ARL Policies & Practices Regarding Surveys of ARL Members

I. ARL Surveys

  1. Only one ARL survey is a requirement for ARL member libraries:

    "Members must contribute the data necessary to establish the membership criteria and to compile the annual ARL Statistics." —Principles and Procedures for Membership in the Association of Research Libraries, Section IV, Membership Responsibilities.

  2. Other ARL surveys are voluntary. These include but are not limited to:

    • ARL Salary Survey
    • ARL Supplementary Survey (a test bed for new measures)
    • SPEC Surveys
    • Ad hoc surveys instituted in support of an ARL committee or program activity (e.g. ARL SOurce of Funds Survey, ARL Faciliites Survey, the Special Collections Task Force survey on unprocessed archival and manuscript material, etc.)
  3. ARL Directors List Surveys

    The electronic list maintained for ARL member representatives provides a convenient way for members to poll themselves on specific policies or practices in their institution. Responding to survey questions posted on the Director's list is voluntary. Directors using the list to collect information in this manner are encouraged to compile and share the results with the list.

II. External Surveys

Under certain circumstances ARL will endorse or otherwise call to ARL members attention a survey being conducted by an independent researcher or another agency. This is limited to those occasions when the survey matches ARL's agenda, when ARL has an opportunity to influence the design of the survey, and when the results will be made available to ARL and its members. ARL endorsement will be made explicit either in the survey and/or in communications from the ARL Office along with a reminder that ARL member participation in the survey remains a voluntary local option.

Requests for ARL endorsement or publicity for external surveys should be sent to the Executive Director. A recent example of an external survey that gained ARL support is the 2005 Wisconsin/Maryland Library Schools survey of academic and research libraries to identify future demand for subject specialists. The idea for this survey originated in discussions between ALISE leadership and ARL's Leadership & Management Committee on the special staffing needs of research libraries. IMLS provided funding to the library schools to undertake the research; ARL staff commented on the survey instrument, assisted with its distribution to ARL members, and encouraged their participation.

III. ARL Mailing Lists

ARL sells the mailing list of current members for paper mailings (excluding the director's email address). The use of an ARL mailing list is not an endorsement of a survey.

IV. Cooperating with Other Agencies

ARL seeks to limit surveys to member libraries by cooperating with other agencies to supply data so that ARL members will not have to do so (e.g., ARL salary data is made available to ALA).

Endorsed by the ARL Board July 26, 2005.