For libraries, best value began by making judgements about the quality of services and the processes that underpin their delivery to local people. The inspections and value‐added work identified much that was good about libraries and much that needed to improve. Subsequently, the research report “Building better libraries” aroused national interest and offered a number of challenges to the profession on its present and future position in relation to changing national, regional and local contexts. Performance measurement and social impact have emerged as major factors in the Audit Commission's work on improvement in public services, and the paper focuses on the need to engage with the impact and outcomes of library services rather than its procedures, processes, aims and policies.
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