Virginia’s use of the scorecard in an article published by ARL in 20033 and he
often discussed their efforts during site visits conducted through the Effective,
Sustainable, and Practical Assessment consulting service between 2005 and 2009.4
The ARL Balanced Scorecard initiative was based on a series of initial
assumptions articulated in the invitation letter. These elements were deemed
critical for the success of the implementations:
• Leadership involvement is key for linking the library scorecard to strategy.
• Measures need to be focused on strategic objectives.
• Developing a framework/dashboard for implementing a strategy is useful.
• Implementing a scorecard will lead to its improvement and refinements.
• Applying a scorecard appropriate for each library—not a single scorecard
for all libraries—is critical for success.
Other key assumptions underlying the initiative were articulated through
the pilot process and confirmed by the experience of the participating libraries:
• The Balanced Scorecard is a change process, not a metrics process.
• Development of strategy and metrics is closely tied to library missions.
• Collaborative learning enhances the creation of new assessment tools.
The yearlong process involving Ascendant Strategy Management Group is
now complete, and the four ARL member libraries and ARL staff have continued
to refine the Balanced Scorecard effort. Early analysis suggests that the
individual library environments have shaped how each library has implemented
the Balanced Scorecard and accompanying metrics. Differences aside, a few key
processes appear to be consistently important across all sites including:
• Setting objectives that are strategically aligned with the organization’s
• Visualizing these objectives into a strategy map5
• Communicating the strategy map, the objectives, and the metrics
consistently and effectively within and outside the organization
Two key metrics are also standing out as commonalities across all four
Balanced Scorecards developed by the four organizations: budget and user
The four pilot institutions are engaged in documenting their efforts in a
paper to be presented at the Library Assessment Conference in Baltimore this
The ARL Library Scorecard Pilot: Using the Balanced Scorecard in Research Libraries
C O N T I N U E D
AUGUST 2010 RESEARCH LIBRARY ISSUES: A BIMONTHLY REPORT FROM ARL, CNI, AND SPARC