3 numbers to determine ROI in the for-profit college library
Ok, I’ve run my quarterly reports. I have huge amounts of numbers. I can tell you how much of anything.
So what?? Who cares?
The sad answer to that question my friends is that no one does. I would be willing to bet that not one member of your administration (particularly Sr. level) cares one iota if 100 books circulated in your library during a 12 week term. They care about one thing and that is – retention. Yep, that’s the magic metric number. If you are working in any kind of academic library then you need to start talking in the currency the school understands. How many students successfully made it through the term? Everything you report on should be tied to that number as closely as possible.
If you do any research on the topic you will see that traditional academic libraries have been able to claim a certain amount of success in regard to increasing retention numbers at a college/university. But what about you, what can you show?
Retention is a huge monstrous topic and as a small library operation I don’t have time to make every connection that I think is possible. But I will share 3 specific correlation’s that I look at every term to see if anything is going on.
1. Circulation and academic excellence – do the students checking out books have a higher GPA than students that don’t?
2. Library usage/attendance and academic excellence – do students using library services/programs have a higher GPA than students that don’t?
3. In-class instruction and faculty absenteeism – do the faculty using library services have a higher attendance rate than faculty that don’t?
Those are the 3 numbers I focus on because those are the numbers that are looked at by our Dean. Those are the numbers that matter to my college. Every term, those are the numbers that get reported to our corporate office. So somebody wants to know about them. Here’s the best part, once I give these metric people start asking me questions. I’m taking more seriously by members of our staff and they quickly find out that I know a lot more than they think I do.
What 3 numbers do you report and how do you create value with them? Let me know and share with some of your colleagues for their opinion too.