Culture Counts: Measuring the intangible value of libraries

Culture Counts platform for measuring the intangible value of libraries

Culture Counts is a cloud-based software platform that can be used to evaluate the impact of library services for individuals and the local community in a simple and cost-effective way. The modern library has moved beyond being a place to simply borrow books, with libraries supporting new forms of literacy, actively strengthening communities and encouraging participation. Culture Counts provides a way to measure and communicate the full value that libraries generate.

In consultation with the library sector, Culture Counts has developed and tested a set of metrics that describe important library outcomes. Examples include:

  • I feel safe and welcome when using the library service
  • The library helps me to be more digitally connected with others
  • The library has helped me to improve the success of my business
  • The library is an important part of the place where I live

All metrics align with the ALIA Guidelines, standards and outcome measures for Australian Public Libraries and the Cultural Development Network measurable outcomes framework. They sit alongside outputs such as membership numbers, attendance figures and lending statistics to provide comprehensive insight into the important role of libraries. Libraries can use the Culture Counts system to collect and aggregate feedback from a broad range of people including the public, fellow librarians, council members and staff.

The results provide valuable data to help libraries understand the effect of their programs and services, providing evidence of where best to focus limited resources to achieve maximum impact. The ability to evaluate key objectives helps libraries to demonstrate where impact is greatest, identify areas for improvement, and makes reporting to government and other stakeholders a much simpler and more successful process.

Many Australian libraries are already using the Culture Counts system to demonstrate the value their library adds to people’s lives. In this 1.5min documentary style film we hear from the Manager Cultural Development and, Coordinator Library Services at the City of Wanneroo about their evaluation strategy.

Culture Counts Video Image Link

If you would like to find out more about Culture Counts visit their website here or contact the PLA Executive Officer