In this step, we guide librarians through the following applications to help
to maximize use of their findings:
- Accountability and long-term assessment
- Improved services and/or programs
- Resource (re)allocation
The product of Step 3: Analyzing Data (3.), the outcomes set, is a treasure
trove of information that captures your library's/program's contribution to
participants and the life of the community. Throughout the process, you examined
the contextual factors that give rise to outcomes - the library and its service
model and activities, the clientele and staff contributions -- to achieve not
only evidence of impact, but also, and as important, valuable intelligence from
customers and staff about the nature and the results of the library's service(s).
Step 4: Maximizing Results encourages librarians to digest this intelligence
and to apply lessons learned as strategically as possible. After all, outcomes
evaluation stands as an key investment opportunity for the institution from
which to reap the range of benefits discussed in our introduction, including
improved marketing, accountability, enhanced services and/or program, and resource
Whereas Steps 1-3 were designed to guide you through the outcomes evaluation
process, Step 4 helps you leverage your findings for external and internal review.
In outcomes you find core messages about the library - what it does right and
where it can make improvements -- that can verify and/or inform librarians'
predictions and intuition and do the same for the community they serve. The
outcomes set derived through outcome-based evaluation encapsulates knowledge
of the positive and negative impacts the library makes on community life, which
may differ or corroborate the kinds of impact(s) expected by library management
and staff. Outcomes will equip you to step outside the library with marketing
programs or campaigns for a wide range of stakeholders. At the same time, you
can take outcomes intelligence back to the planning table to ponder "What
does this say about the service?" Did our strategies and activities achieve
our goals or not? Did we produce benefits we did not intend to? How did we do
it? How can we do it better?"