Academic journal article Reference & User Services Quarterly

Five Steps of Outcome-Based Planning and Evaluation for Public Libraries

Academic journal article Reference & User Services Quarterly

Five Steps of Outcome-Based Planning and Evaluation for Public Libraries

Article excerpt

Five Steps of Outcome-Based Planning and Evaluation for Public Libraries. By Melissa Gross, Cindy Mediavilla, and Virginia A. Walter. Chicago: ALA, 2016. 120 p. Paper $38.00 (ISBN: 978-0-8389-1404-5).

Most public librarians have pondered how to better report our library's worth and value to our varied constituents, ranging from patrons to library boards to municipal councils, and many of us have wondered how effective some of our programming endeavors actually are. Librarians are good storytellers, and this new book--Five Steps of Outcome-Based Planning and Evaluation for Public Libraries--affirms our collective talent while nudging public librarians to "step up our game."

Going beyond the "how we did it well at our library" approach, the authors provide a framework for planning and assessment in clear and concise chapters. To move beyond thinking solely in outputs, the authors outline a five-step approach. They clearly convey that "no matter how many books, computers or chairs a library owns, they have little value unless they are used to effect positive change in the community" (32).

The authors organize their process around the following five phases of outcome-based planning: (1) gathering information, (2) determining outcomes, (3) developing programs and services, (4) conducting evaluations, and (5) leveraging the library's role. The process is accessible and applicable to public libraries of any size. Four appendices provide ready charts and questions to assist a novice through the process.

The primary example used throughout the book is a program to help remedial students comprehend their math homework better. …

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