Pennsylvania Public Libraries supports the use of outcome-based evaluation to assess the impact of library services. Simply put, outcome-based evaluation is a user-centered approach to assessment of programs/ services to address particular user needs and designed to achieve change for the user. The following is a listing of some of the many benefits of using outcome-based evaluation principles to guide programs and services.


  • Useful as a planning tool; requires needs assessment
  • Clarifies the purpose of the program/ service
  • Keeps staff and stakeholders focused on goals by stressing effectiveness rather than process
  • Stimulates discussion of issues
  • Helps keep implementation on track; milestones are identified
  • Indicates when changes to program are needed\
  • Energizes staff by demonstrating the real, human impact their work produces and by stressing common purposes and goals
  • Assists in fundraising & grant writing by providing statistics on results
  • Provides empirical evidence that what you are doing is what you intended to do
  • Quantifies anecdotes and success stories
  • Identifies effective programs/services
  • Demonstrates the library’s contribution to solving community problems
  • Demonstrates accountability as required by IMLS under the Government Results and Performance Act of 1993