What's Good: Describing Your Public Library's Effectiveness

What's Good: Describing Your Public Library's Effectiveness

by Thomas A. Childers, Nancy A. Van House

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal - Library Journal
What the public library should be and whom it should serve have been troublesome questions for librarians. Unlike libraries attached to academic institutions or organizations, the mission of the public library has never been certain. If public librarians can't agree on what they should be, how is success measured? Since the mid-1960s, library associations have attempted to help libraries answer these questions through numerous publications. These two new books represent the latest efforts in defining what the public library is and how to measure its success. Their purpose is to help librarians become more effective managers and politicians. The Public Library Effectiveness Study reports on an empirical study of how public library constituents view public library effectiveness. It can be used to develop indicators of success and measure them. What's Good defines effectiveness as achieving success in providing the expected benefits that the community demands from the library. It features a model called AMPLE (A Model of Public Library Effectiveness) that may be used by libraries to review their programs, develop a program of assessment, and create a strategy for communicating what the library is to patrons. These two volumes are much more rigorous and theoretical than previous efforts in the field, and many readers will miss the ``cookbook'' approach to planning available in earlier works. Still, the study and application of the concepts developed in these two books should help local libraries hone their programs to meet the wants and needs of their many constituents. Recommended for all public libraries.-- William Sannwald, San Diego P.L.

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American Library Association
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