Libraries and efficiency : adaptation of the System Potency indicator of the Secaba-Rank methodology to meet the new needs of a changing society

Objective: This study has two objectives. The first is to create a new configuration for the System Potency indicator from the Secaba-Rank methodology, which includes measures related to the budget, loans, visits, Internet use and attendance at cultural activities in libraries. The results are then used to obtain information on the efficiency of Spanish public libraries. The second objective is to compare and analyse the results of the ranks based on the new measures of the System Potency indicator. The overall aim is to assess the measurement of the efficiency of libraries in the context of a changing society.

Methodology: With regard to the first objective, the method is the adaptation of the System Potency indicator of the Secaba-Rank methodology. This indicator, which has been previously used to analyse efficiency in both Spanish public and university libraries, reports libraries’ outputs and inputs and obtains information on their efficiency. The new System Potency indicator takes into account activities of libraries such as loans, visits, Internet use and attendance at cultural activities. The comparison between the ranks generated for each dimension and the rank based on the total System Potency indicator is carried out by calculating the Spearman's rho correlation coefficient.

Results: The results show that the Secaba-Rank methodology is suitable for studying the efficiency of libraries according to their current role, especially in the analyses comparing loans and visits; Internet use and total efficiency; and attendance at cultural activities and total efficiency. Finally, the results for total efficiency (considering the relationship between the budget and loans, visits, use of the Internet and the attendance at cultural activities), indicate that four systems in Spain were inefficient (Catalonia, Valencia, Andalusia and the Basque Country), while the rest were efficient.