ALLStAR Case Studies
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Case Studies: Examples of "ALLStAR to the Rescue"

Below are requests for assistance from Law Library directors around the country. ALLStAR was able to assist with each of the queries.

Library Personnel

Question 01:  Library Personnel

My dean wants to know the number of librarian FTEs in reference departments in the top 10 public law schools, and then compare raw figures, by faculty size and by student size.

It feels like this needs pieces of ARL, ABA, 509, and US News, but I cannot see how to get them all to come together within the ALLStAR reporting function, not to mention figuring out which librarians are considered ‘in reference’.

Result: ALLStAR was able to provide all the necessary information except the “Librarians in Reference” data, which is not collected in any national survey and, therefore, requires participating libraries to enter the data separately. This data is captured and rolled-up when institutions use the “Employee Questionnaire” or can be entered manually if the EQ is not employed. 

Question 02: Need to make the case for an additional reference librarian

The Research Services department decided to convert a C&T (staff) position to an M&P (professional) position. The reference librarians had noticed increases in the volume of requests for assistance from clinics and centers, and felt stretched thin. We also knew that the law school was hiring four new faculty who would add to the liaison work of the department.  The department felt and could express a greater need for an additional profession librarian rather than a paraprofessional, but ALLStAR enabled us to make a stronger case, supported by data. 

RESULT: Using ALLStAR, we could track the number of Total Fall Faculty from the data collected for the ABA. We plotted the increase from FY2010-11 through FY2015-16 on a line graph to illustrate the dramatic increase over the last five years. We also pulled data that supported the sense we had that we were receiving more questions from clinics. Again, the ABA data for YLS showed that over the past five years there have been more seats in clinical classes and that those seats have been filled by more students. 

Question 03: Benchmarking for number of staff and students

A library dean asked for two reports on the number of professional librarians, support staff and information technology staff, and for full-time and part-time students. One report would include just the law library's ten identified peers, and the second report would include all law libraries.

RESULT: ALLStAR was able to provide the necessary information. Two reports were run, one for the identified peers and the second for all ALLStAR libraries, including the following data points:
- Number (in FTEs) of full-time librarians including the Director
- Number (in FTEs) of part-time librarians
- Subtotal (in FTEs), librarians
- Total FTE (librarians. professional staff, other paid staff and student assistants)
- Number of IT staff (FTE)
- Total full time JD students
- % of students that are full time
- Total part time JD students
- % of students that are part time
- Total number of JD students (full time and part time combined)

Question 04, Example 2: Benchmarking for number of staff and students

A law school dean asked for the number of professional librarians, support staff and IT staff for their identified peer institutions, and for all law libraries. The library also asked for the number of student FTEs and broken down by full-time and part-time students if possible.  

RESULT: ALLStAR was able to provide the requested information.  Reports were run for the identified institutional peers, and for all law libraries.  The data points included in the reports: 
- Number (in FTEs) of full-time Librarians including the Director
- Number (in FTEs) of part-time librarians (ABA Q1)
- AOS Line 115 Subtotal (in FTEs), Librarians (ACRL Line 01 Column A)
- AOS Line 151 Total FTE (librarians, professional staff, other paid staff and student assistants) (ARL Q13) (ACRL Line 06 Column A)
- AOS Line 152 How many IT staff (in FTE) are included in the above TOTAL FTE count?
- Number of IT Staff (FTE) (ABA Q23) (USNews Q65)
- Total Number of JD Students (FT and PT Combined)

It was noted that the ABA no longer breaks out students by PT and FT as they had in the past; 
- Total Full Time JD Students 
- % of Students that are FT
- Total Part Time JD Students
- % of Students that are PT
the total number of JD students is still available from the ABA.

Budget Analysis

Question 01:

Today a claim was made that the budget cuts suffered by my library in the past year(s) is typical and "below average." I confess I was at a loss to counter this accusation.

I'm hoping to discover:
-  % change year / year past three years
-  Per FTE
-  By Collection budget (TOTAL)
-  By Personnel budget (TOTAL)
-  By Law Librarian budget (TOTAL)

Result: ALLStAR contains budget data from the ABA Annual Questionnaire preloaded for 2013-16. ARL budgetary information is pre-loaded for 2009-16. Any of this data can be exported to a spreadsheet for further analysis. Additionally, we can create permanent derivations within ALLStAR to help us quickly breakdown data and arrive at commonly requested rations. For example, we recently created within ALLStAR the derivation that produces the Library Collections $ / student.

Budget and Student data

Question 01: 

If it is not too much trouble, could you please let me know what you reported to the ABA for the FALL 2016 ABA form for the following:

(11a) Paper serial subscriptions
(12a) Paper monographs
(13a) Digital materials purchased
(13b) Digital materials licensed

In addition, since the way the ABA distributes the information is so scattered, could you please let me know your current FTE JDs and FTE LLMs?

Result: This query can be fully answered in ALLStAR. All 2016 ABA data is uploaded as well as JD and graduate law student data from the ABA 509 reports. This report took only a few minutes to create and share. Further, a derivation for library budget/ student FTE was created in ALLStAR as a result of this query. 

Facility / Space

Question 01: Library square footage

My Dean wants to know how our library compares to other academic law libraries in terms of their total physical space. There may be an effort to re-purpose our student-centered library space.

Result: Library square footage was a question asked on the ABA Annual Questionnaire. The AQ for libraries doesn’t exist any longer – but ALLStAR has data. A trend report was created in ALLStAR displaying the reported square footage data for 200+ law libraries in FY2016.  FY2017 data was also included in this report. However, the FY2017 data was less useful because fewer libraries entered their data into ALLStAR's 2017 ABA collection. This data gap is illustrative of the need for all libraries to annually enter data into the ABA collection - you never know when you are going to need it. 

User Feedback

Question 01: 

ALLStAR was very helpful in answering the question our dean asked. He wanted to know the ratio of librarians / library staff to student and faculty over the last 10 years for us and our competitors/aspirant schools. And naturally it was due the day before he asked. My only feedback would be that it was a bummer all 10 years of ABA data isn’t in yet but when it was it was fantastic. It saved us loads of time. I also didn't find the system as intuitive as I expected but the trainings in March [2017] will help with that. It was very straightforward once I got the hang of it. The key is knowing the system when you’re not under pressure.

Response: It is indeed a bummer that ABA data only goes back to the 2013 Annual Questionnaire. Prior to 2013, the data is only available in PDF which cannot be mass uploaded into ALLStAR. Multiple requests for library data pre-2013 in excel have gone unanswered. 


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