Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Swedish and Danish public libraries are not facing serious economic problems at the present time, but as in all areas of the public sector there is a growing demand, from politicians and other clients, for quality to be measured in a way to allow a comparison between units. Other trends also put pressure on libraries and make it necessary for library managers to review on‐going activities. How do libraries attract children and teenagers? How to compete with all the other distributors of information and knowledge? With a sound factual foundation these problematic and complicated issues are discussed in the book.
Volume 1 is a comprehensive survey on research and practice in performance and evaluation measurement for libraries. The references to source‐material and literature are thorough and extensive. Volume 2 is a practical handbook. The author has applied the methods of Balanced Scorecards to public libraries, and created performance indicators intended to measure quality. He has defined three different profiles according to which role an individual library plays in its community. Those functions are:
cultural centre and meeting place; and
information‐, business‐ and innovation centre.
Balanced Scorecards work mainly with statistics. As to whether quantitative methods actually give a true picture of library quality is a question asked by the author on the last page of the book. He writes that through the production of this manuscript he has become more and more convinced that there is also a need for storytelling, that during data collection the stakeholders get the opportunity to verbally express value, suggest improvements, sources of irritation and visions.
First published in Swedish in Biblioteksbladet. By kind permission of the publishers.