Davidson on Law Library Assessment

Professor Stephanie Davidson, Head of Public Services at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Law Library, has published a very interesting discussion of assessment in law libraries, entitled Surveying is Hard, on the VoxPopuLII blog.

Professor Davidson discusses the advantages and shortcomings of quantitative methods of evaluating law library performance, and summarizes recent developments in assessment among U.S. academic law libraries.

She then advocates greater use of qualitative studies of law library users, on that ground that such research “could help us to answer fundamental questions about how patrons use legal information services, how they use the library, and why they do or don’t use the library for their work. Qualitative research could also explore patron expectations in greater detail than quantitative studies like LibQual+, following up on how the library compares to other physical spaces and other sources of legal information that patrons use.”

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