The ACRL Annual Survey is administered by the ACRL Academic Library Trends and Statistics Survey Editorial Board and is designed to gather information at the national levels from all types of academic libraries.
The ACRL Academic Library Trends and Statistics Survey has three objectives.
I'm at an ARL Library and we collect our own statistics. Why should my library participate in this survey? Why participate? The value of the survey data is enhanced by the participation of all libraries representing all Carnegie Classifications and, as members of the ACRL Academic Library Trends and Statistics Editorial Board, we need your help to meet this goal. We know that compiling statistics takes time, but the contribution of your data is essential and extremely valuable for your colleagues. We are asking for your help to ensure that we have the data to assess trends in 21st-century academic libraries, and, more importantly, to compile a national overview of the overall resources and impact of academic libraries.
We all face stiff competition on our campuses for funding, and in these times of limited resources, more and more academic libraries must include data in their funding and program requests. This is especially true for requests for outside funding. By participating in the 2016 survey, you are not only providing the profession with timely data to inform decision making at a wide variety of institutions, but you also help colleagues and researchers facilitate comparisons through benchmarking within peer groups, as well as helping libraries present data that demonstrate the value we provide to our institutions and beyond. The data may help make a case in a research study or inform the academic library profession globally. The requests for this type of data and possible uses are endless.
I’ve already submitted my data to IPEDS so why should I complete the ACRL survey? If enough participating libraries are doing the two surveys in the reverse order we can investigate reverse engineering the process so that IPEDS data could be downloaded and filled into the ACRL survey. The ACRL Trends & Statistics Editorial Board had thought through a process whereby the ACRL data could be easily uploaded to IPEDs and had not considered the alternate work flow. Our goal had been to reduce duplicate manual entry.
We had anticipated that respondents would fill out the ACRL survey and then download the IPEDS portion for easy submission. This year we opened the survey in early September (and are closing it earlier) to better align with the IPEDS data collection period. We want people to complete the IPEDS Academic Component of our survey early so as to be able to download and send along the institutional keyholder in advance of the deadline. Respondents who complete the ACRL survey have, in fact, completed the IPEDS survey IF they download the data and email over to the IR keyholder on campus.
How are the trends questions developed? The ACRL Academic Library Trends and Statistics Survey Editorial Board develops the trends questions each year in response to perceived needs. Survey participants can also help us develop future surveys by providing suggestions for future trends to explore on the annual survey.
I have suggestions for future surveys. Where can I send them? Participating libraries can submit suggestions for future surveys as part of the annual ACRL Academic Library Trends & Statistics Survey. You may also email suggestions to the chair of the Editorial Board. The current roster for the editorial board is available at http://www.ala.org/acrl/aboutacrl/directoryofleadership/editorialboards/acr-stats. Once you login, the contact information for the editorial board members will display.
Why isn’t the survey data free to participating institutions? ACRL does incur expenses in connection with the annual data collection and recovers some of the costs through subscriptions to ACRL Metrics (which provides access to all ACRL survey data back to 1998 as well as NCES Academic Library Survey data from 2000-2012).