Assessing International Librarian Exchange Programs PRESENTATION AT THE 3RD CONFERENCE ON LIBRARY COOPERATION AND RESOURCE SHARING PRESENTED BY HU LIN CONTENT BY RALPH GABBARD, EDWARD OETTING, HU LIN, LIU QIAN
A Little Background • Chinese American academic exchange programs have been in existence for decades. • Librarian exchange programs initially focused on technical services and technology. • Recently the focus has changed to library services and subject librarianship.
Why Is the Assessment Of International Librarian Exchanges Important? • Globalization has stimulated participation in trans-national library programs and exchanges increasing the importance of developing a mechanism to evaluate the effectiveness of such librarian exchange programs. • Without attempting to rigorously measure and evaluate exchange programs, their impact, effectiveness and value to their institutions remain hidden and untested.
What Has Been Done So Far? • Lor* commented that the first category of international cooperation is exoticism which includes “curiosity about how things are done in foreign countries, the love of travel and adventure, and the prestige that comes from having been where others have not. Writings motivated by exoticism tend to be anecdotal and disruptive.” (p. 6) • Much of the American literature on international cooperation and exchanges focuses on this type of individual-centric reporting. *Lor, P. J. (2008). Critical reflections on international librarianship. Mousaion. 25(1), 1-15.
What Has Been Done So Far? Continued • Chinese literature on international cooperation and exchanges, however, tended to focus on technology, management, and professional education. • Two interesting Chinese articles* emphasize the move from one-way non-reciprocal relationships to reciprocal pragmatic relationships. *王蕾. 建国以来中美图书馆界交流与合作研究. 中山大学, 2005 and 王蕾. 中美恢复外交关系以来两国图书馆界交流与合作研究.图书情报工作. 51.7 (2007): 138-140, 146.
What has Been Done So Far? Continued • These two articles echo the comments of Lor who suggested that international relationships between libraries have moved or are moving from one where developing countries learned from developed countries’ libraries to one where both exchange partners learn from each other.
What Problems are Associated with Assessment? • Certainly subjectively is a problem. Bhandari and Belyavina* commented that program assessment is problematic in that the “outcomes and impacts are often intangible, not immediate, and qualitative rather than quantitative”(p.1). • Another problem identified by Bhandari and Belyavian is that the “lack of standardized measurement methods” (p. 1) impacts attempts to evaluate and measure program effectiveness. * Bhandari , R. & Belyavina, R. (2010). Evaluating and measuring the impact of citizen diplomacy: Current status and future directions. Report prepared for: U.S. Citizenship Diplomacy Summit, Washington, DC, Novemer 17-19. Retrieved May 5, 2012 from http://www.iie.org/en/Research-and-Publications/Publications-and-Reports/IIE-Bookstore/Evaluating-Measuring-Impact-of-Citizen-Diplomacy.
Developing an Assessment Tool • Using both qualitative and quantitative methods will provide the most complete assessment of a librarian exchange program. • In the spring of 2012 a pilot questionnaire was developed and sent to the Sichuan University and Arizona State University librarians who were the first participants in the exchange program.
Developing an Assessment Tool-Continued • The following questions were asked: • In what ways did your time at ASU/SCU change or affect your ideas on: • Instruction • Services to faculty • Services to students • Subject Librarianship • Development of research guides or tutorials • Library technology • In what ways did your time at ASU/SCU affect your own institution’s library (be specific)? • How would you summarize your visit?
Developing an Assessment Tool-Continued • The results of the pilot questionnaire were interesting but provided little quantitative data. • After an additional review of the assessment literature, the authors located an article by Bachner and Zeutschel* which we modified to fit our assessment requirements. *Bachner, D. & Zeutschel, U. (2009). Long-terms effects of international educational youth exchange. Intercultural Education. 20, Suppl. Nos. S1-2, S45-58.
Developing an Assessment Tool-Continued • The four Bachner and Zeutschel criteria modified for our questionnaire were: • Overall satisfaction/success of the exchange defined as the “feelings about the experience and the degree to which one assess the exchange as fundamentally beneficial.” (p. S46 ) • Individual changes associated with the exchange defined as the “self-perceived alterations in one’s attitudes, behaviors, and skills induced by the exchange experience.” (p. S46)
Developing an Assessment Tool-Continued • Ripple effects and utilization of exchange effects defined as “the degree to which one actually has applied the results of exchange and influenced others’ attitudes and behaviors based in the results of the exchange.” (p. S46 ) • Evaluation of the exchange program defined as the “participant’s assessment of the program content and administration.” (p. S47 )
Developing an Assessment Tool-Continued • From these four criteria we developed the following questionnaire: 1. How would you rate the success of your exchange? 1=unsuccessful; 2=somewhat unsuccessful; 3=neutral; 4=somewhat successful; 5=successful Why did you rate the exchange as you did? Please be specific.
Developing an Assessment Tool-Continued 2. How would you rate the affect the exchange had on your attitudes or ideas towards libraries and librarianship? 1=no affect 2=little affect 3=neutral 4=some affect 5=considerable affect In what way were your attitudes or ideas changed by the experience? Please be specific.
Developing an Assessment Tool-Continued 3. How would you rate the affect the exchange had on your own institution’s library? 1=no affect 2=little affect 3=neutral 4=some affect 5=considerable affect In what way was your library changed by the exchange? Please be specific.
Developing an Assessment Tool-Continued 4. How would you rate the exchange program’s content and administration? 1=unsuccessful; 2=somewhat unsuccessful; 3=neutral; 4=somewhat successful; 5=successful Why did you rate the exchange as you did? Please be specific.
Developing an Assessment Tool-Continued 5. We would appreciate any further comments or observations on the librarian exchange program.
Developing an Assessment Tool-Continued • The assessment tool would be administered at the end of the librarian exchange. • It is extremely important the results of both the exchange questionnaire and some form of trip report are shared with each libraries’ librarians. • Too often the important lessons learned during librarian exchanges do not ripple throughout the organization.
Developing an Assessment Tool-Continued • Since writing the article for this conference Arizona State University has hosted our second Sichuan university librarian. • Before the visiting librarian departed the new questionnaire was completed and we are analyzing the responses.
Conclusions • Systematically assessing current international librarian exchange programs should lead to determining institutional impact and efficacy of these programs and to analyzing their effect. • In such an analysis, directions and next steps may emerge allowing exchange programs to move toward and incorporate tangible institutional benefits separate from the personal enrichment of participating librarians.
Email Addresses • Dr. Ralph Gabbard Ralph.Gabbard@asu.edu • Edward Oetting Edward.Oetting@asu.edu • Liu Qian Qian.Liu.firstname.lastname@example.org • Hu Lin Linhu@scu.edu.cn