For immediate release | January 21, 2016

Five steps of outcome-based planning and evaluation for public libraries

CHICAGO— Planning and assessment are both crucial elements of a public library that functions efficiently and flexibly. So why are they often treated separately? “Five Steps of Outcome-Based Planning and Evaluation for Public Libraries,” published by ALA Editions, combines planning and evaluation in a holistic approach, helping public library managers and staff put library resources to work for the community. Based on a series of successful workshops, the workflow presented by authors Melissa Gross, Cindy Mediavilla, and Virginia A. Walter is made up of manageable steps for integrating outcome-based planning and evaluation (OBPE) into the routine functions of the public library. Offering step by step guidance that’s transparent and easy to follow, this book

  • introduces the concept of OBPE and explains how it can be a streamlined, effective method of getting library users’ feedback;
  • defines “outcomes” and shows why public libraries should use them to plan and evaluate services;
  • shares methodologies for assessing community needs and interests, including key informant interviews, surveys, focus groups, and environmental scans;
  • demonstrates how to use community assessment data to create outcome statements that not only guide the creation of new library services, but also provide targets for measuring the effectiveness of those services;
  • offers techniques for designing services that directly serve the community while also achieving the outcomes the library has targeted; and
  • provides tips for sharing the results with stakeholders and maximizing successful outcome-based programs to leverage the library’s role in the community.

Gross is professor and doctoral program chair in the School of Information Studies at Florida State University and past president of the Association for Library and Information Science Education. She was awarded the prestigious American Association of University Women Recognition Award for Emerging Scholars in 2001. Mediavilla is a lecturer for the UCLA Department of Information Studies. She is also a freelance consultant who has evaluated and managed several grant-funded projects for public libraries throughout southern California, and the author of “Creating the Full-Service Homework Center in Your Library.” Walter has retired from her work as a full-time tenured professor at the UCLA Department of Information Studies. However, she continues to teach classes and advise students at UCLA and is an active library consultant and trainer. The author of many journal articles, nine monographs, and two books for young people, she is a past president of the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC).

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 us at (800) 545-2433 ext. 5052 or

Related Links

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

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

"Checklist of Library Building Design Considerations, Sixth Edition"


Rob Christopher

Marketing Coordinator

American Library Association

ALA Publishing