ERIC Number: ED390590
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1991
How Well Is Your Library Doing What It Claims To Be Doing?
Pearson, Richard C.
As new technologies expand the availability of information and services, previously isolated rural and small school libraries must begin to use formal evaluations to find out how best to serve their clientele. Although some forms of self-evaluation are ongoing, a library should ask for formal evaluations by its users, administration, and staff at least every 5 years. Evaluation must be based on stated objectives, thus forcing planning and goal setting. Barriers to evaluation include staff attitudes (discomfort with evaluation as a grading process), the complexity of overall evaluation, and the mistake of comparing program divisions that have very different goals. These barriers can be overcome by focusing on the impact of library programs and services on students or other patrons, and by breaking down the evaluation process into manageable tasks. A simple effective approach involves comparing measurable target goals or standards for each aspect of the library program with observations or input from staff and patrons about the current reality. Perhaps the greatest benefit of evaluation is the exchange of ideas and sharing of experiences between the library staff and its patrons. If the library holds no evaluations of its mission and programs, it will quickly lose touch with patron needs and become simply a depository. Sample questions are suggested for evaluation surveys of patrons, principals, faculty, and students. (SV)
Publication Type: Guides - Non-Classroom
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A