Tomorrow, I’ll be traveling back to Yaoundé, Cameroon, for the first of 6 visits to countries that have been participating in our library associations programme over the past two years. A large focus of the meetings is impact evaluation, trying to work out what difference our interventions have made since the projects began. I’m really looking forward to spending time interviewing, hearing stories, and weaving threads across different issues and countries. And visiting some libraries.
Two years ago, on my first visit to each of these countries, much was unknown. Now, we are really beginning to see the outcomes and results from a lot of hard work. It’s been a fascinating process for me, too, getting to know new colleagues, exploring library communities in depth in these countries, learning and listening.
Taking the time to properly evaluate our work matters. It is time consuming, complicated, and can sometimes be expensive. But without it, how can we demonstrate the value of the library, its services and its people to decisionmakers and the community? Or find out what does and does not work?