The project so far and plans for the future

The project started with preliminary plans in February 2013. See background information. Library data and statistics were gathered, shared and compared spring 2013 – spring 2014. There were several online meetings between spring 2013 – autumn 2014. The blog started in October 2014, aiming to report the site visits during and after them. The three site visits took place in October (Trondheim), November (Brussels) and December (Kuopio) 2014.

During each visit week we had many talks with library staff members and with library users, and also had a chance to talk with the library director of each university library.

In Trondheim we discussed with Lisbeth Tangen about these topics

  • campus development implies library development
  • NTNU is focusing on innovative learning technologies and library has be part of that
  • in measuring the impact of the library the connections between quantitative and qualitative indicators must be set
  • libraries have to pay attention not to become hidden services: students are now the only visible users in the library; currently the library space is mainly a working place for students
  • digital resources are very expensive and need to be constantly marketed
  • new activities to develop, especially for research aspects: publication funding, open access, bibliometrics, etc.
  • ==> new competencies are needed in the library: we need more university librarians and staff with good ICT competences, plus “something new” that remains to be discovered or invented. It is time to design future library roles and to market them.

In Louvain-la-Neuve we had lunch with Charles-Henri Nyns and talked about among others

  • library statistics and economics
  • comparing statistical data of universities is not easy due to divergent funding and financing models, even among French speaking university libraries in Belgium; but it is important to seek out at least some comparable indicators nationally and internationally
  • library advocacy — how to convince the decision-makers and justify not only the existence but the enhancement of library services

In Kuopio we discussed with Jarmo Saarti who originally proposed this benchmarking project. We talked about

  • how to proceed with the project
  • statistics and other data useful as background information
  • next steps could include formulating questions for the measurement of the impact of the library collections on users, and how well the money on the digital resources is spent; but this kind of follow-up project would require ICT persons and statisticians — maybe with funding from Horizon2020?
  • how and where we could and should report the experiences and findings of the benchmarking; one possibility could be a presentation at LIBER conference 2016
  • implementing ideas and best practices from each others’ libraries
  • learning also from working cultures, different points of view and lifestyles

Our next steps include a face-to-face meeting in Brussels in February (in connection with another meeting), writing more blog posts during spring 2015, sharing our benchmarking experiences and the project-so-far with colleagues in June in EAHIL 2015 workshop, planning a conference paper for year 2016, and writing a journal article.