International Conference on Performance Measurement in Libraries

July 24, 2019 Aberystwyth, Wales, UK 10:45 AM

Project Outcome: Data for Measuring Value and Making Improvements in Public and Academic Libraries

Date: Wednesday, July 24

Time: 10:45am-12:15pm

Location: Aberystwyth University

Presenters: Sara Goek (ACRL) and Emily Plagman (PLA)



Both academic and public librarians are encouraged to attend this session. It is open to anyone interested in outcome measurement or assessment.


Participants will learn how to:

  • Measure meaningful learning outcomes using Project Outcome.
  • Use the Project Outcome toolkit to administer surveys, analyze data, and create reports.
  • Understand how other academic and public libraries have used outcome data for action.
  • Identify challenges and effective means of implementing outcome measurement to improve library services and advocacy.
  • Discuss how to put your data to work in improving library services and advocacy.



Project Outcome ( is a free online toolkit designed to help libraries understand and share the impact of their programs and services. It offers practitioners access to a standardized set of surveys and outcome measures and a free, easy-to-use toolkit. Project Outcome also gives libraries the resources and training support needed to apply their results and confidently advocate for their future.


Project Outcome was created by the Public Library Association (PLA), a division of the American Library Association, and first launched in 2014. For public libraries, the toolkit includes seven patron-focused surveys in the areas of civic / community engagement, digital learning, early childhood literacy, economic development, education / lifelong learning, job skills, and summer reading. This session will begin with an overview of the Project Outcome model and the results of activity after four years of engagement and use in the public library field.


Expanding upon this successful model, PLA has partnered with the Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL) to develop Project Outcome for Academic Libraries ( It includes seven patron-focused surveys – on instruction, events / programs, research, teaching support, digital & special collections, space, and library technology – and an online dashboard of interactive tools for collecting and analyzing the data, as well as practical guidance on using the results. The new toolkit, which launched in April 2019 and is open to international users, provides academic libraries of any size the means to gather evidence of the learning outcomes of their programs and services and to use that data as the basis for improvements and advocacy.


With over 1,400 libraries collecting more than 200,000 patron surveys in the system, PLA’s Project Outcome has helped the public library field collectively move towards the use of standardized outcome measures. In adapting this model for academic libraries, ACRL supports its members and the field to create momentum towards outcome measurement as common practice.


In this session, PLA and ACRL staff will demonstrate the toolkit, showcase examples from users, and facilitate discussion around the successful implementation of outcome measurement in academic and public libraries.