HS: Kristian Møhler Sørensen (CANCELLED)

  • Date: –16:00
  • Location: Engelska parken 4/2007
  • Lecturer: Kristian Møhler Sørensen
  • Website
  • Organiser: Insitutionen för ABM
  • Contact person: Isto Huvila
  • Phone: 3420
  • Seminarium

The seminar discusses Kristian Møhler Sørensens doctoral research project on library evaluation.

Kristian Møhler Sørensen is a doctoral candidate in library studies at the University of Southern Denmark and a visiting doctoral student at the Department of ALM.

Value-based evaluation of public libraries: a framework for assessment

The public libraries are facing challenges as society is going from analogue to digitalization paradigms. Emergent debates are questioning the position of public libraries putting a question mark on the justification of the conventional public library (Madsen, 2017; Andersen, 2015; Lankes, 2016; Lerche, 2017).

The Danish law of public libraries provides the legal framework for public libraries in Denmark. The law states that public libraries are to promote information, education and cultural activity by making books, journals, audiobooks and other suitable materials available such as music carrying materials and electronic information resources, including the Internet and multimedia (libraries, 2013). The law does not imply any means or preference of media. However, currently the Danish ministry of Culture is evaluating the need for a revision of the legal framework with a focus on increasing the use of digital media (Niegaard, 2017). This raises a question regarding which factors that must be taken into consideration when political and cultural institutions are assessing current and future legal amendment and development of library service design. Theories and means of evaluation are needed in order to conduct a prober assessment of such needs. The International Organization of Standards (ISO) are defining multiple purposes when assessing the impact of libraries: ”[…] for the purpose of strategic planning and internal quality management of libraries; to facilitate comparison of library impact over time and between libraries of similar type and mission; to promote the libraries' role and value for learning and research, education and culture, social and economic life; to support political decisions on levels of service and strategic goals for libraries.” (ISO16439:2014).

A study by Matthews (2015) reports on how to assess outcomes and values. Its´s findings show that, “while outcomes may be increasingly used, determining the value of a specific outcome [it] is complicated by the reality that value is determined by a combination of perspective and each individual experiencing a specific library service.” (Matthews, 2015). To measure values, Matthews is stating that a combination of user perspectives (educational, informative, recreational, cultural, and public benefits) is resulting in realistic assessments of library value. Furthermore, Matthews is calling for even more views on theory-based evaluation to identify outcomes of library service efforts.
The main purpose of this project is to develop an evaluation model based on empirically stated values such as the support of democracy (Audunson, 2005), creation of social capital (Vårheim, 2017), creation of trust (Oliphant, 2014) or enhancing lifelong learning (Hawkins, 2001).

Four studies are planned in developing a value-based approach for assessing the impact of public libraries. The studies will explore (1) empirical studies of perceived values of public libraries, (2) applicable evaluation methods for value-based assessment of library services, (3) the concepts and implication in model-development of value-based evaluation, (4) the possibilities of deploying value-based evaluation across different types of public libraries. The first and second study applies the methods of systematic reviews to find confident results in primary studies on the subject. The third study will consist of a concrete evaluation-model which will be strongly independent on the results of the first and second study. The fourth study will discuss and validate the concepts of value-based evaluation.