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Library performance continuum and the imperative of meta-evaluation

Leonor Gaspar Pinto (Department of History, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Lisbon, Portugal)

Performance Measurement and Metrics

ISSN: 1467-8047

Article publication date: 4 November 2014




The purpose of this paper is to characterize performance evaluation dynamics developed in Lisbon Municipal Libraries Network (LMLN) over a two-decade period (1989-2009), using a specific model and tools of (meta-)analysis.


Based on a methodology eminently qualitative supported by a combination of research methods (literature review, construction and application of conceptual models for analysis and case study), the author examined LMLN's performance evaluation progress, focusing on the diachronic study of evaluative processes – the performance evaluation dynamics.


Between 1989 and 2009, LMLN developed four main performance evaluation dynamics. The most significant results that emerged from the examination of these dynamics relate to the following elements of the model of analysis Dynamics and Impacts of Library Performance Evaluation (DILPE): evaluation objects and methods; organization; and dissemination of results. The study also emphasized the importance of some factors to dynamics sustainability: the presence of a permanent coordination team, in the direct dependency of the head of library services, with the right competences; the existence of a culture of assessment; and the commitment of leadership with performance evaluation.


The meta-evaluative approach and particularly the focus on the long-term development of evaluative theories and practices, contributes to the enlargement of the international corpus on library performance evaluation. On the other hand, the analytical model and conceptual tools created might be useful to other researchers/practitioners willing to meta-evaluate library performance evaluation dynamics.



This paper addresses some of the research topics and results of a doctoral project on strategic and emerging dimensions of performance evaluation: models, dynamics and impacts on Lisbon Municipal Libraries Network (1989-2009), carried out between 2010 and 2012 at Lisbon Municipality. The author would like to thank Lisbon Municipality for considering it an “overriding public interest” project and for granting a research scholarship.


Gaspar Pinto, L. (2014), "Library performance continuum and the imperative of meta-evaluation", Performance Measurement and Metrics, Vol. 15 No. 3, pp. 86-98.



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