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Article
Publication date: 14 June 2019

David Streatfield and Sharon Markless

The purpose of this paper is to describe the evolving IFLA approach to impact evaluation through three of its international programmes: Freedom of Access to Information…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to describe the evolving IFLA approach to impact evaluation through three of its international programmes: Freedom of Access to Information, Building Strong Library Associations (BSLA) and the International Advocacy Programme (IAP). This review positions these three programmes within the wider discourse of the international evaluation community.

Design/methodology/approach

Each of the three programmes is considered in turn to show what they were trying to achieve and how thinking about impact evaluation at IFLA is evolving.

Findings

This paper reports key evaluation findings for relevant phases of the BSLA and IAP programmes in general terms.

Research limitations/implications

The views presented are those of the evaluation consultants who advised each of these programmes (and in the cases of BSLA and the IAP conducted the programme evaluations).

Practical implications

The processes described and the conclusions drawn should be of interest to anyone involved in international or national library evaluation, especially of public libraries, library associations and national libraries.

Social implications

The paper suggests that more systematic impact evaluation of public libraries, library associations and national libraries is necessary to ensure their future survival.

Originality/value

The authors were uniquely placed to see and participate in IFLA impact evaluation discussions over the past decade.

Details

Performance Measurement and Metrics, vol. 20 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1467-8047

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Article
Publication date: 21 March 2008

Sharon Markless and David Streatfield

The purpose of this paper is to describe the progress made in developing mechanisms for self‐supported impact assessment for a range of library service providers in the…

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607

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to describe the progress made in developing mechanisms for self‐supported impact assessment for a range of library service providers in the UK, and higher education libraries in particular. There is no established tradition for the higher education libraries to evaluate the impact that they have within their organisations.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors have created and developed a range of techniques which have been applied across the United Kingdom in school, health, public and higher education libraries, refining the techniques over the last decade.

Findings

The impact initiative so far is reviewed and areas for further promotion and development identified.

Originality/value

The work described is one of few that has achieved impact assessment across a wide range of libraries and over a significant period.

Details

Performance Measurement and Metrics, vol. 9 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1467-8047

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Article
Publication date: 3 July 2009

David Streatfield and Sharon Markless

The purpose of this paper is to offer a definition of impact assessment and to discuss some of the implications of this and other definitions. A particular approach to…

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54105

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to offer a definition of impact assessment and to discuss some of the implications of this and other definitions. A particular approach to impact assessment is introduced, as developed for use in a variety of library and information service settings and the principles underpinning this approach are described.

Design/methodology/approach

This approach has been adapted by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation's Global Libraries Initiative (GL) when providing impact planning and assessment support to grantees through their “IPA Road Map”. The approach is also adopted by the International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA) in devising its impact assessment strategy for evaluation of its future Free Access to Information and Freedom of Expression (FAIFE) work.

Findings

The importance of impact assessment in a variety of settings is outlined: from school libraries to university researcher support and from public libraries to electronic information services.

Research limitations/implications

Although this paper draws on and quotes from the IPA Road Map developed by the GL, all the comments and opinions expressed are those of the authors and should not be interpreted as representing an official GL viewpoint.

Originality/value

Some “unofficial” observations are offered on the relationships between impact assessment, advocacy and service sustainability, particularly in relation to major service development programmes such as the GL.

Details

Performance Measurement and Metrics, vol. 10 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1467-8047

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Article
Publication date: 19 April 2011

David Streatfield and Sharon Markless

This paper aims to examine the relationship between advocacy on behalf of libraries and impact evaluation in a national public library development context in which the…

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2671

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to examine the relationship between advocacy on behalf of libraries and impact evaluation in a national public library development context in which the boundaries between these two roles are likely to be blurred, creating ethical issues for all concerned.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors draw upon their broad experience of helping various international organisations to develop strategic approaches to impact planning and evaluation for public libraries, as well as their work in helping to develop library practice at national level, in order to focus on and examine the creative tensions between impact evaluation and advocacy.

Findings

There are particular issues for all key participants (international programme funders, policy shapers, service managers, evaluators and advocates) in planning, supporting and delivering impact evaluation programmes. Most of these can be addressed directly but some (such as balancing programme requirements against local priorities, or achieving a balance between collecting evidence based on predetermined impact indicators and progressive focusing) entail management of the tensions between conflicting pressures.

Practical implications

Specific ways forward are offered to encourage ethical advocacy and impact evaluation at national library development level. These principles are equally applicable to education and health library development and to public library development at regional or local levels.

Originality/value

The particular issues of advocacy and impact evaluation in the national public library development context have not previously been recognized in the international development literature addressing advocacy and evaluation or in the library and information services research literature.

Details

Library Review, vol. 60 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0024-2535

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Article
Publication date: 1 January 2006

Lucy Gildersleeves

The aim of this article is to investigate the nature of use and impact of the Improve Your Library self‐evaluation process on school libraries and their integration into…

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2158

Abstract

Purpose

The aim of this article is to investigate the nature of use and impact of the Improve Your Library self‐evaluation process on school libraries and their integration into whole‐school development planning for pupil learning.

Design/methodology/approach

The research is structured in two phases. Phase one seeks to map levels, patterns and experiences of use by those responsible for the library within schools and to establish the nature of support needed for librarians from school library services and training providers. Phase two will track schools in detail to explore the extent of difference the process may have on library integration into the wider school self‐evaluation, development priorities and planning, and on library contribution to pupil reading and learning.

Findings

Preliminary investigations indicate that there is considerable diversity in current evaluation practice and in expectations of the Improve Your Library toolkits. There is a need for a national vehicle for sharing individual library experience to inform reflective practice.

Research limitations/implications

The research focused on English schools. Successful delivery of the intended case banks of practice examples is dependent on a good range of schools being willing to share their experience.

Practical implications

Training and support needs and networks will be identified for providers and practitioners. Practical experience will be made available to librarians, school management and policy‐makers.

Originality/value

This is a timely evaluation of the first unified system of library self‐evaluation across English schools within the context of a new approach to whole‐school evaluation. It will provide librarians with a means of sharing and comparing experiences in the absence of a formalised benchmarking system for school libraries and contribute to a national picture of school library activity and priorities.

Details

Aslib Proceedings, vol. 58 no. 1/2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0001-253X

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Article
Publication date: 23 March 2010

Sandra Fried, Maciej Kochanowicz and Marcel Chiranov

This paper aims to explain how the Global Libraries (GL) Initiative of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation plans for and assesses the impact of its programs on libraries…

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3549

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to explain how the Global Libraries (GL) Initiative of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation plans for and assesses the impact of its programs on libraries and communities as part of their commitment to improving lives by increasing public access to computers and the internet in public libraries.

Design/methodology/approach

GL encourages libraries to design programs and services that address local and national priorities. Impact assessment processes assist libraries in collecting, analyzing and reporting on evidence to show: whether activities are conducted effectively to enable learning and improve processes; whether the program makes a difference to users and communities; and what impact evidence to use in advocacy for continued support and funding. GL's process and philosophy are described and case studies from two grantee programs in two countries are provided.

Findings

The Polish‐American Freedom Foundation (PAFF) adopted innovative methods developed for them by the Information Society Development Foundation to determine baseline library usage in rural public libraries in Poland. Rather than counting borrowers, which was the approach facilitated by the available data, they conducted random sampling in target areas. This allowed them to count users who do not borrow books, and to gauge scale of repeat usage and user demographics. In so doing, the team found that libraries have a substantially higher reach than book‐lending data alone suggested. The International Research and Exchanges Board (IREX) assessed community information needs and determined that education, health, and employment are the issues about which Romanians want more information. Libraries in Romania will design services based on a careful understanding of those needs.

Research limitations/implications

The research findings reported are drawn from systematic quantitative and qualitative evidence gathering undertaken as part of the impact‐planning and assessment programs being implemented in the two countries.

Originality/value

The paper presents a current view of the GL approach to impact assessment and service sustainability as well as two early reports, one on the results of baseline evidence collection and the other on community needs assessment in the two participating countries.

Details

Performance Measurement and Metrics, vol. 11 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1467-8047

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Article
Publication date: 1 July 1986

TONY WARSHAW

Margaret O'Hare left BLRDD on 30 June to take up an appointment as Secretary General to the World Confederation for Physical Therapy. She has been with BLRDD since it…

Abstract

Margaret O'Hare left BLRDD on 30 June to take up an appointment as Secretary General to the World Confederation for Physical Therapy. She has been with BLRDD since it joined the British Library and prior to that she worked for the Office for Scientific and Technical Information. She was Section Head at BLRDD responsible for library research, information policy research, business information, user studies, humanities, life and social sciences, the Centre for Library and Information Management and the Office for Humanities Communication. She was also Policy and Planning Officer for BLRDD, dealing with international activities and liaison as part of this function.

Details

New Library World, vol. 87 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0307-4803

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Article
Publication date: 1 December 2004

Philip Payne, John Crawford and Wendy Fiander

Purpose. Ten libraries across the UK are participating in the first phase of an initiative to assess the impact of higher education libraries on learning, teaching, and…

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970

Abstract

Purpose. Ten libraries across the UK are participating in the first phase of an initiative to assess the impact of higher education libraries on learning, teaching, and research. The initiative is being undertaken under the auspices of the Library and Information Research Group and the Society of College, National, and University Libraries. This interim report provides an overview of the initiative and describes participation by two of the libraries: Glasgow Caledonian University and University College Chester. Design/methodology/approach. Each of the libraries has chosen an area of their activity where they wish to assess their impact. The ten participating institutions have then followed a common approach to assessing impact which involves specifying objectives for what the library is trying to achieve, determining success criteria, establishing impact measures, identifying what evidence is needed, and choosing methods for gathering evidence. Findings. Assessing a library's impact is not easy but the potential benefits can be considerable. Issues identified in the first phase include the time/resources needed, the importance of having good research skills, the difficulties of getting the evidence, and separating out the library's contribution. Benefits illustrated in the case studies include demonstrating that the library is supporting university strategy, building closer links with academics, and enabling staff to gain a better understanding of academic processes. Originality/value. The paper will interest library managers and staff who are concerned about the impact of their services and are seeking ways to demonstrate the difference that they make to their host organisations.

Details

VINE, vol. 34 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0305-5728

Keywords

Open Access
Article
Publication date: 15 January 2021

Clare Edwards and Dominic Gilroy

This paper aims to demonstrate the approach taken in delivering the quality and impact elements of Knowledge for Healthcare, the strategic development framework for…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to demonstrate the approach taken in delivering the quality and impact elements of Knowledge for Healthcare, the strategic development framework for National Health Service (NHS) library and knowledge services in England. It examines the work undertaken to enhance quality and demonstrate the value and impact of health library and knowledge services. It describes the interventions developed and implemented over a five-year period 2015–2020 and the move towards an outcome rather than process approach to impact and quality.

Design/methodology/approach

The case study illustrates a range of interventions that have been developed, including the outcomes of implementation to date. The methodology behind each intervention is informed by the evidence base and includes professional engagement.

Findings

The outcomes approach to the development and implementation of quality and impact interventions and assets provides evidence to demonstrate the value of library and knowledge staff to the NHS in England to both high-level decision-makers and service users.

Originality/value

The interventions are original concepts developed within the NHS to demonstrate system-wide impacts and change. The Evaluation Framework has been developed based on the impact planning and assessment (IPA) methodology. The interventions can be applied to other healthcare systems, and the generic learning is transferable to other library and knowledge sectors, such as higher education.

Details

Performance Measurement and Metrics, vol. 22 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1467-8047

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Article
Publication date: 1 October 2006

Roswitha Poll and Philip Payne

The purpose of this article is to demonstrate the importance of impact/outcome research in libraries.

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5966

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this article is to demonstrate the importance of impact/outcome research in libraries.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper gives an overview of purposes and methods used in impact research and illustrates this through project experiences.

Findings

Various projects worldwide are trying to prove that use of library services can positively influence skills and competences, attitudes and behaviour of users. The benefits that users experience by using library services can be assessed in terms of knowledge gained, higher information literacy, higher academic or professional success, social inclusion, and increase in individual well‐being.

Research limitations/implications

The main problem of impact research is, that influences on an individual are manifold and that therefore it is difficult to trace changes and improvements back to the library. The paper shows methods that are tested and used at the present. More investigation is needed to identify methods that could be used to show a library's overall impact or to develop measures that would permit benchmarking between institutions.

Practical implications

The paper shows practical examples of impact assessment, covering “soft” methods like surveys, interviews, focus groups, observation and quantitative methods like tests, analysis of publications, or usage data.

Originality/value

The paper acquaints libraries with a topic that is not yet well known and, by showing practical examples, demonstrates how libraries can attempt to assess their impact.

Details

Library Hi Tech, vol. 24 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0737-8831

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