Choosing ISO indicators

As consideration of ISO (International Organization for Standardization) performance indicators seemed to make sense in a library benchmarking project, we decided to pick up a couple of them out of ISO 11620 (2014).

  1. The first step was to read it completely and theoretically decide which could bring useful information.
  2. The second step consisted using actual data from our libraries.
  3. The third one is to use them to produce information.

ISO Indicators chosen and discussed

User per capita indicator stresses the importance of the library as a place for study, meeting, and as a learning centre, and indicates the institution’s support for these tasks. We decided to consider students only, including PhD, for this indicator as they are the most actual users of the physical library.

Staff per capita is supposed assessing the number of library employees per 1 000 members of the population to be served. The amount of work to be done can be considered proportional to the number of persons in the population to be served. We decided to consider students, including PhD, for this indicator as they are the most actual users of the physical library + academic staff from faculties and hospitals. Hospital nursing staff actually uses (physically or not) the library, yet less than academics in our opinion. We hence agreed on adding here 10 percent of this personnel.

The Number of User Attendances at Training Lessons per Capita can be used to assess the success of the library in reaching its users through the provision of training lessons. As this performance indicator is applicable to all libraries with a defined population to be served, and this number is impossible to define, we decided not to consider it.

User Services Staff as a Percentage of Total Staff indicator can be used to determine the library’s effort devoted to public services in relation to the background services. User services include the following functions: lending, reference interlibrary lending, user education, photocopying, shelving, and retrieving items. We decided to use it.

We now have to use our results, interpret them and find recommendations. This will probably be communicated in a paper or a conference presentation in the next months.