This past week our library was awarded the 2012 ACRL Excellence in Academic Libraries Award in the College category. Our team is all really honored and excited here. We’re looking forward to the party that we’re going to throw in celebration of it, because after all there ain’t no party like a library party. I’m also really grateful to ACRL and YBP for this recognition. This is one of those moments that makes it all worth it.
The process of writing the application involved significant effort, but was very valuable. First, it was exceedingly collaborative. Multiple people wrote sections of the narrative. We also had an all staff meeting where we took time to think about how we meet the needs and serve the mission of the college. All of our staff’s voices were represented in the final application and this made the final application that much stronger.
Second, it was valuable to think of what value we provide to students, faculty, and staff and then prove it. Our thinking was closely related to the Value of Academic Libraries Report that came out last year. Instead of thinking of inputs (how many books we own, amount of funding, etc.) we thought about outputs (the impact that we make on faculty, staff, students, and ultimately the college as an institution). We had to give evidence of that impact. That evidence came in the form of both statistical data such as information literacy assessment data and Noel-Levitz data, but it was also anecdotal and included quotes and tweets like the one below directly related to academic success.
Hey, Paula @champlib, I got an A on the final paper you helped me with.;)THANK YOU!!!
— Megan Goodell (@megan_goodell) May 3, 2011
We were all ecstatic to have won the award, but even if we hadn’t I knew that we had a great team doing some special things together and a document that we could be proud of. We’re a “small but mighty” staff and we have a lot of fun in the work that we do together. Being able to articulate that in a way that proved our value to others and brought all of our staff’s voices together was extremely rewarding.