Performance measures are essential management tools in organisations, and key performance indicators (KPIs) help measure the quality of services, meet strategic objectives and assess the impact and effectiveness of services (Dalton, 2012). Booth, provides a simple overview of quality and its related terminology (performance indicators, benchmarking and accreditation). Performance measures can include input/output based metrics or numbers such as usage statistics or other operational measures.
An international standard, ISO16439: Methods and procedures for assessing the impact of libraries is available and aims to provide clarity and consistency in relation to all aspects of library assessment. Some of the definitions within the standard have been incorporated in this toolkit
The LQAF is a tool to enable the quality assessment of NHS libraries. It was designed by Task and Finish group consisting of LKS Leads and library/knowledge service managers and aims to enable an organisation to assess its level of compliance to national standards and demonstrate that NHS libraries and knowledge services are fit for purpose within the current health care system. Standards are set in 5 domains: strategic management, finance and service level agreeements, human resources and staff management, infrastructure and facilities and library and knowledge service development and delivery.
An overview of performance indicators is provided by Dalton, 2012, who developed a set of measures for Irish hospital libraries. This comprised 5 indicators: influence on patient care or guiding clinical practice/policy; length of hospital stay; referral to another department; staff time; risk/error reduction.
According to SCONUL, key performance indicators (KPI) are financial and non financial metrics used to quantify objectives and reflect the strategic performance of an organisation. Sconul are collecting data on KPI for UK academic libraries.
For academic libraries the US ACRL provides a range of standards which outline what is expected of an excellent academic library service. This covers a wide range, including standards for information literacy.
Another method of monitoring performance is the balanced scorecard; a strategic planning and management system that combines financial and non financial metrics to provide a “balanced” overview of performance.
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