Library performance evaluation, measurement and audit

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1. Introduction

Libraries and Information Centre is a service organization, which requires constant transformation in order to exist in the fast changing world today. Presently the library professionals are very keen in assessing the library, its components, processes, services and their performance at regular intervals to make sure that the library meets its objective and satisfying their users with needed information in time. Libraries assess their services with a vast amount of information collected on numerical data on expenditure, documents added and journals subscribed, documents issued etc. They assess their effectiveness to meet the document and information requirements of the users. Libraries evaluate their operations and services and compare the results with stipulated standards to see whether their works and services are up-to a desire level. It was also made certain whether the users were satisfied with the library resources and services as a means for assessing the quality of library resources and services.

Libraries, even in the past, evaluated or measured the quality of their operations and services, in one-way or the others, based on quantitative data. But they did not measure the quality aspects like the role of friendliness of staff or attractiveness of building and furniture or cleanliness of library premises, or accessibility etc. in using the library effectively. Now library professional find themselves in a situation where they cannot just be satisfied with the traditional way of evaluating or measuring books and journals, its loan, use etc., but they also have to evaluate and assess their target users, their needs, interests and tastes, the perception of service quality etc. (Bavakutty & Majeed, 2005)Library Performence

Greater attention to evaluation, performance, measurement, and audit in libraries and information center is needed today mainly because of growing demand for greater accountability in university libraries. Wallace & Van Fleet (2001) and others have noted that there are a growing number of reasons why it is essential for librarians and other information professionals to evaluate their organizations’ operations, resources, and services. Among those reasons are the needs for organizations to – i) account for how they use their limited resources ii) explain what they do iii) enhance their visibility iv) describe their impact v) increase efficiency vi) avoid errors vii) support planning activities viii) express concern for their public ix) support decision making and x) strengthen their political position. (Powell, 2006)

For this study library evaluation, performance evaluation, performance measurement, performance audit and how these terms are related among themselves have been discussed. How these evaluation techniques have been applied in the field of library and information science to give better services to its users with the minimum economy and highest efficiency and effectiveness.

2. Library Evaluation:

Every organization is aimed to attain its objectives efficiently, effectively, economically and timely. Evaluation is the process through which it is testified that whether the objectives are achieved and if so, to what extent. It also testifies whether the resources spent have properly resulted in the attainment of the desired objectives. The changing needs of library management necessitate the library evaluation and enhanced possibilities of analysis. There is a culture of evaluation exists in libraries, but the methods of evaluation used are different. Evaluation of library and information services is an integral part of good library management. It is necessary to convince the funders and users that the service is delivering the expected benefits. It is an internal control mechanism to ensure that the resources are effectively and efficiently used.

Evaluation is a judgment of worth, assessing the value of the organization to the people for whom it is meant. It assesses the performance against users’ expectations, or it is  the testing of an organization or system for effectiveness and efficiency. Lancaster (1977) suggested three levels of library evaluation, namely measurement of effectiveness, cost-effectiveness, and cost-benefit. Similarly, Vickery & Vickery (1987) have suggested the evaluation of the effectiveness of economic efficiency and value of system and Moore (1989) evaluated the library in three levels, namely efficiency, performance, and effectiveness.

Alemna (1999) discussed library evaluation methods might be either subjective or objective. Subjective method is based on user opinions or attitudes. Questionnaire or interview method is used here to collect user opinions to measure the effectiveness of a library. It is assumed that user evaluations are the valid indicators of library performance.

The evaluation of a library will show how far the library objectives are met through the physical facilities, collection, information, and services offered to the users. Evaluation or measurement of library effectiveness is a complex issue, as there are no universally accepted measures, measuring units or methods for this study. There is little agreement about what is to be measured. It is necessary to find out things, processes, and phenomena that are measurable and where the measures would be valid indicators of effectiveness and benefits. (Bavakutty & Majeed, 2005, p.101-102)

3. Library Performance Evaluation:

Evaluation of the performance of library and information systems is one of the major concerns and an integral part of the library and information systems manager’s job. It is widely recognized as an important issue, although it has been looked at or defined variously. For example, Cronin, (1982) writes that it is “a process of systematically assessing effectiveness against a predetermined norm, standard…”; or according to Mackenzie (1990), “a systematic measurement of the extent to which a system (for example a library) has achieved its objectives in a certain period of time”. It is also described as a systematic process of determining “value” (regarding benefit gained) and “quality” (as reflected in customer satisfaction) of a system (McKee 1989, p. 156). But fundamentally evaluation remains to compare “what is” with “what ought to be”to exercise judgment (Van House et. al.1990, p. 3). The process of evaluation of performance can focus on the whole of a system or the components of a system (such as the individual services of a library and information system) as the assessment needed could be at any level of a given library and information system.

Performance evaluation can also be a one-time-only activity where data are collected only until an intelligent appraisal of a situation can be made”, or “a continuous activity where data processing eventually becomes an established housekeeping routine” (Cronin 1982) by which continuous and long-term improvements effected.

Not only do library and information systems’ administrators benefit from and require performance evaluation data but also others such as “governing bodies, library staff members, patrons, accrediting agencies …” (Lancaster 1977) And external funding agencies (Cullen 1998), to name a few. Cognizant of the benefits and necessities of having evaluative data, performance evaluation has become a mainstream exercise in all service giving institutions like libraries in many countries of the world (McKee 1989, p. 156: Baba and Broady, 1998).

4. Library Performance Measurement:

In recent years interest in performance measurement has been intense, and a variety of studies have been published on both sides of the Atlantic. The reasons for this interest are not hard to find: pressure on resources has led to an ever-more intensive search for the efficiency of operation, while a concern to serve users’ needs has focused the attention of effectiveness. Funders have not only demanded that value for money is achieved but that it is demonstrated by reference to factual data. Users and other stakeholders have become more vociferous, while the adoption of “access” in preference to “holdings” strategies has led to greater reliance on external providers and with its more significant use of contracts, service level agreements and the like. (the University of Central Lancashire, Centre for Research in Library and Information Management, 1997)

Performance measurement focuses on whether a program has achieved its objectives or requirements, expressed as measurable performance standards.

It is defined as ‘a quantitative statement of the actual performance achieved.’ It should include adequate means of specifying its range and limits. This is done partly by defining effectiveness criteria, but it also relates to an understanding of the underlying aim and

objectives of the process or activity in question. It is a crucial management activity used to understand the effectiveness of a library or a service offered by the library. (Bavakutty & Majeed, 2005, p. 105)

Performance measurement means the ongoing process of monitoring typically and reporting on program accomplishments, particularly progress toward pre-established goals. Performance measures may address the type or level of program activities conducted (process), the direct products and services delivered by a program (outputs), and the results of those outputs (outcomes). Performance measurement focuses on whether a program has achieved its objectives or requirements, expressed as measurable performance standards. Performance measurement, because of its ongoing nature, can serve as an early warning system to management and as a vehicle for improving accountability to the public.

The current process of ensuring that a government program or body has met the targets set is a matter of internal management and control, not a task for external auditors. It is the responsibility of the financial auditors — not the performance auditors — to confirm that the accounts are correct. However, in the area of performance measurement — the check on the quality of performance-related information produced by the executive branch for the legislature — both financial and performance auditors might be involved, either in separate activities or joint audits. Performance indicators can sometimes also be used as indicators or references in planning individual performance audits. One topic for performance auditing is whether performance measurement systems in government programs are efficient and effective. (International Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions)

5. Library Performance Audit:

Performance auditing is mainly concerned with the examination of the economy, efficiency, and effectiveness. According to the Auditing Standards (AS 1.0.40), an individual performance audit may have the objective of examining one or more of these three aspects.

i. Economy — keeping the costs low: According to the Auditing Standards (AS 1.0.40), ‘economy’ means minimizing the cost of resources used for an activity, having regard to appropriate quality.

Audits of the economy may provide answers to questions such as:

a. Do the means are chosen or the equipment obtained — the inputs — represent the most economical use of public funds?

b. Have the human, financial or material resources been used economically?

c. Are the management activities performed by sound administrative principles and good management policies?

Even though the concept of economy is well defined, an audit of the economy is not that easy to conduct. It is often a challenging task for an auditor to assess whether the inputs chosen represent the most economical use of public funds, whether the resources available have been used economically, and if the quality and the quantity of the ‘inputs’ are optimal and suitably co-ordinated. It may prove even more challenging to be able to provide recommendations that will reduce the costs without affecting the quality and the number of services.

ii. Efficiency — making the most of available resources: Efficiency is related to the economy. Here, too, the central issue concerns the resources deployed. The main question is whether these resources have been put to optimal or satisfactory use or whether the same or similar results regarding quality and turn-around time could have been achieved with fewer resources. Are we getting the most output — regarding quantity and quality — from our inputs and actions? The question refers to the relationship between the quality and quantity of services provided and the activities and cost of resources used to produce them, to achieve results.

Any opinion or finding on efficiency is usually the only relative, while occasionally inefficiency is immediately apparent. A finding on efficiency can be formulated using a comparison with similar activities, with other periods, or with a standard that has explicitly been adopted. Sometimes standards, such as best practices, are applicable. Assessments of efficiency might also be based on conditions that are not related to specific standards — when matters are so complex that there are no standards. In such cases, assessments must be based on the best available information and arguments and in compliance with the analysis carried out in the audit.

Auditing efficiency embraces aspects such as whether:

• human, financial, and other resources are efficiently used;

• government programs, entities, and activities efficiently managed, regulated, organized, executed, monitored and evaluated;

• activities in government entities are consistent with stipulated objectives and requirements;

• public services are of good quality, client-oriented and delivered on time; and

• the objectives of government programs are reached cost-effectively. In some cases it may prove difficult to totally separate the two concepts — efficiency and economy — from each other. They may both directly or indirectly, concern whether, for instance, the audited entity:

• is following sound procurement practices;

• is acquiring the appropriate type, quality, and amount of resources at an appropriate cost;

• is properly maintaining its resources;

• is using the optimum amount of resources (staff, equipment and facilities) in producing or delivering the appropriate quantity and quality of goods or services on time;

• is complying with requirements of regulations that govern/affect the acquisition, maintenance and use of the entity’s resources; and has established a system of management controls.

In reality, audits of the economy tend to focus on the first three points. The concept of efficiency is mainly restricted to the question of whether the resources have been put to optimal or satisfactory use. Consequently, efficiency is mostly specified in two possible ways: whether the same output could have been achieved with fewer resources, or, in other words, if the same resources could have been used to achieve better results (in terms of quantity and quality of the output).

iii. Effectiveness — achieving the stipulated aims or objectives:

Effectiveness is essentially a goal-attainment concept. It is concerned with the relationship between goals or objectives, outputs, and impacts.

The question of effectiveness consists of two parts: first, if the policy objectives have been achieved, and second if this can be attributed to the policy pursued. In order to judge the extent to which the aims have been achieved, they need to be formulated in a way that makes an assessment of this type possible. This cannot easily be done with vague or abstract goals.

In order to judge the extent to which observed events could be traced back to the policy, a comparison will be needed. Ideally, this consists of measurement before and after the introduction of the policy and a measurement involving a control group, which has not been subject to the policy, (International Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions, p. 15-17).


Relation of Performance Audit with Programme Evaluation and Performance Measurement


Many analytical approaches have been employed over the years by agencies and others to assess the operations and results of government programs, policies, activities, and organizations. Performance audit and evaluation studies are designed to judge how specific programs are working and thus may differ a great deal. One particular aspect is the relationship between performance measurement, program evaluation, and performance auditing.

1. Performance measurement:

Performance measurement normally means the ongoing process of monitoring and reporting on program accomplishments, particularly progress toward pre-established goals. Performance measures may address the type or level of program activities conducted (process), the direct products and services delivered by a program (outputs), and/or the results of those outputs (outcomes). Performance measurement focuses on whether a program has achieved its objectives or requirements, expressed as measurable performance standards. Performance measurement, because of its ongoing nature, can serve as an early warning system to management and as a vehicle for improving accountability to the public.

The ongoing process of ensuring that a government program or body has met the targets set is a matter of internal management and control, not a task for external auditors. It is the responsibility of the financial auditors — not the performance auditors — to confirm that the accounts are correct. However, in the area of performance measurement — the check on the quality of performance-related information produced by the executive branch for the legislature — both financial and performance auditors might be involved, either in separate activities or in joint audits.11 Performance indicators can sometimes also be used as indicators or references in planning individual performance audits. One topic for performance auditing is whether performance measurement systems in government programs are efficient and effective. For example, questions could be developed that address whether the performance indicators measure the right things or whether the performance measurement systems involved are capable of providing likely measured results.

2. Program evaluation and performance auditing:

Program evaluations are individual systematic studies conducted to assess how well a program is working. Program evaluations typically examine a broader range of information on program performance and context than is feasible to monitor on an ongoing basis. Program evaluation may thus allow for all overall assessment of whether the program works and what can be done to improve its results. Program evaluations are one type of study that might be executed by an SAI under the general heading of performance audits.

In recent years, the concept of program evaluation has been a growing subject of discussion amongst SAIs. Whether or not program evaluation is an essential task for an SAI has been discussed. A particular group (INTOSAI Working Group on Program Evaluation) has been set up to promote principles and guidance in this area. It is generally accepted that program evaluation has objectives identical or similar to those of performance auditing in that it seeks to analyze the relationship between the goals, resources, and results of a policy or program. It has also been agreed that program evaluation is an essential task for an SAI that has the authority and competence to carry out such studies.

Program evaluation has been described as an epitome of activities and methods that have the aim to make exhaustive assessments of an issue, using more or less sophisticated scientific approaches. Although performance auditing may use the same approaches and methodologies as program evaluation, it does not, according to the INTOSAI Working Group on Program Evaluation, necessarily engage in assessing policy effectiveness or policy alternatives. In addition to examining the impact of outputs, program evaluation may include issues such as whether the stipulated aims are consistent with general policy. This issue has been the subject of discussion among SAIs. Some SAIs have the right to evaluate government and agency policy effectiveness and include program evaluation in their performance audit mandate. Others are not required to conduct such audits. (International Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions)


Application of Performance Evaluation, Performance Measurement & Performance Audit in Libraries & Information Center


1. Performance Evaluation in Libraries and Information Centers:

Performance evaluation of a library and information system or its components can be required for different reasons. For example, the evaluation of the performance of library and information systems and the resulting data could be used to assess how well the system meets its objectives or for justification of continuance of a service (Bawden, 1990, p. 49). It can be used to convince institutions that the library needs the same relative share of the institutional budget, even if the budget itself is shrinking (Mackenzie, 1990; Rodger, 1987). It may allow a librarian to demonstrate how one’s library stands in relation to others (Winkworth, 1993). It can help the librarian to describe the extent, range, and importance of the service being provided and that it is being given efficiently (Abbot 194, p. 4). It may be used to assess how well the library and information system contributes to achieving the goals of parent constituents (Pritchard 1996). It can diagnose particular problem areas of service or monitor progress towards specification or even compare past, current and desired level of performance (Van House et. al. 1990, p. 8) It can identify areas where improvement is needed (Van House et. al. 1990 p.3). Finally, it can identify what we have yet to accomplish and to communicate what we do, how well we do it and what we need to accomplish them (Van House 1995) or to provide evidence that the expectations of a variety of stakeholders are being met (Cullen 1998). However, there is an overwhelming agreement that library and information systems first and foremost have to justify their existence and the cost to their constituencies (Abbot 1994, p. 4; Rodger 1987; Van House 1995). Secondly, they have to be evaluated in order for their managers to find out if there are any deficiencies in the system and to determine what needs to be improved (Pritchard 1996; Van House et. al. 1990: 3; Van House 1995). Therefore, we can say that performance evaluation is done for both “internal” and “external” purposes.

2. Performance measurement in Libraries and Information Centers:

An emphasis on efficiency and cost-effectiveness in library and information services has led to an increasing focus on performance measures. Shepherd (2000) defines performance measurement as ‘about assessing how well a service fulfills its purpose, and how well it makes its contribution. There is often an implication that it involves relating contribution (or outcomes) to inputs (or resources).’

Although studies on the measurement of the effectiveness of services in libraries were carried out in the 1970s and 1980s, the last decade has seen a sharp rise in the number of studies of performance measurement in library and information services (LIS) worldwide. The seminal work of Van House et al. (1990) presented a set of practical output measures for academic libraries that were service orientated with an emphasis on user satisfaction surveys to inform the development of the measures. King Research Ltd (1990) developed performance measures for public libraries, while McClure & Lopta, (1996) compiled a draft set of performance indicators for the International Standards Organization (ISO, 1995). In 1996 IFLA produced guidelines that concentrated on measuring the effectiveness of a library in meeting its goals (Poll & Boekhorst, Measuring Quality: International Guidelines for Performance Measurement in Academic Libraries. IFLA Section of University Libraries and Other General Research Libraries, 1996) & Measuring Quality: Performance Measurement in Libraries (Poll & Boekhorst, Measuring Quality, Performance Measurement in Libraries, 2007) while focusing mainly on traditional measures, these guidelines included the innovative performance indicator ‘User satisfaction with services offered for remote users’. About this time, also, the Joint Funding Council’s group produced a framework for evaluating the performance of UK academic libraries entitled ‘The effective academic library’ (HEFCE et al., 1995).

3. Performance Audit in Libraries & Information Centres:

The missions of the University Libraries are to make its resources available and useful to the academic community and sustain and preserve a universal collection of knowledge and creativity of future generations. It has to be done with economically, efficiently and effectively.

The university library has a valuable role in higher education as well as research activities. Like other public service institutions or those financed from public funds, university libraries have come under increasing pressure to demonstrate results and outcomes of their activities and to justify the use of resources allocated to them. Nowadays, it is difficult for university libraries to manage and proper utilization of library resources due to the financial crisis. It is also difficult that library finance is properly utilized according to budget allocation. Some libraries have adequate budget allocation whether it is utilizing properly. So it is a challenge to library manager proper utilization of finance as well as resources of the library. The main purpose of the library is to give the right user to provide the right information at the right time.

Administrative and budget reforms in the public sector have affected the university libraries, particularly as they come under the purview of the fund of the government, and thus are subject to closer scrutiny and monitoring through various budgetary and audit procedures. Presently Libraries and Information Centres in developed countries in different categories (such as public, special & academic libraries) have been started to apply performance audit standard and methodologies for functioning the administration, reader service, technical service, and circulation service as well as web-enabled services to the patrons.

The application of performance audit in libraries will help to review and evaluate current library operations, compare current library operations, staffing and budget with similar libraries, assist in developing performance and outcome measurement for the library and provide an assessment of how efficiently the library is running with available resources. (Tigard Public Library, 2006 & Hemet Public Library, 2009)

In this situation performance audit is needed in university libraries because to assess utilization of fund in a proper way to achieve economically predetermined objectives and goals of the university libraries; to measure workflow, materials flow, work process and staffing allocations for in order to identify potential efficiencies & effectiveness of university library systems; to audit how efficiently ICT related operations in university libraries have achieved; to assess the academic community is satisfied with the overall library performance and to know the strength and weakness of performance of the university libraries in different angles compared to the other universities in the state through performance audit.


Library Performance Indicators by ISO:

ISO (the International Organization for Standardization) is a worldwide federation of national standards bodies (ISO member bodies). The organization is playing vital role for the evaluation of different types of libraries across the world. ISO have been introduced international standard time to time to measure and assess activities and operations of all type of libraries. These are Information and Documentation — International Library Statistics: ISO 2789:1991, Performance Indicators for Libraries: Information and Documentation — Library Performance Indicators: ISO 11620:1998, Performance Indicators for Libraries: Information and Documentation — Library Performance Indicators: ISO 11620:2008. For the purpose of this study performance indicators have been adopted from the ISO 11620:2008. Quality standards enable the libraries to maintain quality consistently. It enables them to satisfy stated and implied needs of the users, which leads to user delight, loyalty and cooperation with library programmes, activities and services. (Bavakutty & Majeed, 2005, p-76). Baba & Shukor (2003) discussed the need for national libraries to evaluate their performance and measure their effectiveness. Although performance indicators for academic and public libraries are well developed and used, little has been done for national libraries. At the recommendation of the IFLA Standing Committee for National Libraries a survey on the use of performance indicators is being undertaken for national libraries in Asia/Oceania. The findings of the survey will provide a useful contribution towards the development of performance indicators for the national library and add to the corpus of published literature on national libraries in the Asia/Oceania region.

Poll & Jonsson-Adrial (2006) proposed a list of possible performance indicators for National Libraries, taken from the new draft of the standard ISO 11620:1998 and from practical examples tested by national or regional libraries.


Library Quality Indicators by NAAC:


Increasingly, accreditation activity is gaining momentum in our country as people and educational institutions have come to realize that quality enhancement is essential for the institutions and the country. In the process of institutional accreditation, libraries have a crucial role. The services of the libraries have been expanding as they contribute significantly to the learning process, particularly, the e-learning process.

In the accreditation process, evaluation of libraries is an essential component, where the collection, services, and their outreaching capacity are monitored. In the recent past, significant developments have been reported in library and information services and the libraries are shouldering newer responsibilities in higher education. Hence the standards for assessing the quality of library services need to be updated. It is true that libraries largely support learning, teaching and research processes in institutions. So far, mostly, the classroom has, by and large, been the primary source of learning, with library accorded a supplementary status. In times ahead, one can foresee a role reversal, and indeed, in the increasingly learner-centric educational effort, one may already be witness to the library becoming the primary learning resource in many instances, with conventional classroom teaching playing mainly a facilitating role. In the case of Open Distance Learning (ODL), this has always been the case.

It is in this backdrop, that the NAAC (National Assessment and Accreditation Council) has developed a set of objective indicators to facilitate the assessment of the library and information services of academic institutions. The guidelines are derived from an understanding of the global developments in the activities and services of libraries, the national environment, and the outcome of a recent national-level workshop held at the NAAC, in which college and university librarians and library scholars from across the country had participated. The parameters are defined by considering certain factors such as the age of the institutions, courses offered by them and so on. The institutions are grouped into two broad categories: one, the university-level institutions (these include universities, deemed-to-be universities, autonomous colleges, and postgraduate colleges) and the other, the colleges (affiliated/constituent colleges). A set of indicators for university/autonomous college libraries is given below:

A. Management of Libraries and Information Services:

In universities (and in large colleges as well), the library system normally consists of a central ‘university library’ and ‘branch or department libraries’. The large campus environment often defines the use of the library in terms of the strength and size of the text and research collection. The central library supports the general information requirements of the users whereas the department libraries cater to the specific subject needs of the users, both for study and research. By considering a set of minimum parameters listed below would help to ensure quality in library systems of the university and autonomous colleges.

a. Number of days the Library is kept open: This is to help in knowing whether the library is kept open on Saturdays, Sundays and other holidays so as to facilitate use by students and faculty.

b. Working hours: This parameter refers to opening and closing hours of the library, whether library opens before the institution’s opening time and closes after the closing time so that readers have an opportunity to use the library without disturbance to their academic schedules.

c. Library Advisory Committee: The formation of the library committee with an equal representation by faculty and students, and the role of the committee and its functions in developing the library services are to be well defined.

d. Manpower development: Qualifications and experience of the librarian and the library staff should be on par with that of the academic staff and should fulfill the norms prescribed by UGC/AICTE/NCTE/ICMR etc. for guaranteeing a professional approach in delivering information services. Training programs and professional involvement of library professionals need to be encouraged. Total qualified and semi-skilled manpower, the ratio between the number of users and collection, needs to be maintained as per UGC/AICTE and government norms for promoting a better library environment.

e. Infrastructure of the Library: The Management may look into the aspect of the location of the library, to see whether the library has a place of its own with proper planning and organization of space, and has proper furniture, necessary quantity, and quality of reading chairs, tables, display racks, magazine racks, etc. The minimum carpet area for service counters and other sections of the library as prescribed by the government and other governing bodies are to be taken note of along with proper ventilation, fans, and water and toilet facilities. Fixing of notice boards, research cubicles for scholars/teachers, providing uninterrupted power supply systems (UPS, generator, etc.) along with due attention to overall building maintenance and cleanliness also need consideration.

f. ICT Infrastructure and Know-how: Quantification and computer facilities, systems for enabling e-library services, etc. need to be determined, taking into account the total number of users, type of users and programs offered. The library should have a networking facility and be a part of an institutional network, with fully implemented automation. The bandwidth of Internet access and subscription, organization and access to e-resources, etc. are important factors in the transmission of digital information services.

g. Overall policy of the institution on library: The Library should have an approved policy on the collection development support, introduction of new services, support in terms of fund, annual increase of budget, binding procedure, removal of obsolete books, and policy on lots of books and an ongoing commitment of the institution in deputing library professionals for continuing and further education.

h. Budget: There should be a proportionate growth in the library budget. The budget for different documents such as books, journals, and other resources and ICT infrastructure are to be defined as to the scope of the institute. Sources of income other than a state, central and UGC grants may be identified for enhancing the collection and services.

B. Collection and Services provided to users:

(i). Collection: The library is required to provide varied. authoritative and up-to-date resources that support its mission and the needs of its users. Resources may be provided onsite or from remote storage locations, on the main campus and/or at off-campus locations. Moreover, resources may be in a variety of formats, including print or hard copy, online electronic text or images, and other media. A university/autonomous college should contain the number of resources as prescribed by the government, UGC/AICTE and other governing bodies. They may generally be in the form of books, textbooks, standard reference, current journals which include national, international and peer-reviewed journals, back volumes, e-resources such as full text/secondary databases, CDs/DVDs, AV materials, etc.. The Library may maintain a special collection of national and international agencies (World Bank, UNO, EU, UGC, DST, etc.) government documents, book-bank, rare materials, collections for civil service/competitive exams, etc. Even with a limited budget, the library may explore ways, such as open access sources to provide quality resources in the most efficient manner possible. Collection currency and strength may be maintained through judicious weeding-out policies.

(ii). Services: The library has a key role in supporting the academic activities of the institutions by establishing, maintaining, and promoting the library and information services, both quantitatively and qualitatively. The library offers a wide range of services from reference to electronic information services. University and autonomous college libraries may answer the following basic questions while ensuring the appropriate services.

1. Does the library provide the following facilities/services to the students?

– Publication and Research Support services.

– Information display and notification.

– Bibliographic compilation.

– ILL/Resource Sharing.

– Reprographic facilities.

– Book bank.

– User orientation.

– Computers.

– OPAC/Indexing services.

– Audio-visual resources.

– Internet.

– Digital library services.

– Any other.

> Ratio of library books to number of students enrolled.

> Number of log-in’s into the e-library services/e-documents delivered per month (Efforts made towards developing on-campus electronic environment and encouraging e-deliveries may be mentioned)

> Network of academic libraries under the university’s jurisdiction

> Membership of library networks (INFLIBNET/DELNET) and Consortia (UGC INFONET/ INDEST) or any other

C. Extent of the use of services:

Performance evaluation of university and autonomous college libraries needs to be carried out at regular intervals in order to enhance the quality and its sustenance. Normally, the evaluation can be made on the compilation of statistics based on use. The following parameters would help in assessing the extent of use of the library and its services.

I. a). The average number of books issued/returned per day.                                            ❑

   b). The number of reference inquiries (users) on an average                                          ❑

       per month (percentage may be specified)

   c). Number of services delivered per-user per month                                                      ❑

   d). The average number of users who visited/documents consulted  per month             ❑

II. Compiling the information on the number of Logins into the E-Library Services/E-documents delivered per month.

D. Best practices for University/Autonomous College Libraries:

In the library context, the ‘best practice’ may be viewed as one that enhances user satisfaction contributing to the full realization of one’s academic potential. Listed below is a suggestive set of best practices.

1. Library Brochure/Dairies /Information Packs.

2. Central Reference Library for the use of constituent and affiliated colleges.

3. A feedback from stakeholders through scientifically designed and analyzed questionnaire, at least twice a year.

4. Compiling and displaying of student/teacher attendance statistics (graphic) on the notice boards of the library as well as in the departments.

5. Communication of current awareness to different user groups.

6. Information literacy programs

– Beginning of the academic year with a general presentation

– Periodically for need-based groups

– Teaching library programs

7. Creation of digital Repositories

– Article Repositories

– Publication Repositories

– Question paper Repositories

– Courseware Repositories

8. Displaying new arrivals of books/journals and circulating a list to different departments that use the library.

9. Suggestion box and timely response.

10. Development of a website/web page for the library including all the services and necessary information.

11. Establishing linkage with other libraries and avail free/ nominal fee services.

12. Initiatives for research projects/ turnkey projects from the library.

13. Development of electronic environment on the campus and encouragement to e-deliveries.

14. Developing linkage with the functional units of the universities.

– Information Center

– Computer Center

– Department of Computer Science

– Student welfare Directorate/Training & Placement Cell

15. Conducting Exhibitions/Demonstrations/Lectures on Current Issues.

16. Building a Network of College Libraries under the aegis of the University.


Original Reference Article:

  • Khan, B. (n.d.). PERFORMANCE AUDIT OF SOME SELECTED UNIVERSITY LIBRARIES IN WEST BENGAL A FRAMEWORK FOR EVALUATION.

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