Measures that Matter

Thousands of public libraries diligently contribute to data collection efforts each year – participating in one time, periodic, and annual surveys at the behest of a variety of organizations. There is an overarching need for timely, reliable, comparable, and meaningful data on public libraries that documents infrastructure, resources, and impact. While there is broad consensus that collecting data with the intent to assess and measure library impact has tremendous value, several concerns have emerged with the proliferation of surveys in recent years. Primary among them are that the burden of increased data collection is beyond the capacity of many libraries, that data collection efforts are not coordinated, and that the data collected does not reflect the needs nor tell the story of libraries in the 21st century. But, there is no overarching national plan for the collection, storage, use, and dissemination of public library data and service outcomes that equitably engages all stakeholders, validates the purpose and value of public libraries, and provides learning opportunities on the value and use of this data. Measures that Matter was created to address these issues through engaging library stakeholders and experts to work towards a National Action Plan that will address data needs, data collection, and to promote an understanding of how library data collection efforts align with larger local and national measurement system. This project is the first step in a long-range effort to change the data collection landscape for public libraries in the United States, and will provide a landscape analysis and a plan for implementation.

Quick Facts

Project Contact

Project Website