Background: A year ago, the author was promoted from Medical Librarian to Assistant Director of Operations for a health science library at a major metropolitan university. The library supports the colleges of medicine, dentistry, pharmacy and nursing & allied health, which includes over 1,800 students and 390 faculty and instructors. In 2019 the university implemented a campus-wide interdepartmental assessment program. Major units, including the library, were required to complete detailed assessments which were reviewed by an assigned group of peers who also offered suggestions for improvement. This was the first large-scale assignment for the author.
Description: The Program Prioritization Task Force (PPTF) was a new program implemented by the university administration to streamline processes and report outcomes in a consistent manner in alignment with the university’s mission and strategic goals. All 1,100 academic and non-academic departments participated in this program. The library was required to complete an extensive self-assessment for the past three years containing detailed data to describe the library’s operations. Additionally, library programs and services were assessed to demonstrate alignment with the mission and goals of the university. The library reports, along with site visits and interviews, were then reviewed and evaluated by a separate group of university peers. The library executive director and assistant director were also assigned to teams who peer-reviewed non-academic units given specific PPTF criteria.
Conclusion: This process was invaluable for the new assistant director. Completing the extensive assessment assisted in identifying and addressing gaps in the library’s data collection processes. In addition to the statistical and operational data the library collects for annual reports, the PPTF instrument provided insight into designing needs-based services with measurable outcomes. The report also informed the implementation of programs that would demonstrate value. Additionally, being part of a peer review team allowed the author to learn how the library fits into the university system and the opportunity to work with high level employees outside the scope of the library.