Close reading IX: The reader-friendly library service

Open book

Image shared on Pixabay with a Creative Commons public domain licence

Chapter nine: Evaluating reader-centred work

There is a lot of useful information in this chapter about evaluating programmes in general. Points that particularly resonated are:

  • if something isn’t working, we need to understand why not in order to plan a different course of action
  • be clear from the start who the evaluation is for (users / staff / managers / stakeholders)
  • to learn immediate lessons, evaluate straight away; to evaluate long-term impact, wait six months
  • questionnaires will be filled in by a self-selected group, those who feel strongly and more likely to respond
  • encourage participants to reflect on their own experience for a more useful evaluation (what was most useful? was the content pitched right? is there more you want to learn as a result?)

And perhaps the most important point (from page 309):

Whatever the tools you use, there will be no point to the evaluation unless you summarise what you have learned and plan to take action. Not acting on the results of evaluation is the single biggest cause of the cynicism which an evaluation process often generates.

Actions arising from this chapter:

  • summarise the feedback from our last Central region PD day!


Riel, R. V., Fowler, O., & Downes, A. (2008). The reader-friendly library service. Newcastle upon Tyne: Society of Chief Librarians.


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