It’s an exciting time for public libraries in Scotland as we take important steps towards recognising and communicating our impact and value to society, with the help of a timely quality assurance tool!
The Public Library Quality Improvement Matrix (PLQIM) was introduced by the Scottish Library and Information Council in 2007 to “provide a robust method for defining standards, developing evaluation criteria and a planning tool to ensure services meet public demand” (PLQIM, 2007). It was adopted to measure the impact of eight projects awarded funding from the Scottish Executive’s Public Library Quality Improvement Fund (PLQIF) in 2006-2007 (full report available here). The methodology incorporates a combination of quantitative and qualitative measures and highlights the importance of acknowledging the often overlooked social value of public library services by measuring outcomes alongside outputs.
The results of an evaluation that I carried out during a student placement with Liz McGettigan at East Renfrewshire Library and Information Service during their Look at Libraries Festival are also included in the report, which adds to the excitement for me! I’m referred to as ‘a placement student’ on p.79 of the report – fame at last, well sort of . If anyone’s interested in a more in-depth analysis of this project then check out this paper. (You’ll need your Athens password to access it).
The results of Scotland’s first PLQIM are thought provoking and inspiring and I’d recommend setting aside enough time to read the full report to get a flavour of the potential impact and social value of public library services in Scotland.