As required by IMLS, CSL hired an independent evaluator to assess the state library’s progress in meeting the goals set forth in its LSTA Five-Year Plan for fiscal years 2013-2017. This plan describes the goals and activities funded through the state’s LSTA allotment, about $2 million per year, complemented by matching funds from the state. The evaluation, conducted by QualityMetrics, was submitted to IMLS in March 2017.
Excerpt from the Evaluation Summary:
“DLD has made all the right choices in a very difficult environment. The closing of one of their facilities was a key strategic decision that would allow them to transform and continue to thrive in the future. Similarly, some of the objectives that were not pursued were guided by the principle of focusing resources on institutional capacity building and access to resources. If there is a phrase to characterize their strategy that phrase is ”building on our strengths.” From supporting statewide services like the databases, the shared catalog, and delivery system to supporting sub‐grants, an ambitious program of professional development and a network of partnerships, DLD is strengthening the capacity of libraries in CT to create a better future for them. Elements of distinction are noteworthy in the superb work the consultants provide through training, workshops, and reference questions and consultations. A systematic effort is taking place so sub‐grants highlight outcomes and emphasize impact captured in the agencies reporting documents.”
QualityMetrics conducted evaluations for 23 states, giving them a unique nationwide perspective on the Grants to States program. Their full evaluation report is available online.
More information about the IMLS Grants to States program and LSTA funding is available online.
Preparing a Five-Year Plan
IMLS requires state libraries to submit a new five-year plan at least three months prior to the end of the previous five-year plan. The LSTAC will plan and implement a needs assessment and a plan development process beginning approximately 12 months before the end of the current plan, to be completed approximately 3 months before the end of the plan. The needs assessment and the development of the new five-year plan will follow the guidelines provided by IMLS.
In general, the new five-year plan will include goals and programs based on the needs assessment determined by the evaluation of the previous five-year plan and will list identified needs for future allotments from IMLS.
Goals will be formed to comply with LSTA purposes as outlined by IMLS.
Programs will be outlined for each goal to meet the need defined by that goal and will include a timeline along with output and outcome targets.
Proposed methods of evaluation of the programs, outputs and outcome measurements, a description of stakeholder involvement, and a description of how the state library proposes to communicate with the library community and the public in order to garner feedback on the LSTA program may be required.
An outline of the methods for monitoring the effectiveness of the five-year plan will also be included. A list of assurances being provided by law will complete the plan.
Evaluating a Five-Year Plan
IMLS requires state libraries to submit an evaluation of their five-year plan in March of the final allotment year of the plan. The LSTAC will plan and implement an evaluation beginning approximately 18 months before the end of the plan, to be completed approximately 6 months before the end of the plan. The evaluation will focus on outcomes as much as possible and follow the guidelines provided by IMLS at that point in time.
Evaluation of projects and programs will be conducted throughout the five-year plan and combined with data from specific five-year plan evaluation activities both to write the evaluation and to provide data for review as part of the needs assessment process of developing the next five-year plan.
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