Statistics and Assessment (and how they’ve changed my career path)

One of the things that I really appreciate about librarianship in higher education is the current focus on assessment.  From the ACRL’s Assessment in Action programming to my own Library Director’s collection of statistics on every facet of the library’s use and facilities, librarianship is a number-based profession.  I enjoy having a foundation of facts to back up my own work, and am working more and more on writing learning objectives and collecting assessment information for each class that I teach.  Obviously, this isn’t a change from any other way of doing things (because I’ve been doing this librarian thing for 8 months), but I have made it a priority in my work.

Collecting information on the learning process, the use of our databases, the number of students in the library, the length of librarian reference assistance, etc. generates a lot of numbers.  The resulting challenge has to do with the relationship between data, information, and knowledge.  All of these numbers, on their own, are of no use to anyone.  Given a bit of context they become enlightening, but are still not very valuable if they sit in a file in the depths of a network drive.  Somehow we need to get get the numbers within a contextual setting that provides them meaning and gets them into the minds of our patrons and administrators.  Graphic design has become a
stats infographic fun way to get our statistics in front of the patron population.  Our administration also receives statistics much more positively in a colorful poster format.  No one is above being influenced by a good design done in pleasing colors.

Librarian Design Share has been exceedingly helpful to me because they provide me with a platform to receive peer feedback, and also have great ideas about projects, techniques, and tools.   I decided to utilize Adobe Illustrator for my design endeavors, primarily because it was provided by the University and didn’t take me too long to feel comfortable within the work space.  Most of my time working on poster or infographic design is time spent happily in the library.  I enjoy the process, the change of pace, and the opportunity to be creative.  This is a component of my job that surprises and delights me.  I did not realize that I would have this opportunity, but I hope to continue to progress throughout my career.

Author: Jess Denke

Assessment and Outreach Librarian at Muhlenberg College

4 thoughts on “Statistics and Assessment (and how they’ve changed my career path)”

  1. Hi Jessica! Librarian Design Share is a great resource for inspiration, I agree. I love library stats in infographic form. It’s something I think would benefit a lot of program reviews. I’ve held various library jobs since 2011 in many different kinds of environments, and I have found that I am the happiest when I am able to be creative in some way, including making signs and flyers. I’m glad you’ve found joy in this aspect of your work.

    Are you connected with ACRL’s Library Marketing and Outreach interest group? If not, here’s the link to join the Facebook group: We have a listserv, too, but we don’t use it too much.


    1. Hi Lindsay! I am not familiar with ACRL’s Library Marketing and Outreach group. Thankyou for connecting me and for showing interest in my new blog. Your blog is quite inspiring, hopefully I’ll be able to post regularly.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. No problem! I think you would really enjoy the group. Oh, and thanks for the compliment. Mine is relatively new–last June or so. I started it because I was feeling frustrated about the direction of my work (solo-eqsue community college librarian), but using this space as a semi-work journal has helped keep me in check and work toward my goals; I start a new job in June. Blogs are always a work in progress, so don’t worry too much if you can’t write as often as you’d like.


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