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Assessment Guiding Principles

Purpose of the Libraries Assessment Program

The Libraries Assessment Program is designed to help Libraries staff to understand user community needs and improve support for teaching, learning, and research at the University of Washington. Assessment & Planning staff actively partner with Libraries and UW units to advance data gathering, analysis, and communication that is aligned with the mission, vision, and values of the UW and the Libraries. Quantitative and qualitative assessment data gathered through this program informs decision-making and illuminates the impact of the Libraries on student and faculty success.


Guiding principles

UW Libraries Assessment projects are:


User centered: Our focus is on library patrons and the ongoing improvement of spaces, services and resources for the diverse communities served by the UW Libraries. Internal data gathering and process improvement is approached through the lens of outcomes and impact for libraries users.


Strategic & sustainable: We strive to connect assessment and planning in meaningful ways: our assessment activities are guided by Libraries strategic priorities, and we aim to ensure that these priorities are informed by the needs of our communities. Assessment & Planning staff take an intentional, coordinated approach for assessment activities to ensure ethical, inclusive, and actionable data gathering. We recognize that our work is connected to others throughout the LIbraries and approach experimentation thoughtfully and iteratively, mindful of the downstream effects. We invest in creating sustainable processes and procedures to save Libraries staff time and reduce burdens on library users.


Collaborative: Assessment & Planning staff leverage their Libraries-wide purview to encourage coordination, information sharing, and communication among Libraries staff in order to guide improvements and decision-making. We recognize the complex workflows and experiences of Libraries users and aim to foster assessment projects that transcend traditional operational silos and illuminate the holistic user experience. These partnerships provide opportunities for staff growth while empowering staff to take action on data and ensure that projects have a meaningful impact. We actively seek participatory methods and partnerships beyond the Libraries in order to take a broader view of student and faculty needs.


Equitable & Inclusive: We commit to centering equity and inclusion at all stages of the assessment process. In line with Libraries values and priorities, Assessment staff seek to employ intentional recruitment strategies to ensure that data reflects our diverse user communities, draw upon methods that advance co-creation and shared decision-making, and foster ongoing dialogue about changes made in response to user feedback. We recognize that data represents and simplifies the complexity of human life and that we hold positions of power and privilege in representing that experience. We aim to bring a critical lens to our work while remaining responsive to rapidly changing environments.



Assessment & Planning staff lead large scale projects that require a Libraries-wide view and have broad impact. The program emphasis is on projects that actively guide improvement and decision making, and that lead to a deeper understanding of user needs in ways that can lead to changes to services, spaces, and/or resources. Assessment & Planning staff offer expertise for projects that require more complex methodologies and data analysis approaches, and work with Libraries staff to coordinate small-scale assessment activities through the Libraries. We share our commitment to best practices in assessment by providing support to staff working with Libraries data and data visualizations and by offering training, resources, and support to staff throughout the assessment and data gathering cycle.