Follett Report

Annex C Performance Indicators

Proposed Framework

The framework discussed in chapter four could be developed ased on the following principles which are largely taken from work arried out by SCONUL and COPOL.
Integration - how far library objectives are linked to institutional bjectives. Particular factors would be: what evidence is there to show he effective integration of the library service into the teaching, earning and research planning and review system, so that feedback s transmitted between departments and the library in both directions? oes actual feedback occur in planning and delivery? This will largely e a judgemental, rather than a numerical indicator. Some relevant indicators however - such as the scale of borrowing by users - can ontain numerical elements.
User Satisfaction - what evidence is there to show that users are satisfied with library support for their courses and research, in particular in relation to the supply of book, periodical and other media, study facilities, and information services and information skills tuition
Effectiveness - this relates outputs to service targets. These can be output measures and service standards. They could cover availability of he time taken to process new accessions, reservations and recalls, inter-library loans, appropriateness of output (eg enquiry responses). Although there can be numerical components for this (eg documents supplied per FTE), it would be possible to aggregate them in a non-numeric measure. The assessment of information support for researchers depends critically on this indicator, and this would have to be more judgemental, since targets are more difficult to establish numerically.
Efficiency and value for money - this links inputs to outputs to indicate value for money. The essential question is: taking account of the level of input, is the quantity and range of output high? Such measures could include loans, number of enquiries, photocopying volume, all in relation to costs. Wherever possible, identified costs should be used, with total costs only being used as a backstop. Libraries have multiple outputs, which raises the problem of using one as a proxy or trying to add different kinds of outputs.
Economy - this relates inputs to clientele, such as overall library costs per FTE, staff and/or operating costs per FTE student, or per academic staff, etc. A similar ratio for acquisitions or information inputs can also give an indication of comparative levels of provision. These are numeric measures, but the significance of high or low figures may vary for different types of institution. Essentially, this figure should be seen as a control against the others: the framework allows this concept to be placed in context. It is also critically important that the indicators used are consistent and accurate with no variation of definition across all institutions considered.
It should be noted that the framework is not meant to imply that particular indicators are better than others. The framework allows institutions to choose appropriate indicators for their circumstances and to decide what is good or bad in that context.

Activity Groupings

Performance indicators require not only a common set of statistics, but also some grouping of library activities. These may differ between institutions because of their different activities and aims, but they may be grouped together for performance indicator purposes. They might include:
Provision of stock - acquisitions, cataloguing and classification.
Public services - circulation, shelving, ILL, photocopying.
Information services - Enquiry desk, information retrieval, user education.
Study facilities - study places, audio-visual and other facilities.
Other facilities - binding and conservation, special collections, photographic and media services.
Management activities - Policy making, liaison with users, staff management, staff development.

External Presentation

The combination of numeric and non numeric indicators presents difficulties. At the highest level, a 5-point scale (Outstanding, Good, Satisfactory, Shortcomings, and Poor) could be adopted to give an overall indicator of performance.
At the more detailed levels, a small number of indicators would be regularly presented (some annually, others at slightly longer intervals) using some standard indicators, such as the proportion of institutional expenditure devoted to the library, but primarily using the framework described above. In order to provide a common framework for user input, the user satisfaction survey outlined in Nancy Van House, and others, Measuring Academic Library Performance: proach, (American Library Association, 1990), could be adopted (suitably amended if necessary). This could not be undertaken annually, but might be carried out at longer intervals. Individual institutions might also wish to add specific indicators relating to their own circumstances: a library with space problems might, for example, usefully add indicators relating to occupied and empty shelving, or occupancy data.

Internal Library Management

Indicators could be used by different staff at a number of levels. These would make the fullest use of a matrix of the principles and the activities/groupings above. The specific indicators used would vary to accommodate the needs of the individual institutions. There could be a significantly higher number of indicators for internal purposes than for external presentation. The framework however remains constant, so that the smaller group of indicators can be seen in the context of the larger, and can be produced if required.

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