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The impact of library associations: preliminary findings of a qualitative study

Susan Henczel (School of Business, IT and Logistics, RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia)

Performance Measurement and Metrics

ISSN: 1467-8047

Article publication date: 4 November 2014




The purpose of this paper is to provide an overview, including methodology and preliminary findings, of a current and ongoing doctoral research study of the impact of national library associations. The study uses the impact assessment framework provided by ISO16439:2014 Methods and procedures for assessing the impact of libraries.


If the professional associations supporting the profession are to become sustainable we need to understand the difference they make to the individual members of the profession, to the employers of those individuals and to the profession of librarianship. This study applies the framework provided by ISO 16439:2014 to the national library association environment to explore and gather evidence of impact. To align with the ISO model, impact is differentiated into impact on individuals; social impact – institution (library or employing organization); and social impact – community (the profession). Preliminary findings show evidence of impact in all categories.


Data were gathered through semi-structured interviews that were conducted with members of national library associations in Australia, New Zealand, the UK and the USA during the third quarter of 2013.


This study contributes to research methodologies by testing the use of a qualitative assessment tool in a way that could be transferable to other associations both within and external to the library environment and to enable it to be adapted more broadly for other purposes within the library and information environment.



Henczel, S. (2014), "The impact of library associations: preliminary findings of a qualitative study", Performance Measurement and Metrics, Vol. 15 No. 3, pp. 122-144.



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