Category Archives: Focus on Assessment

Data Days 2020 schedule announced

By: Lana Munip

The Assessment Department is excited to announce the lineup for Data Days 2020 on July 31:

We have a full schedule of 13 presentations that together offer a glimpse into the breadth of research and data-related activities being conducted across the Libraries. The keynote address will be presented by Leo Lo, associate dean for Learning, Undergraduate Services and Commonwealth Campuses. No registration is required, and you can participate in some or all of the sessions depending on your interest (zoom links will be added closer to the date).

All sessions will be recorded for later viewing. If you have any questions, please email

Ithaka S+R Undergraduate Survey 2020

By: Lana Munip

The University Libraries will conduct the Ithaka S+R Undergraduate Survey from March 23 to April 20. It’s been four years since we last surveyed our undergraduate population and it will be interesting to see what’s changed.

As before, the sample will include students from all locations with undergraduate populations, including World Campus. At some campuses, the entire undergraduate population will be invited to participate. (These include Beaver, Brandywine, DuBois, Fayette, Greater Allegheny, Hazleton, Lehigh Valley, Mont Alto, New Kensington, Schuylkill, Shenango, Wilkes-Barre, Scranton, York.)

The survey will cover the following areas:
1) coursework, academics, and information practices;
2) perceptions of the role of the library;
3) library space planning;
4) extra- and co-curricular activities; and
5) interest in and opportunities for conducting or contributing to original research.

As an incentive to participate, students who complete the survey will have the chance to enter a drawing for one of 10 $100 Amazon gift cards. Our office is working with Public Relations and
Marketing to promote the survey widely. We’ll share more news about this closer to the date.

The Libraries will receive a summary report of findings from Ithaka S+R approximately three weeks after the survey closes, after which visualizations of the data will be created, similar to the 2019 Graduate and 2018 Faculty Surveys. These visualizations will be filterable to the campus library level. Additional analysis of the data will take place in summer.

If you have any questions about the survey, please contact Lana Munip, or 814-863-1939. If you want to see the visualizations from our earlier surveys, please go to: and follow the links in the left side bar.

Focus on Assessment: University Libraries Factbook

By: Leigh Tinik

The Library Assessment Department’s mission is to use evidence-based approaches aimed at reducing uncertainty to inform decision making. The Department strives to increase the transparency of library service and operational data and provide data and analysis in support of strategic and operational needs.

In order to provide faculty and staff with access to library data to better inform decision making, the Assessment Department has developed a University Library Factbook, including up-to-date
information on key library metrics. This factbook contains statistics on circulation, inter-library loan, full-text journal article and ebook downloads, website analytics, reference transactions, study rooms, gate counts, student enrollment, and library personnel.

Data for these metrics is displayed by fiscal quarter. Information is shown by fiscal quarter, rather than academic semester, due to the reporting requirements of the Association of
Research Libraries and the Association of College and Research Libraries. The Factbook contains historical information from FY 18-19 until present and will continue to be updated quarterly. In addition to historical trends, statistics are broken out by Library whenever possible to enable decision making by specific location.

The purpose of this dashboard is to provide up-to-date information for use by colleagues across the many library locations to help inform practices. We would love to hear from
you if there are additional metrics or visualizations that would be useful to you. If you have any questions or comments regarding the Factbook, please reach out to Leigh Tinik at or 814.863.1880.

The Factbook can be viewed on the University Libraries Staff Site, at the following location:

Focus on Assessment: spring 2020 update

By: Steve Borrelli

Before the term gets too far underway, I want to share some of the work Assessment Department Work completed in fall, and share some of what we have planned for spring.

First, spring Data Gathering Week will begin Monday, March 23, and run through Sunday March 29. Leigh Tinik has a couple of reminders planned, so keep an eye out for those. In the fall, we received data from all 25 participating library locations. Results from that collection period are available on the staff website.

Fall re-cap:

This fall, Library Assessment began piloting the provision of institutional data to library researchers. This is in response to OPAIR’s (Office of Planning, Assessment, and Institutional Research) refocus and pulling back on providing similar services. To date, Assessment has successfully supported two projects. Leigh Tinik is leading this effort and will similarly support the upcoming Ithaka Survey of Undergraduates, by developing the sample and de-identifying results before sharing with the research team. Assessment is working with the Office of Privacy & Information Security to develop good practices in support of this work, and will be meeting with Records management to further develop internal practices. We want to be good stewards of student and university data and are putting considerable effort to shoring up our practices so that we can provide and advise on data practices with confidence.

In the fall, Assessment completed two space related projects I’d like to highlight. The first, an investigation of the impact of the Collaboration Commons, was presented at the recent Dean’s Forum. The study highlights elements of the design that positively impact students and their work. The study was led by Lana Munip, and included Laura Spess from Lending Services. Laura was a full research team member working with Assessment as part of a job enrichment. The second study analyzed results of the Ithaka Survey of Undergraduates and Graduate & Professional Students to consider if the data supports dedicating space in Pattee and Paterno Libraries for graduate students. The study included an analysis of over 30 common space-related questions. The evidence showed that non-STEM graduate students reported similar levels of library facilities use as undergraduates, and that overall, UP graduate respondents were as or more satisfied than undergraduates. This, coupled with the finding that over 80% of UP graduate students reported having a place on campus to work on their research and papers, suggested that there was little evidence to support dedicating limited space exclusively to graduate students. The team for this study included Susan Lane (Cataloging Dept.) as a job enrichment and Steve Borrelli, assisted by Lana Munip. Reports from both projects are available in the Assessment Archive.

Spring projects:

In spring, external reporting gets into full swing, with ARL data due in January, and ACRL & IPEDS in February. Assessment plans to administer the Ithaka Survey of Undergraduates in March. Also beginning in March the Assessment Department plans to conduct an assessment of the impact of open-office environments on the LLS & Re-Pub units. We also hope to recruit a new department member.

Large-scale graduate and professional student survey opens March 18

By: Lana Munip

The University Libraries will conduct a survey of graduate and professional students on a range of topics, including library resource use, perceptions of service and current and future needs. The survey will run from March 18, 2019, to April 15, 2019, and will be administered in partnership with a national research organization, Ithaka S+R.

This is the first large-scale survey of graduate and professional students conducted by the University Libraries. The results will inform service, space and resource planning and will enable the Libraries to make targeted enhancements based on student needs. A sample of graduate and professional students will receive an email invitation to participate in the survey on Mar. 18.

For each completed response received, the University Libraries will donate $2 to the Lion’s Pantry, the University’s student food pantry.

For more information about the survey, please contact Steve Borrelli, head, Library Assessment,

Focus on Assessment: Spring 2019 Update

By: Steve Borrelli

As we ring in the New Year, I want to look back at some highlights from fall 2018 assessment projects and look forward to what we hope to accomplish in spring.

Ithaka Faculty Survey

In the spring, the Libraries conducted the Ithaka Faculty Survey. Over the summer, Assessment invested in Tableau data visualization software and through the summer months visualized the results with interactive graphs.  Throughout the fall, Assessment partnered with colleagues to present the results in brown bag sessions focused on focal areas of the survey. Our last one is scheduled for Jan. 10, from noon to 1:00 pm, in the Dean’s Library Conference Room, when we’ll review the results to the Scholarly Communications Questions with Copyright Officer Brandy Karl. It will also be broadcast over Zoom. Over 800 faculty across 24 campuses completed the survey. Key findings include:

  • 56% of respondents ranked their dependence on the University Libraries between an 8 and 10 (highly dependent), compared with 48% of their peers in the Ithaka National Survey.
  • The majority of respondents would be “fine” if electronic journals replaced canceled print journals
  • Respondents were in broad agreement that librarians contributed significantly to their students’ learning by helping them develop research skills, with 56% noting that this described their point of view very to extremely well

Informing the Message: Collaboration with Development and Alumni Relations

This fall, Assessment partnered with Development and Alumni Relations to inform messaging when working with potential donors by investigating emotional connections to the University Libraries. We ran focus groups with donors, alumni, parents of current students, graduate and undergraduate students (including subsets who identify as “non-library” users) to learn about their emotional connections, awareness of services and to solicit feedback on a draft “vision.” This was the largest focus group investigation to date for the Assessment Department which included nine sessions with over 50 participants. Since about half of participants were outside of State College, we experimented with “virtual focus groups,” conducting many of the sessions over zoom. This partnership resulted in rich data about what matters to different stakeholder groups and will inform Development Board practice. For instance, one alumnus discussed how in his time as a student, the Libraries were a great place to come on a Thursday evening if you didn’t have a date for the weekend. Other key findings include:

Emotional Connections

  • All stakeholder groups communicated a reverence for the Libraries. It was described as “a place for every student,” equalizing access to support and resources regardless of means
  • Parents, alumni, and donors envied the services and resources available to today’s students, describing the University Libraries as the type of library they wished they had as students

All stakeholder groups value the library for providing a conducive work environment

  • Students have plenty of options for finding noisy places to work and highlighted the conducive work environment above all other factors, valuing the Libraries as it “symbolizes learning”
  • Alumni recalled visiting the Libraries for the same reasons as current students, to escape from the distractions of their dorms and a place where they could be productive

Library as a service provider

  • Parents noted the convenience and usefulness of the Libraries as a center for co-located services, which enabled students to address multiple needs in one place. They supported services targeting “problem-solving” for early career students
  • Donors highlighted how the Libraries met students’ academic and future workplace needs through exposure to technologies and services that were transferable to workplace contexts

This spring, in addition to the projects we conduct annually we plan to:

  • Conduct the Ithaka Graduate Student Survey. We expect to administer the survey in March. This survey will complete our first cycle of user surveys (undergrad, grad, faculty) after which we’ll start the cycle again
  • Partner with Political Science Librarian Andrew Dudash to conduct a needs assessment investigating undergraduate research experiences of political science graduate students to learn how these experiences prepared them for graduate work. This project has received IRB approval and will launch in February
  • Partner with colleagues at the Abington Campus to investigate space improvements

Focus on Assessment: Fall 2018 assessment update

By: Steve Borrelli

Focus on Assessment: Fall 2018 Assessment Update

With the fall term underway, I thought this would be a good time to give an update on what the Assessment Department has planned for this semester, and there’s lots to tell you about.

Bikalpa Neupane photo 2018For starters, Bikalpa Neupane is our new graduate assistant. Bikalpa is a 4th year Ph.D. candidate in College of Information Sciences and Technology, studying human-computer interaction and artificial intelligence. His initial work (described below) is to develop views into historical circulation.

The Library Assessment and Metrics Council (LAMC) completed its work on the Assessment Archive in the spring. The archive aims to provide a place for you to upload documents related to local assessments to improve the libraries’ ability to tell our story and to serve as a repository of assessment projects to provide ideas, guidance, and contacts for when you’re considering developing an assessment project and want to get some ideas on how to go about it.  Over the summer, we’ve worked to populate it with Assessment Department projects, and we’re starting to see projects from colleagues around the libraries too. We’re approaching 20 projects to date, so take a look when you have a chance and consider submitting a project you’ve completed.

In addition to the projects described below, we’ll be consulting on a number of other projects, and have two job enrichment opportunities in the works. We look forward to getting these finalized and moving forward so we can take on additional projects and further enhance organizational capacity for assessment.

Data Gathering Week will run this fall from Monday 10/15 through Sunday 10/21. I plan to send a couple of reminders out as the dates approach.

Fall 2018 Assessment Projects:

Communicating the Results of the Ithaka Faculty Survey – The Libraries administered a local version of the Ithaka Faculty Survey between March and April. This survey has a series of questions about how faculty discover and access research materials, issues around scholarly communications and conducting research, data management, and teaching practices, as well as a forward-looking market research section that has some really interesting questions and results.

Since receiving the results in May, we’ve been working to visualize the results using Tableau. Lana Munip developed filterable visualizations for each question, available on the intranet. Over the next couple of weeks, we plan to schedule a series of brown bag meetings to review the sections, hopefully with the help of those who are closely tied to the programming around these sections. The first of these will be at noon on Fri. 9/28 in the Dean’s conference room and over Zoom Stay tuned for more on this.

Investigating Emotional Connections to the University Libraries: exploring motivations for utilization and support – The Assessment Department and the Development and Alumni Relations Department are partnering to host 10 focus groups with students, parents of current students, and donors. The goal is to learn more about why students use the library, what their parents think the library is about, and to investigate emotional connections to the library to inform the development of a cohesive message that the Libraries Development Board members can use when working with potential donors.

Needs Assessment of Political Science Graduate Students – This partnership between Social Science Librarian Andrew Dudash and the Assessment Department will conduct a focus group study of incoming Poli. Sci graduate students, to investigate the extent of their understanding of how the libraries can help them, and to better understand their needs and interests to inform support and programming plans.

Assessing a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) environment and the viability of portable chargers as an alternative to adding additional outlets – This study is a partnership between the Knowledge Commons and the Assessment Department. As the Collaboration Commons (currently under construction) will function as a BYOD space, we’re interested in assessing if BYOD will meet student needs. We plan to conduct an observational study, integrate flip charts in the new Paterno 128 space adjacent to Starbucks, and survey students about their laptop usage and needs. Since the conversion of Paterno 128 did not include adding additional outlets, and the Libraries are providing portable chargers, we thought we’d take a look at what students think about these, too. This study will span most of the semester.

Libraries Website Top Level Language  – This usability study will use card sorting to identify students’ preferred grouping and labels for the top-level navigation links (i.e., Services, Research, About, Ask). The testing will take place online via our library website as well as in person at UX Cafe during the semester.

Visualizing Historical Circulation– This project is about enhancing organizational access to data and informing decision making. Bikalpa aims to develop multiple views into historical circulation with the aim of assisting Collections Services and Strategies Librarian, Julia Proctor, and others involved in collection development look at circulation history in new and interesting ways. The plan is to develop views of LC circulation, user type, and location by timeframe. This is a rather data-heavy project requiring deep knowledge of our data and tools. This project would not be possible without the cooperation and support of I-tech and Lending Services.

There is a lot of information here. Feel free to reach out with questions or comments.


Large-scale faculty survey opens March 13

By: Lana Munip

The University Libraries is conducting a survey of Penn State faculty on the impact of digital technologies on research, teaching, and publishing. The survey will run from Tuesday, March 13, 2018 to Tuesday, April 10, 2018, and is conducted in partnership with a national research organization, Ithaka S+R.

This is the first large scale survey of faculty conducted by the University Libraries in many years and the goal is to learn more about:

1. the ways that PSU faculty discover and access scholarly materials in their teaching and research;
2. the evolving role of the library and of library collections;
3. current research and teaching practices, with particular emphasis on how these are changing in light of opportunities created by new technology; and
4. the ways in which faculty communicate the findings of their research
through a variety of media.

Results from this survey will impact the Libraries’ plans for service and
resource improvement. A sample of faculty members from across all Penn State
campuses will receive an invitation to participate in the survey on March 13.
Note: This includes all librarians at all campuses.

For each completed survey, the Libraries will donate $2.00 to the Lion’s
Pantry, the University’s student food pantry. For more information on the
survey, please contact Steve Borrelli, head, Library Assessment,

Focus on Assessment: Report from UX Café – fall 2017

By: Zoe  Chao

As 2017 comes to an end, I want to take the opportunity to give you an update on this semester’s UX Café. I had four UX Cafés this semester with a total of 37 participants. Here is a list of the key findings of each study:

• Digital signage: the information of available computers and library hours are must-haves.
• Hompage, top menu: students preferred drop-down menus to landing pages.
• Homepage, bottom section: most participants never clicked any link in this section.
• Room reservation: students had difficulty finding rules for room reservation.

You can read my UX Café reports on the intranet:

As usual, it was fun to watch students navigating our website. I got to observe (and confirm) their gravitation toward a less cluttered drop-down menu, their reliance on playing with applications to figure things out, and their complete disregard for our “we-thought-it-would-be-helpful” instructions.

In addition to my usual usability testing and interviews, I tried a new method called “Kano model” which proved to be a very effective way to gather user feedback on concrete, unambiguous features of a design. The method was not as effective in assessing user need for links on the homepage because students were not familiar with the content behind each link. (For more information on Kano model, go to

So far, I have two studies lined up for next semester: the library open house interface and the new campus map application. If you are interested in conducting UX studies, feel free to email me. I am available to share my tips and help you with design considerations.

Screen shot of student satisfaction based on User Centered study.

The result of digital signage study using Kano model. The low satisfaction (similar to being annoyed) of not seeing “available computers” and the high satisfaction (similar to being happy) of seeing it indicate this piece
of information has to be present in the digital sign.


Focus on Assessment: In Support of International Students, Multi-Campus Perspectives

Submitted by Carmen Gass

Join us for “Focus on Assessment: In Support of International Students, Multi-Campus Perspectives,” 2 p.m. Tuesday, October 31, in Foster Auditorium, Paterno Library, and via Mediasite Live.

Focus on Assessment: Summer 2017

Well, summer 2017 was yet another one that seemed to go by in a flash. Now that the new term is in session, it’s time to share some of what the Assessment Department has been up to and where we’re headed. In addition to consulting with many of you on projects — from conducting your own UX studies to assessing services — we’ve also been busy working to move the Libraries forward in a number of areas.

Some highlights from 2017 include:

  • UX work on Scholarsphere, subject library web pages, and assessing the new budget request system.
  • The Ithaka Survey of Undergraduates conducted in spring 2016, continues to provide additional insights about our undergraduate population. Susan Lane, as part of a job enrichment opportunity, continues to mine the data for insights relative to international students.
  • A study of international undergraduate students and what contributes to their feelings of belonging in our spaces was completed in spring, led by Diversity Resident Librarian Alia Gant, and Library Assessment Graduate Assistant Chao Su. Together they led a team of researchers to learn what we as Libraries do to promote a sense of belonging. They interviewed 27 library personnel across seven campuses, and conducted focus groups across three campuses to learn from the student perspective what Libraries can do to contribute a sense of belonging. For those interested, an internal report is available.
  • Both of the international undergraduate focused projects were used to develop a comprehensive report about what we know about the needs of our international student population and presented to Mark Mattson, Global Partnership and Outreach librarian. Mark has a number of activities and events planned for the upcoming term informed in part by report contents. We hope to share some of what we’ve learned in a forum later this fall.
  • Reporting out from our organization is complicated due to the many locations, systems, and oddities of our collections. To begin evaluating our processes for reporting with an eye toward improving accuracy & efficiencies, Sherry Roth and Lana Munip have teamed up to develop a database of reporting procedures. This project has the potential to reduce time and complexities in external reporting and improve the overall accuracy of the values we report.
  • In order to know how we’re doing we need to know how we’ve done in the past, and how we compare historically with peers. To that end we have compiled 10 years of key ARL data for the PSUL and our BTAA peers. We have also developed a 2015-2016 snapshot that includes rankings across the statistical categories. Now we’re working to get the data loaded to our web page so you can make use of it.

Looking forward, we’re going to continue to mine data from the Ithaka Survey of Undergraduates 2016, looking at subsets of responses for various purposes, including responses from engineering students, first-generation students, and overall responses to Information Literacy and other questions in the “Undergraduate Research” module. We plan to conduct a number of UX projects focused on aspects of our web presence. We are ramping up in preparation for reporting out to ARL, ACRL, & IPEDS, in addition to conducting the Library Inventory Report. We’ll continue with our benchmarking and visualization work.  We have some exciting plans to collaborate with colleagues at Montana State University around participatory design, which will culminate in a research project with first-generation students, and we are getting ready to begin work relative to building a library data warehouse.

This may seem like quite a full plate for a small office, but we like what we do so we’ll manage.

If you have assessment questions, or project ideas that you’d like help and would like to set up a consultation, reach out to anyone in the Assessment Department. We’ll be happy to work with you.

– submitted by Steve Borrelli

LAMC projects aim to strengthen culture of assessment

by Steve Borrelli, Library Assessment

For this Focus on Assessment, I want to highlight the work of the Library Assessment and Metrics Council (LAMC). In 2016, the council expanded to 20 members, with four membership slots reserved for colleagues outside of University Park. Presently, the LAMC includes staff and faculty from seven campuses. Together, we’re working on four projects aimed at developing data and assessment skills and perspectives, and at developing an infrastructure to support the assessment needs of the University Libraries.

  • On Friday, April 21, we’ll be hosting researchers from the University of Minnesota, Jan Fransen and Krista Soria. They’re part of a research team that has been successful in connecting library data (checkouts, reference, database use, etc.) to student retention. They’ve also shown how first-year first-time students’ GPA is impacted by library use (check outs, using databases, reference, etc.). They’ll be visiting University Park to discuss their work and to discuss considerations for conducting our own similar analyses. They’ll also be delivering a talk about developing a research agenda. The presentations are open to all and will be available on Mediasite Live. The full schedule for the day is available here.
  • The Assessment Archive will be a place where faculty and staff can submit completed assessment projects, both large- and small-scale, so that others can find and make use of these assessment results. We see this as also having the secondary benefit of providing a central location for those looking for ideas for their assessments. Each project will have a searchable project page describing the project, the submitted materials and results. We anticipate launching this project by the end of July. More information about the Assessment Archive will come soon.
  • Library Data Days is envisioned to be a full-day event providing professional development around the central theme of “using data.” The project is currently in an exploratory stage to gauge interest and develop a loose budget. An interest survey was recently sent out and is available here for anyone interested who may have missed it. The event is tentatively scheduled for Monday, July 10, in University Park.
  • The Library Data Inventory project is aimed at learning what data is collected broadly around the libraries to support decision making. The first phase of the project is looking at the data collected through Desk Tracker. The idea here is to get an understanding of what data is collected consistently across the libraries, then to talk with those using the data in their decision making in order to make recommendations or suggest best practices for recording. The LAMC group working on this has met with representatives from the Desk Tracker Team, and will be touching base as we move forward on the project.

If you have questions about any of these projects, talk with anyone on the LAMC, or contact me directly at


Findings from the Ithaka Survey of Undergraduates

On Tuesday, Dec. 6, the Library Assessment Department held a forum to present the findings from the Ithaka Survey of Undergraduates conducted this past spring. This was a long survey asking students to respond to approximately 200 questions.

Our analysis looked at demographic characteristics to learn more about differences across sub-populations. One finding in particular, that no difference was found in terms of sense of belonging between international and domestic students, will be used as a seed for an assessment slated to be conducted in the spring.

The presentation is linked on the Ithaka Survey Intranet page along with the data, and other products resulting from the study. Findings from the study relate to major, ethnicity and first-generation status among other demographic characteristics.

Overall findings suggest that undergraduates:

  • Overwhelmingly value our services and facilities
  • Visit our facilities frequently and stay for long periods of time
  • Feel a sense of belonging when in our libraries and are motivated to be productive while there

Results relating to specific populations:

First-generation students:

  • Report a stronger sense of belonging than other students
  • Find librarians and core library services more useful than other students
  • Know where to ask for help on questions relating to resources for their coursework

Minority students (African Americans & Hispanic/Latino):

  • Report a stronger sense of belonging than White students
  • Find librarians and core services more useful than White students

International students:

  • No difference found in terms of sense of belonging compared to domestic students
  • Have more difficulty accessing resources for their coursework and research
  • World Campus students who have attended a library instruction session are more likely to agree that librarians help them develop research skills

Library Assessment is happy to work with units with specific questions about the data.

– submitted by Steve Borrelli, Library Assessment

Focus on Assessment: Knowledge Commons

By Victoria Raish, graduate assistant, Knowledge Commons
(Raish is a Ph.D. candidate in Learning, Design, and Technology, Learning and Performance Systems)

As many of you are probably aware the Penn State Pattee Paterno Libraries renovated and opened the Knowledge Commons in the fall of 2012. Since this time the space has proved to be a very popular destination among students and if you walk in on a typical academic day the space is likely to be full. What you might not be aware of is that since the Fall of 2014 the library made the decision to add a graduate assistant under the tutelage of Joe Fennewald, head of the Knowledge Commons, to develop a research agenda around this space.

As part of this research we have created a comprehensive ethnographic study of informal learning spaces on campus. One of the challenges of studying informal learning spaces is how to assess them. There have been calls to assess how these spaces impact student learning. However, because the spaces are informal and authentic, it proves to be a challenge to control confounding variables enough to attribute student use of the space to improved learning outcomes for them. However, one way that we can assess informal learning spaces is to observe student behavior across many spaces on campus.

Our research agenda focused on student behavior in the Knowledge Commons, in the Paterno Reading Room, and in the Pollock Computer Lab. The driving force behind this decision was that many studies have looked at student behavior within a ‘typical’ knowledge commons space but have limited their study to that space. By looking across spaces we are better able to assess if the behavior exhibited in students in the Knowledge Commons is similar or different than the behavior of students in other informal learning spaces. Our methodological toolkit involves:

1. Seating sweeps of the space where we keep a checklist of student possessions and activities

2. Focused field observations of the spaces

3. A survey of typical behavior

4. A Google Analytic analysis run by Alex Brown, another graduate assistant of the libraries, looking at Penn State Library websites visited while in the Knowledge Commons or Pollock Computer Lab

5. Interviews with students who choose to study in these three spaces.

As a result of this research we hope to add knowledge on how students are using specific informal learning spaces and why they choose to use these spaces. We are happy to say that the assistantship has been extended into the 2015/2016 school year and are moving in the direction of studying collaborative activity in the group study rooms within the Knowledge Commons.

Fall 2014 Data Gathering Week Report

Submitted by Alan Shay, data analyst

For one week each fall and spring semester, the University Libraries requests faculty and staff to diligently collect and record both gate counts and reference transactions using the Desk Tracker system. From October 12–18, faculty and staff of the Penn State University Libraries participated in the Fall 2014 Data Gathering Week. The figures collected during these weeks are extrapolated over an entire academic year and then used as official figures reported to external constituents such as ARL and ACRL. For more information on the Data Gathering Week and to see the results from each library and location, please visit the Fall 2014 Data Gathering Week page on the LAMC website.

Reminder: Respond by Jan. 8 if you want to be involved in survey assessment

The Library Assessment and Metrics Council (LAMC) is pleased to announce the creation of a working group to assist the LAMC with the assessment of the recent LibQUAL survey comment responses. Members of this group will assist in the categorization and analysis of our patrons’ responses to the open-ended question regarding library services. Results of this analysis will assist the libraries assessment of currently provided services, while also providing analysis of our users’ service needs compared to the results of our previous LibQUAL surveys.

If you would like to be a part of this working group, please submit a brief statement of interest via email to the LAMC ( by Wednesday, January 8, 2014. The first meeting of this working group will occur in late January or early February of next year. The categorization and analysis done by the group should be completed within one month’s time. This is an excellent opportunity to contribute to the continual assessment initiatives of the University Libraries. Please consider expressing your interest.

Thank you,

The Library Assessment and Metrics Council

Members needed for new LibQUAL assessment group

Submitted by Alan Shay, data analyst

The Library Assessment and Metrics Council (LAMC) is pleased to announce the creation of a working group to assist the LAMC with the assessment of the recent LibQUAL survey comment responses. Members of this group will assist in the categorization and analysis of our patrons’ responses to the open-ended question regarding library services. Results of this analysis will assist the libraries assessment of currently provided services, while also providing analysis of our users’ service needs compared to the results of our previous LibQUAL surveys.

If you would like to be a part of this working group, please submit a brief statement of interest via email to the LAMC ( by Wednesday, January 8, 2014. The first meeting of this working group will occur in late January or early February of next year. The categorization and analysis done by the group should be completed within one month’s time. This is an excellent opportunity to contribute to the continual assessment initiatives of the University Libraries. Please consider expressing your interest.

Thank you,

The Library Assessment and Metrics Council

Behrend’s survey of graduating seniors

By Richard Hart, director, Lilley Library, Penn State Erie

For more than 20 years, Penn State Behrend has conducted a survey of its graduating seniors in order to measure their attitudes toward their college education. Originally administered through the Chancellor’s Office, in recent years the survey has been conducted by the College’s Institutional Research Committee. Among other things, the survey seeks information about the students’ satisfaction with their education, their post-graduation plans, and the degree to which they were challenged as students at Behrend.

Although it has been revised over the years, certain basic elements of the survey have remained relatively constant. Measuring student satisfaction with various campus offices, facilities, and services constitutes one of the central goals of the survey. Satisfaction is measured with a 5-point Likert-type scale. Included are the library, computing services, athletic facilities, the bursar, tutoring services, the bookstore, the registrar, residence life, food services, housing, and more, for a total of 26 items on the most recent survey. Continue reading