Charge and Work
Review, analyze, and recommend measures, techniques, and data-related activities that will help strengthen and advance the public library field in providing services and programs to its patrons as well as communicating the value of libraries to internal and external audiences. Identify new data trends and determine their applicability to articulating the value of public libraries. The committee will also be responsible for reviewing existing PLA data products and services, including Benchmark and Project Outcome, and recommending updates, revisions, etc.
Please note: Effective July 2024, the Measurement, Evaluation and Assessment Committee will transition from a committee to an advisory group. The PLA Board approved this change in Fall 2023 to ensure standing committees remain aligned with the current PLA Strategic Plan, while advisory groups continue to support work that is critical to serving the public library field.
Deliverables and outcomes:
- Review data and usage statistics of existing PLA data products and services, including the annual topical surveys, Benchmark, and Project Outcome
- Research and identify data trends and determine their applicability to advocating public library value
- Increase the number of public libraries participating in the annual surveys by recommending changes and making improvements to the overall process
- Increase the number of libraries measuring outcomes by determining changes or additions to the Project Outcome website or the standardized outcome measures
- Increase PLA’s ability to support public libraries in collecting, analyzing and using data to increase their impact by making recommendations for product improvements, programming, and professional development
- Support collaboration between PLA and key stakeholders in public library measurement and evaluation, including but not limited to the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and Chief Officers of State Library Agencies (COSLA)
Expected time commitment:
- Attend ALA Annual Conference for an in-person committee meeting (4-8 hours/year plus travel time)
- Attend virtual meetings for full-committee and sub-committees (10-12 hours/year)
- Review and respond to emails and ALA Connect messages (10-12 hours/year)
Desired skills, knowledge, or experience:
- Experience collecting, analyzing and working with different kinds of library data
- Familiarity with research and evaluation methods
- Familiarity with PLA data products and services, including Benchmark and Project Outcome
- Skills interpreting and using data for decision making and advocacy
- Ability to represent the public library field and advocate for their data needs
- Bilingual language skills or experience working directly with ESL or low-literacy populations
Recommended committee composition (out of a maximum of 15 members):
- Representation from libraries of different locale types and sizes, including at least one from a town/rural library, a suburban library, and a city library
- One representative who is a current state data coordinator
- One member leader from a state library, designated by COSLA
- An advisory, non-voting member representing the Office of Research and Evaluation at the Institute of Museum and Library Services
- At least one member with expertise in statistical methods and survey design
Displaying active committee roster as of 03/03/2024. Last retrieved on 03/03/2024. Members can log in and refresh the page to view full contact information for committee members.
Consists of a minimum of 10 members and up to 15 members appointed by the PLA Board President and led by a chair.
Created by action of the PLA Board of Directors June 2017, to serve the evolving data needs of the profession. Supersedes both the Performance Measurement Task Force (PMTF) and the Public Library Data Service (PLDS) Statistical Report Advisory Committee.
To be a thriving, vibrant organization, PLA must have committed and active committee members. If you are interested in serving on a committee, please read and fill out the online volunteer form.
- Volunteers are accepted on an ongoing basis.
- Appointments are made by the PLA President and President-Elect, primarily in the spring.
- Volunteers must be members of ALA and PLA.
Join the PLA Data and Measurement Interest Group on ALA Connect to stay up-to-date on these topics and connect with peers on similar issues. PLA personal membership is required to join.