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Performance Measures / Data Collection

San Antonio Public Library, TX

Innovation Summary

The San Antonio Public Library implemented on-line collection of performance measures.

Innovation Leader: David Cooksey, Performance and Innovation Manger, david.cooksey@sanantonio.gov

Problem Statement

One of the focus initiatives coming from the San Antonio Public Library’s Strategic Planning Process was to develop appropriate metric and performance measures and outcomes to assess the organization’s overall effectiveness. The library was collecting a large amount of data at various levels in the organization across more than 40 locations or divisions. This data was collected in various databases and spreadsheets and then recorded and rerecorded in separate spreadsheets. This was a time consuming task that involved duplication of effort, a high likelihood of data entry error and produced a final report that was difficult to use in analysis.

Innovation

The key element of innovation produced by the on-line reporting of performance measures is that at the beginning of the month at the branch level reports can easily be produced on checkouts, renewals, and check-ins by location and by item type. System-wide ratios can also be developed and instantly produced. As an example, with a floating ratio one important ratio that can be produced is the check-in to check out ratio. Additionally multiple performance measure some of which include in-house use, computer use, Wi-Fi use, number of volunteers, number of volunteer hours, number of programs, and number of program attendees can be produced by branch. The Library used LibPAS from Counting Opinions to implement on-line collection of performance measures.

Progress

The key element of innovation produced by the on-line reporting of performance measures is that at the beginning of the month at the branch level reports can easily be produced on checkouts, renewals, and check-ins by location and by item type. System-wide ratios can also be developed and instantly produced. As an example, with a floating ratio one important ratio that can be produced is the check-in to check out ratio. Additionally multiple performance measure some of which include in-house use, computer use, Wi-Fi use, number of volunteers, number of volunteer hours, number of programs, and number of program attendees can be produced by branch. The Library used LibPAS from Counting Opinions to implement on-line collection of performance measures. On-line collection of performance measures was tested for one month at trail locations and then implemented system-wide. Achieved/Anticipated Outcomes, including Lessons Learned if Relevant: Performance measures are input at the lowest level, where the data is collected and then aggregated across the organization. This provides for quicker monthly reporting as well as more accurate reporting. Performance data is entered once. It is entered and checked at the level where the activity occurred. Performance measure data is now easily accessible system-wide. With all data tracked in one system, historical data is much easier to analyze and to use for forecasting. At the beginning of this process, the decision was made to use the current (at the time) performance measures for implementation in the on-line system. The change for the users was to input their data in an on-line system. They were still inputting the same data. By only changing the way the data was received from the branches and divisions, the transition to this new system was easier than if the types of data being tracked had changed at the same time. As performance measures are analyzed in the future, if any changes to currently collected information are needed the process to do this will be more difficult because the on-line collection is already in process. The ramifications of any changes in process will need to be considered as the on-line collection system is built based on a previous collection design. The additional transparency in reporting that is provided by on-line reporting and on-line availability of the performance measurement data is a positive for San Antonio. Personnel at all levels of the organization can more easily see how their data is being used and provide feedback on how the measures are tracked and reported. This has led to various changes in reporting ranging from basic format changes on reports to including additional data on certain reports that better tells the whole story. As an example it is not just circulation, but circulation, in-house use, number of visitors, number of programs and number of computer users. One tool may not accurately tell the whole story. Collection and reporting of performance measures will continue to evolve as libraries look to the future and develop appropriate metrics to assess their overall effectiveness.