Improvement of academic library services as an outcome of continuous assessment is an aim of libraries of higher education institutions. Academic libraries are realizing the need to document evidence of their value to the institutions and the patrons they serve. Publications that include assessment research are reaching library decision makers, who seek to apply evidence to improve services or implement best practices that benefit all stakeholders. Following two previous studies that reported longitudinally on front-line library services, this paper investigates current five-year trending of three prestigious academic library journals in the publication of assessment studies. Data for this study were drawn through a content analysis process, in which the investigators selected studies for inclusion using a set of criteria developed in a pilot exercise. After individually examining 649 research articles, published between 2012 and 2016, 126 met the study’s selection criteria and were categorized according to the type of service they studied. Papers on information literacy instruction dominated, while reference services, technology, and general assessment studies saw less representation in the three journals. This finding reflects the priority placed upon information literacy instruction and describes how three American library journals are responding to current trends across academic libraries.
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