PLA receives grant to further develop performance measures for libraries

For Immediate Release
Tue, 11/18/2014

Contact:

Kara O'Keefe

Manager, Membership Marketing

PLA

312-280-5027

kokeefe@ala.org

CHICAGO — The Public Library Association (PLA), a division of the American Library Association,  has been awarded a grant of $2.9 million from the Global Libraries Program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for the development of performance outcome measures.

This grant will enable PLA to accelerate development of its Performance Measurement project and build an active community of informed users.  This project will develop simple surveys libraries can use to collect patron outcomes. Related training and support tools will guide libraries in using outcome data for advocacy, planning and decision-making. By collecting outcomes, participating libraries will be able to demonstrate the real difference they make in the lives of patrons and the vital role they play in healthy communities.

Building on the work of the Presidential Task Force on Performance Measurement (PMTF), established in 2013 and charged with “develop(ing) standardized measures of effectiveness for widely-offered public library programs and promot(ing) the training for implementation and use of the measures across public libraries”, this project aspires to drive a widespread shift in the field towards consistent collection of outcomes data. After conducting an environmental scan and surveying the field, the PMTF identified core services areas to address: Digital Inclusion; Civic/Community Engagement; Early Childhood Literacy; Economic Development; Job Skills/Workforce Development; Summer Reading; and Education/Lifelong Learning.  In 2015, an expanding number of libraries will be invited to participate in testing the next generation of survey tools.

Carolyn Anthony, PLA past-president who established the PMTF, states “The rewards for collecting outcomes are immediate: for staff members who will see the value in the outcomes for people served, for managers who have a tool for continuous innovation and improvement, and for the library that can clearly demonstrate to budget-conscious civic leaders the real value it is delivering to the community.”

For more information, please contact PLA at 1 (800) 545-2433, ext.5PLA, or pla@ala.org.

The Public Library Association (PLA) is a division of the American Library Association. PLA’s core purpose is to strengthen public libraries and their contribution to the communities they serve. Its mission is to enhance the development and effectiveness of public library staff and public library services.