How far have we come and what do we do next?

An agenda for action-based research on student learning and success

Read the Agenda drafts:

Supplemental Materials:


We welcome your feedback! Please visit our feedback form and tell us your thoughts and ideas about the Agenda.

Now more than ever, libraries in higher education must demonstrate their value. The Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) has been at the forefront of supporting libraries as they demonstrate this value and recognizes that more research is needed to address an area critical to the higher education sector - institutional priorities for student learning and success. OCLC was selected to support this ongoing work after an open and competitive request for proposals issued by ACRL to investigate this area. The major outcomes of the project will aid librarians in communicating their value by focusing on both the current and potential future contributions of the library to student learning and success, with the overarching goals to:

  • depict current library value studies,
  • anticipate future work, research questions, and contributions to student learning and success, and
  • help academic librarians to effectively communicate their value with others in higher education.


Deliverables from the project will include:

A report that:

  • identifies specific themes and trends related to the current state of library value studies and connects these themes and trends to student learning and success,
  • compiles a research agenda consisting of approximately 10-15 future-oriented, key, outstanding research questions that the literature and interview data suggest are essential for academic libraries to explore and
  • defines the possible parameters for each question and explains related scholarly work in a way that is accessible to newer practitioner-scholars so they can articulate their research questions, design studies, and communicate results.

An interactive visualization dashboard to help librarians filter the existing literature for studies most relevant to their research interests. A second visualization tool will help librarians communicate their value to their constituencies and may allow entry of local data to produce a graphic that could be shared with stakeholders.

Much more detail about the project is available from the proposal to ACRL.


What Do We Want to Know: Completing an Action-Oriented Research Agenda
2016 Library Assessment Conference
Arlington, Virginia
November 2, 2016

Action-Oriented Research Agenda on Library Contributions to Student Learning and Success
Lynn Silipigni Connaway, William Harvey, Vanessa Kitzie, & Stephanie Mikitish
ALA Midwinter meeting
Atlanta, GA
Sunday, January 22, 2017, 1:00 PM - 2:30 pm.

Changing Tack: A Future-Focused ACRL Research Agenda
ACRL2017 Conference
Baltimore, MD
March 23, 2017, 8-9 am

Where Are We Going and What Do We Do Next? Demonstrating the Value of Academic Libraries in Time of Uncertainty.
RLUK Conference 2017
London, United Kingdom
March 9, 2017

Demonstrating the Value of Academic Libraries in Times of Uncertainty: A Research Agenda for Student Learning and Success.
University of Macau
April 6, 2017

The first Agenda draft was presented at the event: "Update on ACRL’s Action-Oriented Research Agenda," on Tuesday, November 15, 2016, from 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Central time. This forum allowed community members to ask questions and give reactions to the first draft. (Watch the recording of this online session.)

In the News

Free, David. "ACRL Teams with OCLC Research for Research Agenda." College & Research Libraries News 77, no. 9 (2016): 428,

Project Timeline

The project will run for 11 months, from July 2016 to June 2017.

Project Plan and Schedule

Project Lead:

Lynn Silipigni Connaway

Team Members