ST 4/10: IFLA/UNESCO indicators for public libraries


The IFLA/UNESCO guidelines for public library development were published in 2001.

On pp. 94-95 the book propose a set of indicators for performance measurement:

The following key performance indicators may be used to evaluate and monitor the achievement of the library’s objectives.

Usage indicators

  • loans per capita
  • total library visits per capita
  • membership as a percentage of the population
  • loans per item i.e. turnover resources
  • reference enquiries per capita
  • loans per opening hour
  • number of accesses to electronic services and other non-print materials.

Resource indicators

  • total stock per capita
  • provision of terminals/personal computers per capita
  • provision of online public access computers (OPACs) per capita.

Human resource indicators

  • ratio of full time equivalent (FTE) staff to population
  • ratio of professional staff to population
  • ratio of full time equivalent (FTE) staff to library use.


The text continues with some related suggestions:

Qualitative indicators

  • user satisfaction surveys
  • enquiries satisfied.

Cost indicators

  • unit costs for functions, services and activities
  • staff costs per functions, e.g., books processed, programmes
  • total costs per capita, per member, per visitor, per service point etc.

Comparative indicators

  • bench-mark statistical data against other relevant and comparable library services, internationally, nationally and locally.

In addition to the collection and analysis of input and output service statistics, the unstated needs of non-users should be established by carrying out market research including the use of focus groups and community surveys.

Where reliable population statistics are not available it becomes more difficult to develop reliable performance indicators. Use can be made of estimated population totals, the comparison of costs with user and visitor.



One Response to “ST 4/10: IFLA/UNESCO indicators for public libraries”

  1. Bre Says:

    I am a 8th grade teacher in NC and came across your site while researching some information about UNESCO for my history class this year. I just wanted to thank you for the great information and articles about UNESCO.

    We would love it if you could write a few articles for us, but I understand if your busy so a link to some of the current articles would be very helpful as well to help us spread trusted resources to other teachers. I have included a link to the site in case you would like to help us out by linking to it, tweeting it, or adding it to your Facebook profile.

    Thanks and keep the great resources coming

    Bre Matthews

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