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Assessing Library Instruction

Michelle Keba, a reference and instructional librarian at the Alvin Sherman Library at Nova Southeastern University, felt the library needed to improve assessment of its student instructional sessions.

The issues Keba sought to address:        

  • The library needed solid data to show it was meeting accreditation standards set by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), which conducts periodic reviews.
  • The library’s methods of gauging student learning and satisfaction lacked consistency.

Initially, Keba envisioned redesigning the curriculum and creating assessment tools for all three levels of library instruction for the Fischler School of Education.

A mentor convinced Keba to create a smaller pilot program, then expand it later.

Keba’s pilot program collected data in two ways:

  • All instructional sessions ended with students taking a multiple-choice quiz that measured three library instruction outcomes.
  • Students in select graduate courses were asked to choose, annotate and cite a peer-reviewed primary source relevant to their research.


The pilot program gave Keba the initial data she needed. Each subsequent semester, she used the data to improve the library’s instructional sessions.

Other librarians who led trainings for the Fischler School of Education also used the assessment tools. With that experience, they are able to modify the tools for other academic departments and libraries while keeping the system consistent.

By unifying and improving the way Sherman Library collects instructional data, Keba has ensured that the library is meeting students’ needs and fulfilling its SACS requirements.

imls180.for.panel.jpgMany of these resources and programs are funded under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Florida's LSTA program is administered by the Department of State's Division of Library and Information Services.