Towards an Assessment of Public Library Value: Statistics on the Policy Makers’ Agenda

Towards an Assessment of Public Library Value: Statistics on the Policy Makers’ Agenda

Kristine Paberza (University of Latvia, Latvia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-1746-9.ch010
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Abstract

This paper presents methodology, early findings, possible applications of results and lessons learnt from the research study “Public libraries: value, trust and satisfaction”. The study was conducted in Latvia as the part of the impact assessment plan within the public library development project “Third Father’s Son”. The project’s goal was to improve people’s quality of life by strengthening the capacities of public libraries to facilitate better and proactive use of resources offered by free access to information technology and the Internet. In this paper, the author introduces practical results from the measurement of use-oriented value of public libraries by using information from the ecology approach and identifying the role of the public library within a context of other information sources used by the public.
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Context Of The Study

An “impact assessment” concept and measurement of social and economic impact of library services on local community and individual library user was novelty in Latvia at the beginning of the project implementation in 2006. An application of developed impact assessment model in Latvia was the first step in measuring the value of IT related public library services and have led to substantial improvement of national statistics in the library field. An implementation of impact assessment plan has started with the baseline study in 2007 and will continue in longitudinal study till 2010 that will result in the final report on main social and economic benefits and impacts of library services and activities. After impact assessment that will be done by the project implementation organization all the meaningful and important indicators will be incorporated into national statistics and data will be collected on the annual basis. Besides main impact assessment studies several in-depth studies are planned that will supplement main studies with more specific in-depth data and evidence (Figure 1).

Figure 1.

Impact assessment plan

After public procurement by project implementation organization the State Agency “Culture Information Systems” the research study “Public libraries: value, trust and satisfaction” has been carried out by the Advanced Social and Political Research Institute as the separate in-depth study that supplements other studies planned within impact assessment plan (Figure 1).

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