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Performance Measurement and Metrics, vol. 20 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1467-8047

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Article

Frankie Wilson and J. Stephen Town

It remains unresolved from the literature whether benchmarking is a useful and appropriate tool for the library and information services sector. The aim of this research…

Abstract

Purpose

It remains unresolved from the literature whether benchmarking is a useful and appropriate tool for the library and information services sector. The aim of this research is to gather evidence to establish whether benchmarking provides a real and lasting benefit to library and information services.

Design/methodology/approach

The study investigated the long‐term effects of a benchmarking exercise on the quality level of three UK academic libraries. However, an appropriate framework for assessing the quality level of libraries is not present in the literature, and it was therefore necessary for such a framework to be developed. This article describes and provides initial characterisation of the framework developed – the Quality Maturity Model (QMM).

Findings

The evidence from the investigation showed that the two libraries which were at stage one on the QMM before the benchmarking exercise remained there; and the library which scored at the penultimate level, level four, before benchmarking, was, four years afterwards, at level five. The tentative conclusion drawn was that benchmarking may only be appropriate for organisations with a existing high level of quality maturity. Much further work is proposed.

Originality/value

The research provides evidence which establishes whether benchmarking provides a real and lasting benefit to library and information services.

Details

Performance Measurement and Metrics, vol. 7 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1467-8047

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Article

Frankie Wilson

The purpose of this paper is to present the complete details of the Quality Maturity Model (QMM), and the associated Quality Culture Assessment Instrument (QCAI). The QMM…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to present the complete details of the Quality Maturity Model (QMM), and the associated Quality Culture Assessment Instrument (QCAI). The QMM provides a framework for libraries to self-assess their progress towards achieving a culture of quality.

Design/methodology/approach

The research used a Design Science approach and predominantly grounded theory methodology to develop the QMM as a roadmap that defines an ordinal scale for measuring the maturity of an academic library’s quality culture.

Findings

The QMM describes seven facets of quality culture, and five levels for each facet.

Practical implications

The QCAI enables libraries to locate themselves within the quality maturity landscape. They will then be able to use the QMM as a roadmap to plan their route to improvement. Such a strategic approach to improvement allows libraries to make sense of the literature in terms of what is appropriate for them, so avoiding expensive irrelevancies.

Originality/value

The QMM is unique. There are other models that assess quality culture, but the details of these models are kept secret and the only way to be assessed is by paying a consultancy fee. There are other models that make their details public, but they describe only one or two aspects of quality culture, not all.

Details

Library Management, vol. 36 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0143-5124

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Article

Sheila Corrall

Stephen Town has been a thought leader and change agent in the academic library world for more than 20 years, who has produced a very large body of work in the areas of…

Abstract

Purpose

Stephen Town has been a thought leader and change agent in the academic library world for more than 20 years, who has produced a very large body of work in the areas of quality management and performance measurement that has been disseminated internationally. Town’s retirement from full-time employment at the University of York provides a timely opportunity to review his contribution to the field. The purpose of this paper is to discuss this issue.

Design/methodology/approach

The review outlines Town’s career path and professional interests and then appraises his published output, concentrating on his contributions to thinking and practice in the areas of benchmarking, information literacy, service quality, and measuring the value and impact of academic libraries and information services. The discussion is organized thematically to illustrate the evolution and development of his interests and ideas over the review period and also references-related work by other authors to set his work in context.

Findings

The study found many examples of innovative and creative work that had influenced thinking and practice in the library profession, including the development of models, frameworks, and tools with the potential to improve the effectiveness of service benchmarking, information literacy education, library advocacy, relationship management, staff evaluation, and impact measurement.

Research limitations/implications

The volume of published work necessitated some selectivity in the material covered, but the review provides sufficiently comprehensive coverage of the areas specified to represent the work effectively.

Originality/value

Town has produced a substantial number of publications as a practitioner-researcher that have not previously been reviewed independently as a coherent body of work.

Details

Performance Measurement and Metrics, vol. 17 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1467-8047

Keywords

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Article

Abstract

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Performance Measurement and Metrics, vol. 8 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1467-8047

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Article

Linda Banwell

Abstract

Details

Performance Measurement and Metrics, vol. 7 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1467-8047

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Article

Simon Hart and Howard Amos

The purpose of this paper is to outline the findings from the initial stages of an activity-based benchmarking project developed across an international network of…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to outline the findings from the initial stages of an activity-based benchmarking project developed across an international network of academic libraries. Through working on a shared response to the question: “if we enable and support the academic endeavour how do we measure our effectiveness?” the network of libraries is using the formal mechanism of benchmarking as a means of continuous improvement.

Design/methodology/approach

Actual improvements as a result of benchmarking are known to arise from considering and looking at processes, tools and techniques rather than from simply comparing and reviewing measurements of activity. The establishment of the Matariki Network of Universities provided the opportunity to begin work on international benchmarking amongst the member libraries. The project is a collaborative exercise involving comparisons across the libraries on a selected number of services and activities that are similar across the institutions and are representative of overall library service provision. In this first stage of the project the focus is on support for teaching and learning, specifically activities and programmes that support the transition of first-year students into university life. To simplify the process the libraries have shared details in relation to specific cohorts of students. In order to achieve this, participating libraries used an online collaborative workspace to respond to a series of questions. These responses were analysed to identify common themes, highlight exemplars and select further topics for discussion.

Findings

Acknowledging the challenge of international collaboration, processes and mechanisms were developed. It was important to establish a shared language with a set of agreed terms and definitions. Similarly, taking time for each partner to contribute to the project has been valuable. Consideration of each of the libraries responses to the survey questions reveals a diverse number of activities and practices that represent a strong commitment to the needs of students. Drawing on institutional strategic direction and policy, each library allocates substantial resourcing to these activities and practices. The exercise within the benchmarking project produced a valuable set of data for each library to review and learn from. In terms of managing the project, findings are consistent with those reported in the administration of other benchmarking projects. The libraries are in the early stages of developing a series of common international performance measures. It is evident that learning more detail about assessment processes used across each library is necessary to advance the project aims. Further work with the project partners on measuring the effectiveness of their activities will allow the testing of the application of a maturity model for quality improvement of library assessment practices.

Research limitations/implications

The project provides the opportunity to develop a series of performance measures that can be verified across an international network of libraries. Sharing information on activities and practices that impact upon the wider institution provides a means to review and improve library assessment practices.

Originality/value

This paper outlines the first benchmarking activity in the development of a review of performance measures through an activity-based benchmarking project. The activity included an international network of academic libraries. This work will lead to benchmarking effectiveness measures and the development of a library assessment capability maturity model. This will offer a development path, and a better understanding of progress, to demonstrate value and provide evidence of successful outcomes.

Details

Performance Measurement and Metrics, vol. 15 no. 1/2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1467-8047

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Article

Simone Fuehles-Ubach

The purpose of this paper is to describe the different positions and roles that German research libraries may have in their funding organizations: center or periphery…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to describe the different positions and roles that German research libraries may have in their funding organizations: center or periphery, making a change with respect to the overall strategy or having just a strategy of their own; having strong communication links to the top management or just to their users.

Design/methodology/approach

Since 2008, the Joint Science Conference (Gemeinsame Wissenschaftskonferenz (GWK)) in Germany deals with all questions of research funding, science and research policy strategies and the science system which jointly affect the Federal Government and the Länder. For the big four German national research societies (Max-Planck, Helmhold, Fraunhofer, Leibnitz), the GWK formulated a set of performance indicators that are used to compare the different societies in a monitoring report published every year. Interestingly, there are several aspects affecting the libraries and their services and products, but the performance of the libraries (approximately 200) is not clearly mentioned.

Findings

An exemplary matrix is developed that can be adapted by all research libraries to show to which extent the research library is able to support and influence the level of different performance indicators and thereby to contribute to the overall goal of the organization. A graduated traffic light system is used to highlight which contributions in which areas can be expected from the research library.

Research limitations/implications

Research libraries are usually quite different from each other and there are not many tools to compare their contributions and to show their performance to the management level. In this paper, a method to show the influence and impact in the German research context is used, which may not be applicable to other countries with other research structures.

Practical implications

The paper identifies the importance of playing an essential role in the fulfillment of the overall strategic goals of the funding organization, especially for research libraries as there are usually special metrics to compare the big scientific research organizations in Germany.

Social implications

It is shown that there are simple ways to derive strategic goals and key figures and translate them into a benchmark and even use existing reports and systems.

Originality/value

The value of research libraries has usually been seen as supporting the research process for the users in the best possible way. As more competition arises between different research institutions or societies, the role of the library with respect to the contribution to the stakeholder’s strategy opens up another perspective.

Details

Library Management, vol. 39 no. 3/4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0143-5124

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Article

Michael Williams

The environmentally controlled library warehouse stores ten million collection items and its team of staff provides a delivery service to the students and researchers…

Abstract

Purpose

The environmentally controlled library warehouse stores ten million collection items and its team of staff provides a delivery service to the students and researchers. Statistics show that the demand for the service was much higher than the forecast at the design stage and, as a result, the operationally intensive environment had bottlenecks and backlogs, which were affecting the service-level agreements. It was clear that the staffing levels were inadequate to meet the demand, so there was a need to capture data to enable evidence-based decision making to restructure and supplement staffing. The paper aims to discuss these issues.

Design/methodology/approach

Each of the activities undertaken by staff were observed and timed over extended periods, which resulted in detailed measurements for each elemental task. On the basis of known demand for services, the author was able to extrapolate these measurements to model the demand on services and, therefore, the staffing requirement for a whole year.

Findings

The author was able to provide evidence to show that the levels of staffing were inadequate and two further full-time equivalent staff were required. The data also highlighted specific areas that required higher and lower levels of resourcing than those were currently provided.

Originality/value

The research was motivated by operational need in an environment where meeting service-level agreements is a key performance indicator. The methods can be applied to many library activities and are especially applicable to repetitive or high-intensity tasks. It is equally valuable in library operations where there is a perception that staffing levels are inadequate but it is not clear how additional staffing should be deployed.

Details

Library Management, vol. 39 no. 3/4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0143-5124

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Article

Anne Lundin

In the novel, The Member of the Wedding, Carson McCullers probes the American malaise through the longings of a young adolescent girl. Twelve‐year‐old Frankie no longer…

Abstract

In the novel, The Member of the Wedding, Carson McCullers probes the American malaise through the longings of a young adolescent girl. Twelve‐year‐old Frankie no longer sees the world as round and inviting as a school globe. No, the world is huge and cracked and turning a thousand miles an hour. Indeed, the world seems separate from herself. In the midst of chaos, Frankie sees her brother's upcoming wedding as a chance to feel connected, to feel that she matters. The story focuses on Frankie's efforts to be a “member of the wedding,” as she recognizes, “they are the we of me.”

Details

Collection Building, vol. 12 no. 3/4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0160-4953

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