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Library Assessment: Assessment Plan

Purpose of the Assessment Plan

This living document outlines the planned work of the Ryerson University Library and Archives Evaluation and Assessment Committee.

As the Terms of Reference of the Evaluation and Assessment Committee outline, the purpose of library assessment is "to report on Library performance and to provide evidence and context for library priority setting and decision-making." The Assessment plan is intended to be a document that guides and prompts action. As Megan Oakleaf describes it, “Library assessments that do not lead to decisions, actions, and communications with stakeholders are not worth doing" ("Building the Assessment Librarian Guildhall: Criteria and Skills for Quality Assessment"). This plan will guide the action of the Evaluation and Assessment Committee as they prioritize data-collection goals and assessment strategies, and inform library stakeholders of their findings, especially for the purposes of outward communication.

Tenets of the Assessment Plan:

  • Build on prior strengths and achievements.
    ("Library Assessment Plans: Four Case Studies." Tatarka, Agnes, et al.)
  • Keep plans relevant to everyday work.
    ("Developing an Academic Library Assessment Plan: A Case Study," Smith, Tryon, and Snyder)
  • Make data comparable. Plan for the short term with the long term in mind.
    ("Library Assessment Plans: Four Case Studies." Tatarka, Agnes, et al.)
  • Communicate assessment information with stakeholders. 
    ("How we Came to Dread Fridays: Developing an Academic Library Assessment Plan Two Hours at a Time," Hockenberry and Little)
  • Ask how assessment activities could improve library performance, priority-setting and decision-making. 

Annual Assessment Plan 2020-2021

For 2020-2021, the annual assessment plan emphasizes evaluation and assessment that is responsive to COVID-19-related Library services and the corresponding needs and challenges of patrons. As an ongoing pandemic, COVID-19 is likely to evolve in ways that will require service flexibility, which ongoing evaluation can provide. The annual assessment plan is conceived of as an adaptable, living document; due to pandemic uncertainty, that framing is more important this year than normal. This assessment plan, like the previous ones, also brings together different Library teams for collaborative work. The flexibility of this plan is essential for ensuring collaboration in a time of increased workloads and pandemic-related concerns.

Previous annual plans have mapped assessment projects to the Library Strategic Plan. As the Library is currently developing the next Strategic Plan, this year’s projects are mapped to the University Academic Plan.
There is also an attempt in this plan to balance assessment that considers services, collections, and space.

Assessment Plan 2020-2021

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Assessment Object

Type, Purpose, and Rationale

Strategic Plan Mapping




Strategic Planning

The strategic planning process is underway to create the next five year plan for Ryerson Library in line with the Ryerson University Academic Plan. It incorporates several assessment methods, including broad environmental scans, staff feedback, and a surveys of library stakeholders.

Innovation: Challenging the Status Quo

Associate Chief Librarian, Client Services Manager, Assessment Librarian Completed Spring 2021 The previous strategic plan:

Marginalized Student Study

This multi-institutional qualitative research study will include a survey of graduate students and interviews with students from marginalized groups about their challenges during COVID-19. Its purpose is to learn about the Library service needs of researchers outside of the dominant majority, and this knowledge will be used to create best practices for Library research support. Graduate students face research challenges that have been exacerbated by COVID-19 and are in need of study and support.

Student Experience, SRC & Graduate Studies, Advancing Indigenous Initiatives

The Assessment Librarian and a Liaison Librarian are members of a research team


This is a two-year study


Innovations to Borrowing and Lending Services

Contactless Print Pickup, Scan and Deliver, and other developing services will be evaluated with usage metrics. Exit surveys will also be shared with patrons. The purpose of this assessment is to identify the success of new services, the goal of which is to enable access to print resources.

Innovation: Challenging the Status Quo

Head of Borrowing and Lending Services, Collections Librarians, Borrowing and Lending Services Technicians

Ongoing, with initial assessment completed August 2020


Print Pickup:

Scan and Deliver:


COVID-19 Eresources




The acquisition costs of materials acquired due to COVID-19, the increased expenditure on electronic resources resulting from the pandemic, and usage patterns resulting during this time all require analysis. This can be done through a review of internal collections data and Summon and JUSP usage data. Eresource expenditure and usage have both been affected by COVID-19; it is important to assess this quantitatively and with an eye to improvements.

SRC & Graduate Studies

Acquisitions Librarian, Head of Collections, Collections Team, Assessment Librarian Ongoing


Remote Teaching and Learning

This research includes conducting focus groups with librarians about their experience with online teaching in workshops and appointments. During COVID-19, teaching and research help services, including appointments have moved online. It is important to assess these services to study what constitutes success in emergency remote instruction from a librarian perspective.

Innovation: Challenging the Status Quo, Student Experience

User Experience Librarian, Teaching and Learning Team Fall 2020  
Space Usage and Renovation Support

A number of renovations are planned for the Library Building. Assessment data will support this work, including updates to floor maps, collections metrics, and space usage.

Student Experience, Community and Urban Partnerships

Space Committee Ongoing  
Furniture Survey

An exit survey is planned for patrons who book a study space and make use of the new furniture. This feedback will inform future furniture acquisition and space planning during COVID-19.

Student Experience

Assessment Librarian Fall 2020  
Redesigned Website Homepage Assessment

A usability study and review of relevant web metrics will enable librarians to assess the success of the redesigned website homepage. The redesign is intended to be easier to use, and we need to know how it has affected traffic, given that the Library website and access to Summon is vitally important for researchers.

Student Experience

User Experience Librarian, Web Librarian, Communications Specialist Fall 2020  
Ethnographic Study

The Library is partnering with a class studying ethnographic methods. This collaboration will give students an opportunity to exercise their skills with an applied research question, and it will lead to results that can be applied to improve Library services.

Student Experience

Associate Chief Librarian, Assessment Librarian, UX Librarian, Data Librarian, Collections Lead FOA Librarian

Fall 2020

Fact Sheet Development

The fact sheet includes Library statistics that are included in program reviews and proposals. This fact sheet needs to be refined and its purpose reexamined. A redeveloped fact sheet will aid in communication.  

Innovation: Challenging the Status Quo

Assessment Librarian, New Media Designer Fall 2020  
Assessment Data Dashboard

The creation of a dashboard for viewing cleaned assessment data has been a long standing goal of the Library. This project will advance further this year through the creation of workflows for Library Lead Hands for data collection and management. This project will enable faster access to Library data, which will enhance its use.

Innovation: Challenging the Status Quo

Assessment Librarian, Head of Collections, Head of Borrowing and Lending Services, Lead Hands Stage 1 completed Winter 2020  

Doc Icon image by Dániel Aczél as a part of the Noun Project Universal circle pack Collection

Presentation image by Maxim Kulikov from the Noun Project.