RLUK’s Associate Directors Network (ADN) holds a series of events for their members each year that provide opportunities for learning and networking among peers. This year the ADN has focused on impact, and how impact evaluation can help libraries to make the case to senior university staff and stakeholders about the contribution libraries make to their institutions and research. In the UK research environment where an emphasis is placed on exercises including the Research Excellence Framework and the Teaching Excellence Framework as well as funder compliance, libraries need to have evidence that speaks to their contribution not just in these exercises but also the difference they make to institutional values and priorities.

Sharon Markless, Senior Lecturer in Higher Education, King’s College London has worked with all library types over a number of years, taking a leading role in defining and applying impact evaluation in libraries. In two meetings with the ADN so far, she has worked with members on the key concepts in impact evaluation, where it can support libraries and importantly the limitations. The method supports libraries to consider their highest priority objectives and how to measure these, and avoids the pitfalls of trying to draw causal links between actions and results.

ADN members and colleagues discuss feedback on their objectives with Sharon Markless

ADN members and colleagues discuss feedback on their objectives with Sharon Markless

In a second meeting held in July 2017, 30 ADN members and colleagues put the concepts into practice by developing objectives and indicators for their own library. These will be further worked on in each institution with their own colleagues. ADN members will be invited to share their objectives and ongoing work in this area through the email list and shared documents before meeting again this November.

About the RLUK Associate Directors Network

The ADN provides a forum for discussion and sharing of experience, the opportunity to participate in the business of RLUK and to aid succession planning.