2010 Library Assessment Career Achievement Awardees Named

The Association of Research Libraries has announced the recipients of the 2010 Library Assessment Career Achievement Award. The awardees are three librarians who were instrumental in the definition and use of standardized and consistent statistical data—Gordon Fretwell, Roswitha Poll, and Kendon Stubbs. While the 2008 awards recognized pioneers in the development of organizational capacity for assessment (Amos Lakos, Shelley Phipps, and Duane Webster), the three 2010 recipients helped make it possible for libraries to contribute and use high quality comparable data for effective library management.

The Library Assessment Career Achievement Awards are offered in conjunction with the biennial Library Assessment Conference organized by the Association of Research Libraries, the University of Virginia, and the University of Washington. The awards will be presented on Monday, October 25, 2010, during the Baltimore conference.

Gordon Fretwell contributed to, and led, many ARL assessment efforts prior to his retirement from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. For 16 years he was the editor of the ARL Annual Salary Survey. In 2002, he was a Visiting Program Officer working to collect and analyze e-metrics data recommended from the ARL E-Metrics project. Most recently his research paper presented in 2008 in Seattle on the LibQUAL+® comments informed the design of the new LibQUAL+® platform launched in 2010. Fretwell served in the past and has been recruited again to serve as consultant to the ARL Statistics and Assessment Committee. As Jay Shafer, director of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, library observed: “Gordon has a keen and careful eye for reporting and reviewing data. He interprets data with a perceptive mind; his astute observations bring the story in the data to life. Gordon challenges us all to do our best and maintain the highest standards of integrity.”

Dr. Roswitha Poll was chief librarian of Münster University Library from 1987 to her retirement in 2004. She still chairs the committee “Quality—Statistics and Performance Evaluation“ and the working groups for “International library statistics,” “Statistical data for library buildings,” and “Methods for assessing impact of libraries” within ISO (International Organization of Standardization). She has contributed substantially to the evaluation of libraries and information systems. Her publications deal with measures for the quality, costs, and outcome of library services. In 2007, she published the second revised edition of the handbook on performance measurement in libraries, “Measuring Quality,” together with Peter te Boekhorst. She has been a major proponent of the Balanced Scorecard approach to assessment. She also serves on the editorial boards of the Northumbria International Conference on Performance Measurement in Libraries and Information Services and of several journals. She has been a keynote speaker at innumerable international conferences on library assessment.

During his 43-year career at the University of Virginia Library, Kendon Stubbs became the leading authority on defining the size of, and measuring the services provided by, academic research libraries. He is the father of the ARL Index methodology originally suggested in the report he authored, The ARL Library Index and Quantitative Relationships in the ARL. Later, Stubbs applied these methods to the historical ARL data in Cumulated ARL University Library Statistics 1962–63 through 1978–79, and to more than 3,000 academic libraries in the Association of College and Research Libraries publication Quantitative Criteria for Academic Research Libraries. All of these works are monuments in the field of library science, characterized by Stubbs’s desire to remove what he called “ineluctable fuzziness” from the process of defining research library criteria. Stubbs later turned his critical eye onto those who would use his statistical methods incorrectly, such as in the Journal of Academic Librarianship article “Apples and Oranges and ARL Statistics,” and pieces like “Lies, Damned Lies… and ARL Statistics?” and “Remembrance of Things Past, Present … and Future?” (the latter with Ann Okerson). Stubbs has given us statistics with a human face.

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