oa South African Journal of Libraries and Information Science - Towards measuring the performance of public libraries in South Africa : research article

Volume 71, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0256-8861



Following the publication of the report of the Public and Community Libraries Inventory of South Africa (Paclisa), an issue for further investigation was raised given the difficulties that many libraries had experienced in completing the questionnaire. A Working Group on Public Library Statistics (WGPLS) was established to work on the drafting of a simpler data collection instrument. Our paper describes the process of arriving at joint understanding of the aims and objectives of measuring performance in the South African public library system. A brief discussion of the purpose and rationale of collecting statistical data, and their role as performance measures and indicators for public libraries in South Africa follows. The proposed statistical form and the indicators that could be derived are presented. The paper concludes with suggestions of future steps to be taken, including a consideration by libraries of outcomes, and the difference made by libraries to people's lives.

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