrics and PLAmetrics. By Peter Hernon, Robert E. Dugan, and Joseph R. Matthews. Chicago: ALA, 2015. 232 p. Paper. $85 (ISBN: 978-0-8389-1243-0).

Statistics can be daunting, but for today's library managers, they are an inescapable part of the job. Managers need data to guide the decisions they make. They also must provide evidence to library stakeholders of the direct and indirect benefits their libraries offer. Managing with Data, a companion volume to the authors' Getting Started with Evaluation (ALA, 2014), provides a detailed approach to how to choose the best metrics for library assessment and how to tell a persuasive story with the resulting data.

Deciding what metrics best prove a library's value can be a manager's first hurdle. Collections, services, staffing, and library use are all traditional measures, and the book covers these in detail. Lists of possible metrics are provided, as well as illustrations of how they can be applied to demonstrate value and reveal important trends. In addition to quantitative measures, the authors cover how to assess the often elusive qualitative ways a library adds value. Managing with Data also covers the benchmarking process, best practices, and how to effectively communicate results to the community or campus. Closing the loop--using results to improve practice--is often a neglected step in the assessment process, but the authors cover this in the final chapter with tips on how to use outcomes to enact organizational change.

The most striking feature of this book is its hands-on approach: It includes step-by-step examples that allow users to manipulate real data from real libraries. …

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