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Network Bulletin No 05-02


Date: January 28, 2005



Subject: Effectiveness assessment of the NLS program
Index Term: Committee members and recommendations


In response to a charge by the Librarian of Congress "to assess the effectiveness of the NLS program
from the perspective of users and nonusers and to identify appropriate approaches to measuring results
produced by the program," NLS has formed the Effectiveness Assessment Committee, chaired by NLS
network consultant Deborah Toomey.  The committee is comprised of NLS staff and network librarians
who indicated their willingness to serve.  Members include regional librarians Karen Keninger, Iowa;
Gloria Leonard, Washington; John Phillos, Delaware; Keri Putnam, Nevada; Linda Stetson, Georgia.
Barbara Goral, retired regional librarian from Colorado, is also a member of the group.


NLS convened the committee at a meeting on October 18-19, 2004.  As a result of the readings,
brainstorming sessions, and discussion, the group decided that the best way to assess the effectiveness of
the program from the perspective of users was to use the Institute for Museum and Libraries (IMLS)
format of outcome-based evaluation (OBE).  Outcome-based evaluation measures the change
experienced by the patron as a result of program participation.  More information on this evaluative tool
can be found at http://www.imls.gov/grants/current/crnt_obe.htm.  The group concluded that eligible
nonusers of the program cannot be evaluated using OBE but should be surveyed to determine how and if
they are reading and if they are not, why.  They should also be queried regarding their knowledge of the
NLS program.

For the evaluation of both groups, the committee has recommended that NLS select an organization with
experience or familiarity surveying the blind and physically handicapped community.  In addition, the
committee recommends planned follow-up assessment dates built into the schedule in five-year
increments, perhaps up to twenty years.

The Effectiveness Assessment Committee recommended that this network bulletin be sent to inform and
request input from the network.  If you would like to comment on this charge or receive additional
information regarding the committee, please do not hesitate to contact one of the committee members or
Deborah Toomey, the committee chair.


For further information contact:

Deborah Toomey
Network Consultant
Network Services Section
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