Evaluating information services in public libraries: a holistic approach

Library evaluations are generally based on a quantitative approach, looking at the number of items in the collection, loans, active readers, and so on. Such figures are certainly useful, but they provide a simplistic and slanted analysis of public library services, particularly overlooking their role as providers of services for the local community. The authors, based in Scotland, argue that the main priority for public libraries should not be to find out what resources the users consult or borrow, but rather how consulting and borrowing resources has contributed to their personal and social development. They thus propose a holistic approach to evaluation, drawing on both quantitative and qualitative methods.