The purpose of this case study is to provide an overview of the evolution of performance measurement at the University of Wollongong (UOW) Library. Through iterative review, a framework was sought that would enable it to: demonstrate value and impact; better assess the demand and uptake of services and to evaluate relevance; improve the capture and reporting of continuous improvement initiatives; create a new narrative for communicating its role and unique contribution to UOW’s strategic agenda.
Since 1996, the Performance Indicator Framework (PIF) has been used to monitor and drive improvement, and to acquire evidence and milestones of success. As the issues of value and impact emerged in both in assessment theory and practice, it was timely to critically reassess the capability of the PIF and to optimise its alignment to the Library’s new structure and strategic focus.
Initial observations revealed an improved: confidence and independence in team leaders and managers using the PIF and communicating results and outcomes; ability to illustrate the interdependencies of processes, activities and projects; narrative for performance reporting.
UOW Library acknowledges limitations in its competency to establish hard, rigorously tested measures for the indicator “impact”. A key outcome sought from the review was the formation of a new mind-set; to think differently about performance and outcomes. The Library was prepared to accept on a pragmatic level, the identification of proxy measures that could support in some way the narrative and habits that were sought in considering performance data and outcomes.
This paper fulfils an identified need to challenge how libraries consider their effectiveness and their value and impact.
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