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Emerald publishes Special Issue of Performance Measurement and Metrics in association with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Global Libraries Initiative

Publication reveals the need for more libraries to collect strong outcomes evidence to secure public library development and sustainability

Bingley, United Kingdom, 19 November 2015 – Emerald Group Publishing - a global publisher linking 
research and practice to the benefit of society - is proud to launch a Special Issue of Performance Measurement and Metrics guest edited by the Global Libraries (GL) initiative of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

GL focusses on providing access to technology in public libraries throughout entire countries with an emphasis on developing and transitioning countries. GL’s multi-year grants (or ‘country grants’) have helped highlight the importance of measuring impact and connecting it to library services and advocacy in order to ensure libraries are recognized and funded as core community assets and partners. 

Co-edited by David Streatfield of Information Management Associates and Jeremy Paley from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, this Special Issue of Performance Measurement and Metrics is a four-part narrative of the progress GL has made and the lessons it has learned, particularly in relation to how it tracks the impact of its grants and uses that information to create more impact. 

In this Special Issue, GL argues that more public libraries need to be able to assess how they support long-term community impact. Without this type of quantitative data, libraries struggle to articulate their value in the digital age and secure funding and partnerships for their long-term sustainability. The work reported here shows how advocacy based on impact assessment can contribute to sustainability by helping libraries build allies, find partners, and secure financial support.

Jeremy Paley said: “Support for public libraries has long been a core component of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s work and information access is at the centre of public libraries’ mission. Public libraries are trusted institutions, open and free to all, and their users benefit from trained staff who help meet community needs.

“Increasingly, public libraries - and the organizations and governments that support them - are measuring their success in terms of positive life outcomes for their users, rather than traditional measures such as visits, loans, and member numbers.

“In an era of tight budgets, evidence of how library users’ lives have changed as a result of the services they have accessed is most compelling for advocacy purposes.”  

David Streatfield adds: “Great strides have been made over the past several years in the field of public library impact assessment.

“Several Global Libraries grantees have conducted pioneering work in this area, one example of which is the development of a common measurement system with indicators in seven outcome domains deemed to be globally relevant.”

Several other examples of this pioneering work in this area are also discussed in the Special Issue.

Tony Roche, Publishing Director at Emerald Group Publishing, said: “To have one of our journals guest edited by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation brings with it great prestige and constitutes a real honor for Emerald.

“The Special Issue is very much in line with our commitment to engaging with the global library and academic communities we serve, to provide sustainable and valuable solutions for customers. 

“In addition, it demonstrates Emerald’s ongoing commitment to creating real-world impact by linking research and practice to the benefit of society.” 

The Special Issue is free and Open Access in accordance with the new Open Access policy of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

- ENDS -

About Emerald Publishing:
Nurturing fresh thinking that makes an impact

Emerald Publishing was founded in 1967 to champion new ideas that would advance the research and practice of business and management. Today, we continue to nurture fresh thinking in applied fields where we feel we can make a real difference, now also including health and social care, education and engineering. We publish over 300 journals, more than 2,500 books and over 1,500 case studies, via our dedicated research platform


Rory Ffoulkes
PR Manager
Emerald Publishing Limited
Phone: +44 (0) 1274 777700