IMLS & OBE requirements

In an earlier post I make this statement…

Although grantees are not required to conduct OBE on their projects funded through IMLS, organizations are now required to report to Congress in terms of measured outcomes.

But last night I was reading Keith Lance’s 2001 Report “Counting on Results” and he says…

When the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) was passed in 1996, the Institute for Museum and Library Services mandated outcome-based evaluation as part of its grantmaking to public and other types of libraries from LSTA funds.

I checked with IMLS and in answer to the FAQ “Do I have to do this?” they say…

IMLS does not currently require its grantees to conduct outcome-based evaluation, but it supports and encourages it as a valuable management tool. At the same time, IMLS is required to report to Congress in outcome-based terms; we cannot do that without input from you. We consider the consistent use of outcome-based evaluation to be an effective and efficient way for all programs to capture critically important information and to tell their story persuasively. IMLS is gradually strengthening information about outcome-based evaluation in guidelines for its discretionary grant programs and its program for State Library Agencies, and is considering the benefit of making outcome-based evaluation for funded programs a requirement at some future time.

Was OBE an IMLS requirement for public libraries working with LSTA funds in 2001, but is no longer? Or, maybe there’s some nuance between mandate and require. 🙂 Would love whatever light others have to shed on this question…


  1. Chrystie, 22. July 2006, 16:03

    I just realized that IMLS is not necessarily talking about LSTA in their statement on their site. That’s prolly the difference. Still: anyone know the deets on this?

  2. Kathleen de la Pena McCook, 6. August 2006, 8:42

    Take a look at the Government Performance Results Act of 1993
    and the overall MANAGING FOR RESULTS movement–