The ARL Library Scorecard
Pilot: Using the Balanced
Scorecard in Research
Libraries
Martha Kyrillidou, Senior Director, Statistics
and Service Quality Programs, ARL
A
RL has built a program of assessment over time and continues to
seek opportunities to develop this capacity in research libraries. In
2009, the Association launched a new initiative to help libraries
make a stronger case for the value they deliver through services and programs
by developing metrics that are directly tied to strategic goals. ARL invited
interested libraries to participate in a pilot effort to develop library scorecards
along the lines of the Balanced Scorecard approach created by Harvard business
professors Kaplan and Norton.1 The ARL initiative began as a collaborative
project with external consultant Ascendant Strategy Management Group and
four participating libraries: Johns Hopkins University, McMaster University,
University of Virginia, and University of Washington. At this early stage the
project had two primary goals: to assist, train, and facilitate the use of the
scorecard in a small number of ARL libraries; and to test the value of a
collaborative model for learning about and implementing the new tool.
The Ascendant Strategy Management Group brought deep expertise in the
application of the Balanced Scorecard to these four-mission driven organizations
that are facing challenges to demonstrate their impact, increase leadership and
management effectiveness, leverage networks of stakeholders, and ensure
organizational capacity for growth. The consultants were also strongly
advocating, “the cornerstone of an effective Balanced Scorecard, or any strategic
measurement system, is to identify strategic priorities and clarify the cause-and-
effect linkages among them.”2
Many ARL member libraries have long shown an interest in the Balanced
Scorecard, as they have closely watched the scorecard’s application for almost
a decade at the University of Virginia. Jim Self described the University of
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AUGUST 2010 RESEARCH LIBRARY ISSUES: A BIMONTHLY REPORT FROM ARL, CNI, AND SPARC