Outcomes Based Evaluation
An important outcome of any library project is determining the impact on service to library customers. Evaluation reports provide vital information to other communities contemplating replication of the project and can serve as a springboard for additional ideas and services. Any evaluation should focus on:
the difference made by the project
the impact of the project on the community
the effect on people rather than the statistical process itself
The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) has the responsibility of reporting annually to Congress on the impact of LSTA dollars in improving library services. In order to do this as effectively as possible, IMLS has adopted Outcome Based Evaluation (OBE) as a program evaluation methodology. OBE looks at the program from a patron's perspective, and asks the questions, "What difference did it make?" "What changes in the patron's attitudes, skills, behaviors, and knowledge came about because of the program?" OBE offers libraries a method to measure the impact of a library's project or service in human terms.