4 Survey Results: Executive Summary
The local library is the predominant level for library collection data collection and analysis,
as reported by more than three-quarters of the responding libraries. The responses for collection
and analysis activities were fairly evenly distributed between the four levels, with the top three
levels consisting of the local library, the library system, and the library consortium. Only 15 of the 67
respondents (22%), however, collected and analyzed data at the local, system, and consortial levels.
How centralized or de-centralized are the responsibilities of data collection and analysis?
Of particular interest is the structure of data collection and analysis, the who, of who is doing what
aspect of data collection and analysis. It is clear that most libraries distribute the responsibilities across
individuals, departments, and committees. While there were a wide variety of organizational structures
reported, the typical structure is decentralized, with separate committees or groups handling data
collection and analysis.
Of the 41 respondents (61%) who separate the responsibilities for the collection from analysis
of data, the organizational structures are consistent for both tasks. Generally, about 40% of these
libraries reported that separate committees are responsible for data gathering, and these committees
most often involve librarians and staff from two or more departments. Committee names, if provided,
were fairly generic, including “Collections Team,” “Program Management Center,” and “Collections
Steering Committee.” The number of people composing these committees ranges from fewer than five
to more than 40, with committees for data analysis being two to three times larger (4–40 members) than
those for data collection (2–18 members). Most committees are composed of about 10 members for data
analysis and between five and 10 members for data collection. Those committees responsible for only data
collection are composed mostly, if not wholly, from collections management. Some of these also include
the assessment analysts or librarians. Conversely, most committees that focus on analysis include subject
or liaison librarians and others outside of collections.
About a quarter of the libraries centralize the data collection and/or analysis responsibilities,
about half of which are concentrated in a single department with about three staff members devoted
to each responsibility the other half are handled by a single position. Finally, over a third of these 41
respondents indicated other organizational structures, most of which are some combination of collections
and subject librarians.
Twenty-six respondents (39%) indicated that the same individual, department, or committee
handles data collection and analysis. Of these, four reported a single person. Position titles for these
individuals are “Collection and Organizational Data Analysis Librarian,” “Collection Assessment and
Analysis Librarian,” Collection Management Librarian,” and “Collections Strategist.” At three libraries
collection departments with 2–8 staff members are responsible for assessment. At 11 libraries (42%)
data gathering and analysis responsibilities are centralized in a committee, with an average of six
members (range: 3–12). In over two-thirds of these committees half of the members are from collections.
Interestingly, only three committees with centralized data collection and analysis responsibilities include
an assessment librarian.
Commitment of Human Resources Toward Data Collection and Analysis
Our other major concern regarding human resources was the extent of effort or time devoted to collection
assessment. As expected, libraries that centralize the responsibilities of gathering and/or analyzing data
into a single position devote a greater proportion of that individual’s time (59%) towards these activities
than those that use a single department (45%). However, those that use a department devote an average of
1.4 FTE towards these activities.
Most committees meet monthly, but a few meet as frequently as weekly and others only as
needed. Only eight respondents provided estimates of time committed to these activities and these varied
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