Public libraries, in common with other local government services, are obliged to obtain best value by striving for customer service of the highest quality and greatest efficiency. This article draws on data gathered from the Developing Research in Public Libraries (DRIPL) project, which shows how an understanding of research methods is increasingly required by public library managers to move services forward in strategic and operational terms. Following a description of the principles of best value, research areas are indicated which contribute to the achievement of best value in public libraries. The article notes areas where research could usefully be incorporated and shared more widely, and suggests publicly available resources which could be used by managers for performance measurement and user consultation.
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