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Evaluate programs and services on specified criteria

Competency N

Librarians and information professionals gather information resources for the user groups they serve. There is so much information to select from that librarians must constantly evaluate materials for inclusion in the collection. They must also be able to determine if the programs they provide are serving the community in the way they intended.

Evaluation is an important skill for librarians. Administrators and other stakeholders must have information in order to determine if the library is meeting its goals and servicing its community effectively. Before they can evaluate anything, librarians must be able to establish their goals. This can include trying to reach a particular user group, increasing overall circulation, improving user services or other goals. Also they must establish how they intend on determining if the goal has been met. "One important benefit of having the goals defined and the criteria for the values established ahead of time is that interpretation of the results is much easier. It may also help to minimize differences of opinion about the results" (Evans, p. 314). Once they have determined their goals and the criteria for evaluating the goal, they can begin collecting information.

Public libraries often use output measures to evaluate the success of their collections and services. Output measures include per capita measurements, which are "an attempt to determine uses per person among the potential user community" (Rubin, p. 52). They look at circulation numbers compared to the number of people in the area. Other measures of evaluation can include:


  • Checking the collection against established title lists

  • Collecting usage statistics on holds, reference usage, computer usage etc.

  • Checking against collection standards

  • Circulation statistics, including shelving statistics, ILL usage, and hold requests

  • Surveys, including evaluation of programs

  • Use of electronic resources

Evaluation is the final stage in any library development. Whether the librarian builds a new collection, puts together special programs, or provides a new type of service, evaluation allows librarians to determine how successful their program was in servicing the needs of the community and may provide information on how to improve this service in the future.


Evaluating a Library Collection: Public Library Photography Collection – LIBR 266 – Summer 2007
In this paper, also created in LIBR 266, I evaluate the current photography collection at a local public library. It required consideration of the user group, and then examined the collection in terms of its scope, currency of information, appropriateness of materials, circulation and usage, the physical condition of the materials, their monetary value, collection maintenance, and popularity of the collection, with recommendations for improvements.

Evaluation of Dance on Camera: A guide to dance films and videos – LIBR 220 - Spring 2006
In this assignment for LIBR 220, Resources and Information Services in Professions and Disciplines (Focus on Visual and Performing Arts), I was asked to evaluate the title Dance on camera: A guide to dance films and videos for use as a reference source. Here I document the source of the material, including author and publisher, to determine if they are reputable, as well as the scope of the material covered by the source to see whether it is comprehensive and how often it is updated. I also evaluate the book in terms of what kind of audience might find this useful.


Evans, G. E. & Zarnosky, N. R. (2005). Developing library and information center collections. Westport, CT: Libraries Unlimited.

Rubin, R. (2000). Foundations of library and information science. New York, NY: Neal-Schuman Publishers, Inc.

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