This book helps elected and appointed government officials and citizens assess and establish standards for the efficient and effective delivery of quality services. Actual benchmarks are provided for numerous services such as libraries, parks and recreation, public works, emergency medical services, courts, animal control, risk management and public transport.


In 1943, Clarence Ridley and Herbert Simon praised the advances being made in measuring the “intangibles” of library service (p. xiv). They encouraged the leaders of other municipal functions to take similar strides. Now, more than half a century later, library services continue to maintain a performance measurement edge over many other municipal services in the scope and sophistication of widely reported indicators and in the availability of detailed statistics identifying national performance norms. A citizen or municipal official wishing to assess the adequacy of the local public library has a reasonably rich array of potential benchmarks on which to draw.

History of Library Standards1

Throughout most of the twentieth century, the Public Library Association (PLA) and its parent organization, the American Library Association (ALA), maintained ...

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