Best Value and Better Performance in Libraries

A: How library service managers can get to grips with assessing the impact of services

A3: How do you currently measure your success as a service?

In order to see how far your service has moved into the area of performance measurement and impact assessment, please answer the following questions:

All library services have some sorts of service delivery measures (e.g. issues per head of population; stock related to registered users etc.):

  • What do your measures concentrate on?
  • What do you use them for other than CIPFA etc. returns? (how do they fit into service management or the planning cycle?)

Most library services use some sorts of measures of key processes in delivering services (e.g. produce a stock development policy; organise X reading groups):

  • Which processes does your service try to monitor?
  • What process indicators do you have in place? Do they help you to develop services? How?

A few library services use some means to measure the impact of specific services (e.g. collecting evidence from participants that training provided for users on the Internet makes them better “navigators”):

  • Do you collect any evidence of impact of services or achievement of service objectives? In what areas? How?
  • Does this evidence really measure impact or achievement?
  • Does this evidence help you to develop services? How?

In our recent surveys6:

26% of public library service managers reported that they had adopted some impact or achievement indicators or targets

19% of schools library services managers reported similarly.

6. STREATFIELD, D. R. and MARKLESS, S. ‘Best Value and better performance in public libraries’ [article accepted by Public Libraries Journal]