Libraries Partner in Grant

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Libraries is collaborating with the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) on a $1 million grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).  Together, the partners will study the value of academic libraries to students, faculty, policymakers, funders, and others.

Carol Tenopir, director of the Center for Information and Communication Studies and a professor in the School of Information Sciences at UT Knoxville, is the lead investigator on the project. Former UT Dean of Libraries Paula Kaufman, now university librarian and dean of libraries at the University of Illinois, is a co-principal investigator; and Martha Kyrillidou, senior director for statistics and service quality programs, is leading the project from ARL.

The three-year grant, entitled “Value, Outcomes, and Return on Investment of Academic Libraries (Lib-Value),” will work to enrich, expand, test and implement methodologies measuring the return on investment (ROI) in academic libraries.

The results of the study will provide evidence and a set of tested methodologies and tools to help academic librarians demonstrate how the academic library provides value to its constituents and ROI to its funders, and to measure which products and services are of most value to enhancing the university’s mission. This project will greatly expand upon earlier studies to consider multiple measures of value that the academic library brings to teaching/learning, research, and social/professional/public engagement functions of the academic institution.

To ensure that the process will be rigorous, realistic and highly visible in the academic library and university community, an experienced team of academic librarians and outstanding researchers will bring their leadership to the project. Two well-known researchers in the library field will serve as consultants: Bruce Kingma, an economist at Syracuse University, and Donald W. King, a statistician at the University of North Carolina at Chapel-Hill. Additional project participants include: Gayle Baker, Ken Wise, Rachel Fleming-May, Regina Mays, Crystal Sherline, and Andrea Baer of UT Knoxville; Tina Chrzastowski of the University of Illinois; and Henry Gross, Gary Roebuck, and David Green of ARL.

The project is also engaging an advisory committee of noted information science researchers: José-Marie Griffiths of UNC-Chapel Hill, and Michael Koenig of Long Island University; academic library directors Carol Mandel of New York University, and Colleen Cook of Texas A&M; consultants Judy Luther and Joseph Matthews; and economists George Deltas of the University of Illinois, and Nicolas Flores of University of Colorado.

The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, is the flagship campus of the University of Tennessee system. It has about 26,000 students, more than 1,400 faculty members and more than 300 degree programs. UT Knoxville is one of the nation’s leading public research institutions and, with Battelle, co-manages the nearby Oak Ridge National Laboratory, which provides faculty and students with unparalleled research and learning opportunities at the Department of Energy’s largest science and energy lab. UT Knoxville is now home to the one of the world’s most powerful academic computers, Kraken. Accredited since 1972, the School of Information Sciences within the College of Communication and Information has achieved regional, national and international recognition through its award-winning faculty and innovative research. For more information about UT Knoxville, see and for more about the School of Information Sciences, see .

ARL is a nonprofit organization of 124 research libraries in North America. Its mission is to influence the changing environment of scholarly communication and the public policies that affect research libraries and the diverse communities they serve. ARL is on the Web at .

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