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Yes we can! Communicating library value to a parent body

Majella Pugh, The University of Queensland

Thursday 18 September 2014 – Concurrent session 21, 11:25am to 11:55am


The presentation describes The University of Queensland (UQ) Library’s journey towards systematically measuring and communicating its value to its parent body. Work began with the re-establishment of the Library Quality and Assessment Advisory Group (QuAAG) early in 2013.

QuAAG referenced business logic theory, including the Strategic Communication Loop of sensemaking, choosing, doing and revision. For sensemaking, QuAAG initiated a project that first audited and assessed the usefulness of statistics gathered by Library staff. It sorted these into essentials for informing internal management (on the volume and quality of activity), figures required for external reporting (e.g. to CAUL), and data demonstrating value delivered as a benefit to the receiver.

Simultaneously, the project manager undertook a literature review on communicating library value, and from this knowledge base devised a table around UQ Library’s customer groups. Sixty-five points of value were identified then mapped to UQ’s 2014-2017 Strategic Plan.

From these, QuAAG chose 25 quantitative measures that demonstrated the Library’s delivery of value. To provide context to the measures, librarians began collecting additional qualitative data during consultations with customers. A simple question was asked, “What value does the Library provide to you?”

Finally, Library staff was informed, and collection systems were put in place. Data supporting selected measures will be collected throughout 2014 (doing), and will be revised towards the end of 2014 by QuAAG.

To communicate the Library’s value, the University Librarian will present quarterly findings to the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic). These will also be added to the Library’s website, for Library staff awareness and for communication to Library patrons.

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