Practical Evaluation Techniques for Librarians
by Rachel Applegate
August 2013, 232pp, 8 1/2 x 11
1 volume, Libraries Unlimited

Paperback: 978-1-61069-159-8
$55, £43, 48€, A76
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eBook Available: 978-1-61069-160-4
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Evaluation is essential to library management: it provides the data that underlies informed and effective decision-making. This book is a one-volume, how-to guide to library evaluation techniques, planning, and reporting.

Library professionals—regardless of whether they operate in a school, public, or academic library setting—need to have effective evaluation skills in order to be accountable to stakeholders and to effect informed improvement. Practical Evaluation Techniques for Librarians provides information and guidance that is highly useful and accessible for all librarians looking to intelligently manage the strengths and weaknesses of their library as well as communicate its value to its stakeholders.

Rather than focusing on data-gathering methods appropriate for researchers, the book concentrates on data collection at the local level that enables informed managerial decision-making. It describes and compares techniques that can be used with any level or type of resource—staffing, software, and expertise, for example—in any size library. Author Rachel Applegate makes it clear that accountability is everywhere and imperative, and any librarian can learn the simple techniques to benefit from evaluation.


  • Provides specific directions for writing surveys, conducting interviews, and performing a wide range of evaluation techniques, accompanied by examples to follow
  • Covers the evaluation of library's electronic and physical collections, face-to-face and virtual service, and facilities
  • Supplies a framework and specific tools for proving your library's value and improving how it operates
  • Lays out a clear methodology for quantifying and demonstrating progress towards an objective: measure, analyze, and report
Rachel Applegate, MLS, PhD, is associate professor of library and information science at Indiana University, Indianapolis, IN. She has taught evaluation techniques, directed the Shaping Outcomes online tutorial in outcomes-based evaluation, and served as an evaluator for projects of the American Library Association, the Public Library Association, and local public libraries. Applegate was an academic librarian and is author of Managing the Small College Library.


"This insightful manual discusses how to evaluate and assess information using different techniques such as surveys and focus groups. . . . A useful guide for gathering practical information."—School Library Journal, February 4, 2014

"This book can be used as a reference, as a guide, or as a text to help librarians, administrators, and future librarians and administrators evaluate libraries for managerial decision making and research purposes. This book is also of use as a guide for graduate students in library and information science who are seeking to perform evaluation studies on libraries."—ARBA, October 1, 2013
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