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The efficiency of Estonian central public libraries

Peep Miidla (University of Tartu, Tartu, Estonia)
Konrad Kikas (Tallinn University of Technology Library, Tallinn, Estonia)

Performance Measurement and Metrics

ISSN: 1467-8047

Article publication date: 20 March 2009




This paper sets out to describe the results of a four‐year‐long study into the efficiency of Estonian central public libraries.


The study uses data envelopment analysis (DEA), a non‐parametric linear programming‐based tool to determine the relative efficiency of 20 central public libraries of Estonia. Relative efficiency shows the capacity of an organisation to provide the same output for less expenditure.


The study finds that 40 per cent of the libraries investigated used their resources effectively. Efficiency scores of the rest of the libraries varied from 0.74 to 0.98, with staff expenditure slack being the main inefficiency factor for half of inefficient libraries.


The results of this research enhance the diagnostic capacity for planning the future activities of Estonian central public libraries and offers insights into using DEA for efficiency measurement and decision‐making in public libraries in general.



Miidla, P. and Kikas, K. (2009), "The efficiency of Estonian central public libraries", Performance Measurement and Metrics, Vol. 10 No. 1, pp. 49-58.



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Copyright © 2009, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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