Demonstrating library value:
: the use made of information provided by an NHS-library library service, and how use relates to organisational goals

  • Jenny Frances Turner

Student thesis: Master's ThesisMaster of Science


Government policies, including the establishment of Foundation Trusts, require NHS organisations to review service delivery and its value. This research took place in an acute NHS hospital as it worked for Foundation Trust status, and the library service was asked what value it had for the organisation.

The existing measures included user satisfaction surveys, activity counts, and accreditation through the national scheme for healthcare libraries, but this was insufficient in determining the real value in terms of the difference made to the organisation from services provided. The aim of the research was to determine how the value of the library could be established in terms recognisable by managers.

The literature review identified that organisational goals would probably represent value to managers. The objective of the dissertation was therefore to find evidence that the library service contributed to organisational goals.

A mixed methods approach was used, consisting of interviews of library members (n=3), Trust board members (n=3), questionnaires of library members (n=60 sent), using validated instruments as far as possible (including a taxonomy and the NHS toolkit for library impact studies).

Information provided by the library contributed to a higher quality of patient care, provided new knowledge, and that knowledge would be shared, memories refreshed, or prior knowledge substantiated. Decisions were better informed, and time was saved.

All of these uses directly related to the organisational goals, in particular the support of continuing professional development, and direct patient care, both key top level objectives of the organisation. The study provided statistically robust evidence that could be used by libraries with a similar population, as well as providing additional validation of the NHS toolkit tools.

The concepts of information-as-knowledge, value-in-use and self-perceived value are appropriate for library impact studies as they recognise the complexities of information, values, and information behaviour. The results suggest that NHS managers accept self-perceived value indicators
Date of Award2009
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Aberystwyth University
SupervisorChristine Urquhart (Supervisor)

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