Measuring The Modern Library – What exactly do your metrics show?

By Michael Feit | Best Practices

Mar 21

Change is the only constant. There are changes we can forecast, and there are those to which we must react. Utilizing metrics and analytics will help support everyday operations, and changes at the firm that effect the Library. This data can come from an array of sources: Budget, Electronic Resource Management (ERM), User Feedback and even Associations Surveys.

Let’s start with the budget since this is almost the end of the year and most of our clients are finalizing renewals and expense projections. Consider just how meaningful is your budget? Does it truly reflect your operations? Are you capturing and monitoring revenue streams as well as expense? Are you billing for research services? If so, are you analyzing this data to identify which attorneys are passing on costs, and who is writing off client related expense.

For those with an ERM in place, whether monitoring reference requests or analyzing user data to assess ROI, ERMs are a valuable tool in the arsenal of the Modern Library. Robust reporting capabilities allow the Librarian to slice, dice and analyze data providing a better understanding of what is working in the Modern Library and what might need adjusting, like contracts for online resources seldom used or identification of training opportunities.

Since the Library provides many services, soliciting user feedback is valuable in figuring out what is working and what isn’t bringing value. The Modern Library is responsive to change when it needs to occur. A simple “how are we doing” at the end of a fulfilled request provides real time information and allows for agile change.

With the recent publication of the 2017 Biennial AALL Salary Survey & Organizational Characteristics, valuable metrics regarding salary, staffing patterns, Librarian attorney ratios are available allowing you to benchmark your Library. Are staffing and salaries where they should be for a firm your size?

The value of all these metrics lies in the data the Librarian can use to justify staffing, budgets and to assess the general ROI of the Library. For law firm Administrators, hard data turned into informative charts and graphs can tell the story of the modern Library in a visual way that is powerful beyond the numbers.

About the Author

Michael Feit earned his J.D. from the Loyola University School of Law in Chicago and was an executive at Westlaw before founding Feit Consulting 16 years ago. Feit Consulting partners with law firm administrators and legal information professionals to optimize vendor contracts and the management and delivery of legal information resources by providing leading-edge, customized solutions. Contact Michael at