"The love in the room": Evaluating the National Year of Reading in an Australian public library
Keywords:impact measurement, evaluation, public libraries, national year of reading, value
AbstractThis study was influenced by research into the impact of the UK National Year of Reading in 2008 using the Generic Social Outcome Framework from the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council. In 2012 a National Year of Reading was held in Australia which offered another opportunity to investigate the nature of impact. While formal evaluation processes were put into place at the national level, our study was a small-scale qualitative research project which considered the evaluation of impact related to National Year of Reading activities at one urban public library service. Data collected included focus group interviews with library staff, as well as desk data from the library service. The findings suggest that it is necessary to give due consideration to impact measures and collection of appropriate data at the planning stages in order to evaluate impact effectively. Measuring impact is much more difficult but ultimately more worthwhile than that of measuring output. The evaluation of impact is an important tool in strategic planning and advocacy and new ways of measurement need to be incorporated into planning and management.
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