Document Type

Book Chapter

Original Publication Date


Journal/Book/Conference Title

The Library Assessment Cookbook

First Page


Last Page


Date of Submission

September 2017


Two years ago, our library merged three desks as well as people from three different departments to staff that desk. As part of this consolidation, we developed a new model for answering patron questions that incorporated chat/text, an on-call system, and referrals.

Before assessing whether this new service model was an improvement for our patrons, we first assessed whether we had implemented the model as it was originally envisioned in order to determine whether any failures were a result of the model itself or how the library had implemented the concept of the model. This recipe will introduce the concept of implementation fidelity, explain our methods for assessing the new service model, and share implications and recommendations for how other libraries can incorporate assessment of implementation fidelity into their evaluations of new services.

While libraries are increasingly places of change and innovation, many of these changes are not assessed for their effectiveness, or for how they’re perceived and valued by staff and patrons. Additionally, few libraries attempt to determine whether their implementation of new services and programs is as how library administration envisioned them—and, by extension, how any differences between theory and practice affect staff and patron perceptions of those changes and new services. Libraries should therefore consider assessing the implementation fidelity of future proposed changes in order to avoid abandoning innovations that have failed only in execution.

Recommended Citation

Hodge, M. and Gariepy, L. (2017). The Missing Piece: Assessing Implementation Fidelity. In A. Dobbs (ed.), The Library Assessment Cookbook. Chicago, IL: Association of College and Research Libraries.


CC BY 4.0

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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VCU Libraries Faculty and Staff Publications