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Theory

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In our project, we see the following chain of cause and effect (Fig 1). Libraries get input (funding, human resources, space etc.) and produces output (loans, visits, information literacy teaching etc.). Value of outputs depends on their quality and efficiency of functions. Outcomes and impact is what comes from outputs (the quality of life, better literacy, better science etc.). The high quality of output makes it possible to achieve desired impact in society. Therefore libraries need multifaceted tools for measuring quality.

Connections between input, output, outcome and impact.

Input and output are processes inside the library, outcome and impact can be seen in the society as a result of them. Turning of any of the cogs affects all the others. E.g., change in input causes change in output, outcome and impact. To get the desired impact, one must define the number and quality of the needed outputs and outcome. Inputs must be adapted to produce the needed output and outcome. Quality is the “oil” that makes the cogs turn more effectively.

Sources and literature

  • ACRL Value of Academic Libraries http://www.acrl.ala.org/value/
  • Kiviniemi, V., Laitinen, M. & Saarti, J. (2009): Are Libraries' Worth Investing in?: Finnish University Libraries and their Effect on the National Economy. Liber Quarterly. (19:1). http://liber.library.uu.nl/
  • Cox, B. & Jantti, M. 2012: Discovering the Impact of Library Use and Student Performance
  • Laitinen, M. & Saarti, J. (2012): A model for a library-management toolbox. Data warehousing as a tool for filtering and analyzing statistical information from multiple sources. Library Management (33) 4/5, 2012, pp. 253-260.
  • Ministry of Education, Structural development of higher education project (2009): Opetuksen ja tutkimuksen toimintaympäristö 2020. Korkeakoulukirjastojen rakenteellinen kehittäminen digitaaliseksi palveluverkoksi. Opetusministeriön työryhmämuistioita ja selvityksiä 2009:26. (Teaching and research environment 2020. University and polytechnic libraries into a digital service network. Reports of the Ministry of Education, Finland 2009:26.) Available in Finnish at: http://www.minedu.fi/export/sites/default/OPM/Julkaisut/2009/liitteet/tr26.pdf
  • Seppänen, A.-P. & Laitinen, M. (2011): Libraries do make a difference. Common principles in showing the impact of different types of libraries. Presented in QQML2011 Congress in Athens Greece 24.-27 May 2011
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