NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
ERIC Number: ED527717
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 190
Abstractor: ERIC
ISBN: 1-5940-7839-4
Library Performance Measurement in the UK and Ireland
Stanley, Tracey; Killick, Selena
Association of Research Libraries
This survey was a joint initiative between Society of College, National, and University Libraries (SCONUL) and the Association of Research Libraries (ARL), that since 2004 has sponsored a program to assist libraries with the assessment of services that they offer their users and the processes that support those services. It was based on an ARL SPEC survey published as SPEC Kit 303 "Library Assessment" in December 2007. The intention of this survey was to produce a similar publication focused on activities in UK and Irish academic institutions, and reflects a matching SCONUL desire to provide tools, techniques, and data for performance measurement and improvement through its Working Group on Performance Improvement. The survey was distributed to the 180 members of SCONUL in September 2008. Seventy-seven libraries completed the survey, resulting in a response rate of 43%. All of the libraries that responded indicated that they engaged in various performance measurement activities beyond the annual collection of data for SCONUL. Typically, SCONUL institutions began their performance measurement programmes in the 1990s, commencing with an in-house user survey. This was driven by a need to gain a better understanding of customer views and expectations, in order to drive service developments. Typically, performance measurement activities are spread across the job descriptions of several members of staff, or staff may be brought together for ad hoc and one-off projects. Where co-ordinators have been appointed, this has typically been in the last five years. Co-ordinators are typically within no more than two reporting levels of the library director, and may be running a team. Assessment committees are typically chaired by a department head. The tasks performed are similar across the roles, and most will have a link with other assessing units in their institution. Results of performance measurement activities are usually distributed through the library Web site, or via e-mail to library staff. There is considerable evidence that performance measurement leads to programmatic changes in library services--primarily around opening hours, the Web site, IT services, and loan periods. Training in assessment receives limited support from the library and is mostly outsourced rather than delivered locally. The most highly regarded training tends to come from SCONUL or CILIP-sponsored events. Staff are concerned that there is a significant skills gap in this area, especially around survey techniques and data analysis. Senior managers are typically committed to the concept of a performance measurement culture, but there are concerns that not all staff at all levels are sufficiently engaged. Many staff do not have the skills or rewards to carry out performance measurement activities. Most libraries have developed an assessment plan, or are in the process of doing so. Overall, there is a wealth of activity taking place in the area of performance measurement, and there has been considerable progress over the last 20 years. Staff training is a key requirement, if that progress is to continue.
Association of Research Libraries. 21 Dupont Circle NW Suite 800, Washington, DC 20046. Tel: 202-296-2296; Tel: 301-362-8196; Fax: 202-872-0884; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Association of Research Libraries
Identifiers - Location: Ireland; United Kingdom