ALLStAR's Development and Implementation
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ALLStAR Development and Implementation

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Brief History of the ALLStAR Benchmarking Project

The ALLStAR (Academic Law Libraries: Statistics, Analytics and Reports) Benchmarking project began in 2014 when law librarian Teresa Miguel-Stearns developed a spreadsheet to track key data points to better understand the demands on Yale’s law library and make resource allocation decisions to meet these demands.  In 2015, Harvard, Cornell, University of Chicago, and the University of California-Berkeley began testing and using this data -tracking spreadsheet. With the participation of additional law libraries, the ability to engage in benchmarking and share effective practices became two hallmarks of ALLStAR.

In 2015, the NELLCO Law Library Consortium joined the ALLStAR project to provide logistical and financial support. One of NELLCO’s first steps was having the data- tracking spreadsheet evaluated by the NELLCO Interest Groups. The Interest Groups were instrumental in refining the data points to ensure that the data collected would be meaningful for a wide range of academic law libraries. 

Counting Opinions also became involved in the ALLSTAR project in 2015 by converting the spreadsheet and documentation to a web-based tool. After beta-testing, the revised ALLStAR database went live on LibPAS in July 2016 and all academic law library directors in the United States were invited to participate. 

The importance of the ALLStAR benchmarking project increased when the American Bar Association discontinued the Law Library Section of the ABA’s annual survey in 2017. ALLStAR committed to continuing to gather the data that used to be collected by the ABA and providing summary results to all participating academic law libraries.

ALLStAR’s value to law librarianship was reinforced in 2018 when the Academic Law Libraries Special Interest Section (ALL-SIS) of the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) endorsed ALLStAR and encouraged all academic law libraries to participate in ALLStAR.

Since its launch in 2017, NELLCO and the ALLStAR Advisory Board has continued to refine and improve the project overall, the data gathering platform specifically, and resources available to academic law librarians. For example:

  • The creation of the ALLStAR Official Survey (AOS) which combines the questions from the American Bar Association (ABA), Association of Research Libraries (ARL), Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL), Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), and US News and World Reports national surveys into one survey to simplify data entry for participating libraries. (December 2018)

  • The addition of a rotating set of “Trends Questions” to the AOS that ask libraries about current issues facing law librarianship. (July 2019)

  • Restructuring of membership tiers to eliminate confusion among participating libraries and build a sustainable business model to support the ALLStAR Benchmarking Project. (October 2019)

ALLStAR Advisory Board

Founded in 2016, the ALLStAR Advisory Board guides the development and implementation of the ALLStAR Benchmarking P roject to ensure that it is a robust product that collects data that is meaningful to participants.  In particular, the Advisory Board oversees questionnaire development, reviews the resulting data, identifies trends or issues, and encourages participation in ALLStAR by academic law libraries. Advisory Board members serve two-year terms and care is taken to ensure that the board has representation from libraries that vary in terms of size, institutional control, budget, geographic location, and library staffing. 

Current ALLStAR Advisory Board Members

  • Jamie Baker, Texas Tech University, Co-Chair Content Committee
  • Alissa Black-Dorward, Fordham University
  • Matthew Braun, University of Illinois
  • KincaidBrown, University of Michigan
  • Meg Butler, Georgia State University
  • Susan David deMaine, Indiana University, Publicity and Outreach Committee Co-Chair
  • Christine Dulac, University of Maine, Publicity and Outreach Committee Co-chair
  • Jonathan Franklin, University of Washington
  • Dominick Grillo, University of Arkansas - Fayetteville
  • Ed Hart, University of North Texas
  • Michelle Hudson, Yale University
  • Caitlin Hunter, University of California, Los Angeles
  • Teresa Miguel-Stearns, University of Arizona, ALLStAR Advisory Board Chair
  • Barbara Moreno, Texas Tech University
  • Rob Myers, Case Western Reserve University
  • Jessica Panella, University of Connecticut
  • SaraJean Petite, Case Western Reserve University
  • Stacey Rowland, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill
  • Merle Slyhoff, University of Pennsylvania
  • Thomas Sneed, Washburn University
  • Sabrina Sondhi, Cornell University, Content Committee Co-Chair
  • Travis Spence, University of Arizona
  • Stefanie Weigmann, Boston University
  • Austin Williams, Georgetown University

NELLCO is a consortium of law libraries collaborating to maximize access to services and resources and to develop, evaluate, and implement innovative programs for the benefit of the members.

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