Research-Based Planning for Public Libraries
Increasing Relevance in the Digital Age
by Joseph R. Matthews
October 2013, 207pp, 6 1/8x9 1/4
1 volume, Libraries Unlimited

Paperback: 978-1-61069-007-2
$55, £43, 48€, A76
eBook Available: 978-1-61069-008-9
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

Today’s library must be more than a structure housing a collection and waiting for customers to appear. There are simply too many competitors that patrons may find more convenient for locating information and leisure activities. In order to gain a competitive edge that makes public libraries resonate within its community, today’s library staff must rethink the way they provide services and access to their collections.

This book will help public library administrators, managers, and board members to better plan, strategize, and understand their communities, enabling public libraries to become dynamic, proactive institutions.

Research-Based Planning for Public Libraries: Increasing Relevance in the Digital Age takes readers through a logical and effective process for developing a plan and implementing it within the various functions of the library. Grounded in research and best practices, the book offers practical, easy-to-implement advice and direction for today’s public library administrators, managers, and board members.

Covering everything from goal-setting, policy-making, and budgeting, to collections, promotions, and access and evaluation, the book details how to better provide and promote access, convey its value to customers, and make the library a more integral part of the community. The author inspires library staff and administrators to reinvent themselves to meet—and overcome—the current challenges they face. The information is specifically tailored towards public librarians, particularly those in management or administration, as well as to LIS faculty and students of public librarianship and library management.


  • Presents a game plan to help public libraries become dynamic, pro-active institutions through well-researched and optimized planning and strategizing
  • Offers practical, easy-to-implement advice
  • Provides information grounded in current research
Joseph R. Matthews is a consultant who has assisted numerous academic, public, and special libraries in a wide variety of projects. He was an instructor at the San Jose State University School of Library and Information Science. His published works include The Evaluation and Measurement of Library Services; Library Assessment in Higher Education; and Measuring for Results: The Dimensions of Public Library Effectiveness.


"Public library administrators and leaders of access services will benefit from this volume, as will students of access services. Those working in access services in other types of libraries may also benefit from this volume."—ARBA, December 1, 2013

"[M]ost useful to directors of libraries who are able to make some of the sweeping changes that Matthews suggests. . . . [R]eaders can take away a lot of statistics and references from the sizable resource list at the back of the book and start to develop their own small-scale versions of the ideas."—Library Quarterly, July 13, 2016
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