Best Value and Better Performance in Libraries

E: Consultancy support from Library and Information Specialists

E2: Particular strengths for the three areas of Best Value

Measuring performance and assessing impact

  • Our ground-breaking work on assessing the impact of public libraries1 has just been published. (This grew out of our national evaluation of public library involvement in the National Year of Reading2)
  • We are now concentrating on benchmarking around outcomes

Objective commentary on the implementation of Best Value

  • We have first-hand strategic experience of working through Best Value reviews with public library clients
  • Our national programme on research methods for librarians is now being offered for the third time
  • On the strategic front, our work has included evaluating the two national training organisations in the libraries and cultural sectors for Resource: The Council for Museums, Archives and Libraries

Enacting the four ‘C’s’: addressing specific issues

  • We are continuously monitoring alternative ways of organising and delivering library services (one example is our national review of school library services management3)
  • Recent commissions are putting great emphasis on partnership working at local and regional level
  • We recently reviewed the use and management of volunteers in libraries and produced guidelines for The Library Association4


1. STREATFIELD, D.R., MARKLESS, S., COOKMAN, N. and others Best Value and better performance in libraries Library and Information Commission Research Report 52

2. STREATFIELD, D.R. and others Rediscovering reading: Public Libraries in the National Year of Reading Information Management Associates [in press]

3. MARKLESS, S. and STREATFIELD, D.R. School Library Services: from Survival to Growth? Library and Information Commission Research Report 49

4. COOKMAN, N., HAYNES, D. and STREATFIELD, D.R. The use of volunteers in public libraries: a report to The Library Association, 2000