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Monitoring library economics in Europe

Library managers and policy makers today are faced with the challenges arising from communication technologies and the corresponding information provided. Using this framework, the project is employing the internet to develop a continuously updated database of statistics on library activities and associated costs, in the context of their national economics.
Monitoring library economics in Europe
The project provides the means for measuring the performance of libraries in promoting their services, leading to internationally comparable results. Such a tool would be particularly useful for library managers and policy makers who need to monitor relating activities.

The internet site has been established to provide an ongoing study of the activities of libraries in 29 countries in Europe, which include members of the European Free Trade Agreement (EFTA) and the Association Agreement with the EU in Central and Eastern Europe (C&EE), consequently to monitor quality in their libraries.

The information available on the database is of wide scope and is continuously updated through on-line questionnaires. More specifically, information is contained on library activities and materials and their associated costs including, staffing, access statistics, service points, lending and inter-library loans. This information has been classified by library sector, year and country. In addition, data collected from past surveys has been included in the database, in order to enable the review and comparison of national statistics.

The scope of the project is of interest to different organisations and policy makers who can utilise such a facility to develop their strategies and review library economics. Among those who have expressed interest in this initiative are UNESCO, IFLA, the European Bureau of Library, Information and Documentation Associations (EBLIDA), the International Standards Organisation (ISO) and Eurostat, the EU' s central statistical agent. The project has worked closely with these organisations in order to ensure that the requirements for information that assist international policy planning is made available on a consistent basis.

Without a doubt, the greatest benefit derived from this project is the availability of up-to-date information on library activities at both international and national levels, all of which is accessible from one single access point.

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