As academic libraries continue to evolve beyond a focus on collections, their leaders have long recognized the importance of developing new services that add value for learners, instructors, researchers, and other stakeholders. Sometimes, the demand for new services is self-evident, but in other cases the library must develop services speculatively and in a competitive environment. In these cases, planning and assessment tools can be of tremendous value in allowing library leaders to focus their new service initiatives most effectively. 

Recognizing this need, Ithaka S+R adapted a commercial market research methodology for use in planning new service models for academic libraries. This new tool — service concept testing — is one that we have now piloted with seven institutions, which in turn are rolling out new services. In today’s new issue brief, we describe this methodology and how it can be utilized by any library or group of libraries. 

Our development of this methodology took place as part of a broader project on community college library services. We are grateful for our partners at seven colleges that developed and tested these service models with us, as well as IMLS, which supported this work.

Are you interested in taking an evidence-based approach to transforming your library’s service offerings? Read our issue brief on this approach, and feel free to reach out directly if you’d like some help.