BCLTA Governance Workbook: Programs and Services Oversight and Assessment

A library carries out its mission by offering specific programs and services. The board provides strategic direction to the library director on the outcomes to be achieved with those programs and services.

The library director then manages the resources and staff needed for developing, providing, evaluating, and improving programs and services. The library director regularly provides accurate and timely reports to the board on programs and services and more specifically on how the results and outcomes of those programs and services are achieving the board’s strategic direction. These reports support the board’s role in providing oversight and assessment of the public library and in ensuring that the work of the library is mission focused, aligned with strategic direction, and achieving the desired impact or outcome.

Predetermined assessment methods will make the board responsibility of oversight and assessment much easier. Assessment methods for programs and services include

  • program and service numbers
  • impact stories
  • board participation (hosting, volunteering, attending a program, using the library)
  • patron program and service evaluations

The following are indicators of effective board performance in this area:

  • The board receives timely and accurate reports of information necessary for board governance and oversight.
  • The board has the information needed to be confident that the organization’s operations are aligned with the vision, mission, and values of the organization and will achieve the board’s desired outcomes.
  • The board can identify potential strategic, reputational, and financial risk to the organization.