assess

Benchmarks, from PLA's perspective

Earlier this year, the Public Library Association joined 12 other organizations to develop public access technology benchmarks. The group is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; the Urban Libraries Council is serving as the facilitating organization. Members of the group have been working very hard examining the history and roles of benchmarking and thinking about what sort of common, measurable services libraries offer. The purpose of the benchmarks is to develop a tool that libraries can use to quantify their public access services and to give libraries a common language in talking about these services to local decision makers.

Benchmarks could be the trick to getting the support we need

I have to be honest, when I first heard about the Benchmark project I was a little circumspect. In my experience, most people don’t even know what the definition of a “benchmark” really is and it is often misconstrued as a goal or an objective. While benchmarks do work with goals and objectives, and even, *said in a whisper* strategic plans, they are by definition different. A benchmark is an industry standard or point of reference against which things may be compared or assessed. For example, a company wishing to improve would look to another company that is setting the industry standard in terms of development, quality, or service, and use that company’s success as a benchmark for setting their own goals.

Working a framework: benchmarks are a process.

Along with TechSoup, the ALA Office for Technology Information Policy (OITP) is one of the thirteen organizations working to develop a beta set of national public access technology benchmarks for public libraries. We’d like to thank Sarah for the opportunity to introduce ourselves and share some of our thoughts and experiences from working on this project.

Those dreaded benchmarks: a rural librarian's perspective

Benchmarks. These are words of foreboding for this rural librarian. Great. On top of non-existent funding now the library is going to have to live up to some Queens Library-quality technological advancements.

Utopian Benchmarks are not the Goal

When I was first invited to be a representative of public library directors in the Public Access Technology Benchmarks Initiative (joining the consortium of 13 organizations including TechSoup Global, ALA, PLA and the Urban Libraries Council), I was reluctant.

January is a time for measurement

After just returning from a long winter's break--two weeks!--I've spent much of my day reading through email. What a joy to receive and share the following checklist from Carolyn Peterson at the Washington State Library. She shared, "January is a time for measurement: to determine how far the library has come and the distance it has yet to cover." Read it over, and consider the policies and programs your library offers.

Does your library have a: