For immediate release | October 1, 2013

Getting started with evaluation

CHICAGO — Everyone agrees that evaluation of library services is essential, but without a background in research it can be a challenge to apply abstract concepts such as strategic planning, evidence-based decision making and accountability to real-world situations. With the publication of “Getting Started with Evaluation,” published by ALA Editions, managers at academic and public libraries, as well as library trustees and others interested in assessing service quality, finally have a workbook to help them master key concepts of such assessment. Authors Peter Hernon, Robert E. Dugan and Joseph R. Matthews offer directed exercises and worksheets for guidance alongside a detailed list of sources for metrics and concrete examples of evaluation in practice. Firmly rooted in practical application, this book:

  • presents an overview of evaluation and the types of metrics, linking them to strategic planning and infrastructure;
  • examines qualitative versus quantitative measures;
  • shows how to decide which metrics are relevant to one’s own institution, covering benchmarking, best practices, peer group filters and metrics that offer a high return on investment;
  • includes pointers for launching and maintaining successful library evaluation through flexibility and smart delegation among library staff;
  • offers advice on marshaling data to effectively communicate the value and impact of a library and its services, no matter the audience.

Hernon is a professor at Simmons College (Graduate School of Library and Information Science, Boston) and the principal faculty member for the doctoral program, Managerial Leadership in the Information Professions. He was the 2008 recipient of the Association of College and Research Libraries’ award for Academic/Research Librarian of the Year, is the co-editor of Library & Information Science Research and has taught, conducted workshops and delivered addresses internationally. He is the author or coauthor of 55 books, including the award-winning “Federal Information Policies in the 1980s,” “Assessing Service Quality” and “Viewing Library Metrics from Different Perspectives.”

Dugan is the dean of libraries at the University of West Florida (Pensacola, Fla.). He has also worked in state and public libraries during his nearly 40-year career. He is the coauthor of 11 books, including “Viewing Library Metrics from Different Perspectives.”

Matthews is a consultant specializing in strategic planning, assessment, evaluation of library services, customer service, use of performance metrics and the balanced scorecard. He is the author of several books, includingThe Customer-Focused Library,” “Strategic Planning and Management for Managers,” and “Measuring for Results”; and the co-editor (with Peter Hernon) of “Reflecting on the Future of Academic and Public Libraries,” and other books.

ALA Store purchases fund advocacy, awareness and accreditation programs for library professionals worldwide. ALA Editions publishes resources used worldwide by tens of thousands of library and information professionals to improve programs, build on best practices, develop leadership, and for personal professional development. ALA authors and developers are leaders in their fields, and their content is published in a growing range of print and electronic formats. Contact ALA Editions at (800) 545-2433 ext. 5418 or

Related Links

"Getting Started with Evaluation"

"Assessing Service Quality: Satisfying the Expectations of Library Customers, Second Edition"

"Build a Great Team: One Year to Success"


Rob Christopher

Marketing Coordinator

American Library Association

ALA Editions