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Creating a Culture of Meaningful Evaluation in Public Libraries: Moving Beyond Quantitative Metrics
SAGE Open (2014)
  • Bill Irwin
  • Paul G. St-Pierre, Western University
The current state of practice sees public libraries, like all public institutions, enduring funding challenges within the dominant political-economic environment, which is shaped by the tenets of new public management and the neoliberal audit society. Libraries, feeling threatened and unsure about their future stability, seek new ways to demonstrate their value. However, they face institutional cultural constraints when attempting to introduce new assessment methods to meet this challenge. The new dynamics require them to go beyond output measures (counts). With research findings supported by survey and interview data from Ontario public libraries, and in agreement with the current literature on the subject, we propose a new model to address this phenomenon, serving two purposes: demonstrating a library’s present state of cultural readiness to introduce new systems of outcome assessment and charting a path toward creating a culture of meaningful evaluation.
  • Libraries,
  • Organizational Behavior,
  • Organizational Change,
  • Public Administration and Nonprofit Management
Publication Date
December 3, 2014
Publisher Statement
Creative Commons CC BY: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License ( which permits any use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access page (
Citation Information
Bill Irwin and Paul G. St-Pierre. "Creating a Culture of Meaningful Evaluation in Public Libraries: Moving Beyond Quantitative Metrics" SAGE Open Vol. October-December 2014 (2014)
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