Our "Special Obligation" Public

Library Assessment, Learning Analytics, and Intellectual Freedom

Librarians claim a special obligation to intellectual freedom. Our instruction and information services, and our assessment of that work, must preserve patron privacy and confidentiality as the necessary conditions for free inquiry. Contemporaneous methods of institutional and academic library assessment, coupled with the data analytics capabilities of best-in-breed library and educational technology, challenge librarians’ ethical commitment to intellectual freedom. This case study highlights the “unfreezing” stage of a community college librarian’s organizational change efforts directed at redesigning library assessment in order to restore patron privacy in assessment practices and at advocating for students’ intellectual freedom in institutional governance. The methods and activities proposed highlight the role of the academic librarian in advocating and teaching intellectual freedom and of intellectual freedom as a subject of library assessment.

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