Meaningful Measures | Assessment

June 28, 2017

Meaningful Measures | Assessment

By Jennifer Koerber on June 21, 2017
National initiatives step into the gap on the urgent need to capture outcomes


Measuring outcomes can be a vital aid to justifying library work to voters, funders, and stakeholders—as well as determining strategic direction—but it can also be overwhelming.


“Libraries are very good at counting outputs…it’s more difficult to count outcomes,” says Stacey Wedlake, research and communication coordinator for Impact Survey, one of several national projects developed over the past ten years to help public libraries jump that hurdle. “It takes a different way of thinking and approach to understand and then count how people were changed due to the access and use of your services.”


Some statewide efforts have had success with outcomes. New York and Oregon state libraries, for instance, offer outcomes-based evaluation (OBE) training and support for their members. The Job and Career Services Department of the Cuyahoga County Public Library, OH, has measured outcomes for decades, using paper and online surveys for participant evaluations and an electronic records system designed for counseling centers for secure data storage. However, many libraries don’t have staff with time to learn this approach, and, for the most part, only some of the most recent graduates have these skills.


Fortunately, efforts to provide that capacity on a national scale are rising to meet the need, but there is still plenty of room for growth—in adoption, in use of the data, and in taking outcomes-based assessment to the next level.


Read the full Library Journal article HERE