If You Build It, They Will Come: Creating a Library Statistics Dashboard for Decision-Making

If You Build It, They Will Come: Creating a Library Statistics Dashboard for Decision-Making

Laura M. Horne-Popp (University of Central Missouri, USA), Elisabeth Bliese Tessone (University of Central Missouri, USA) and Joshua Welker (University of Central Missouri, USA)
Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 27
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2676-6.ch009
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Abstract

Like many academic libraries throughout the United States, the James C. Kirkpatrick Library at the University of Central Missouri has increasingly documented its impact on the university and its students. A library statistics dashboard tool was developed internally to assist with increased assessment activities. The Information Technology Librarian and the Library Assessment Team collaborated to create the dashboard tool. This case study discusses the impetus for developing the tool and provides a detailed explanation of the creation and testing of the dashboard. The chapter also describes the outcomes of using the dashboard tool in the library's assessment activities, along with recommendations for how other libraries may develop similar tools and skills within their organizations.
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Background

The University of Central Missouri (UCM) is a master’s-level public university situated in Warrensburg, Missouri, 50 miles east of Kansas City. Like many universities across the United States, UCM has had to increasingly demonstrate its value to students, parents, and the state. In 2015, UCM implemented a new performance-based funding model, known as the Strategic Resource Allocation Model (SRAM), which emphasized outcomes-based budgeting (University of Central Missouri, n. d.). The university appointed a cross section of university administrators, faculty, and staff to determine a more robust budgeting process. The Assistant Dean of Library Services, charged with library assessment, participated in the university’s SRAM project. This newly developed funding model acknowledged three major trends: tightened state funding, tuition-increase caps, and demonstration of improved university performance.

Meeting Campus Expectations

The SRAM plan focused the university budget on meeting 16 key performance indicators (KPIs) (University of Central Missouri, n. d.). Five of these KPIs included performance indicators the state of Missouri required for institutions to receive additional funding (Missouri Department of Higher Education, 2012; University of Central Missouri, n. d.). UCM required all academic units to support appropriate KPIs, and develop goals to ensure that the university met these indicators within a three-year period. As a campus support unit, the library was allowed to select which KPIs it would directly impact. The Assistant Dean of Library Services coordinated the selection process. These duties included communication with library employees on the changing budget structure, and pulling together library statistics, benchmarking data, and usability studies to aid in choosing applicable KPIs.

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