Since last September I’ve been delivering an evaluation and impact training programme for LIANZA, funded by the New Zealand Libraries Partnership Programme.

Attended by 69 participants from GLAM institutions across the country (I’ve popped the full list below), four interactive training workshops (delivered for three separate cohorts) covered topics including evaluation and research planning, analysis, data collection tools and sharing the story of impact. The aim was to inspire and support participants to work out exactly what they need to monitor, measure what matters, and communicate effectively about the impact their work is having.

Creating a Community of Practice Hui

We didn’t want the participants to simply participate in the training programme and then stop there. So working closely with LIANZA, I designed a Community of Practice Hui (a ‘social gathering’) where participants are supported by their peers to put learning into action with a self-led ‘live mini-project’ over nine months. That period follows a ‘typical’ evaluation or research process from planning, right through to sharing their findings. The purpose is to test and trial evaluation and research approaches in a safe space, foster shared learning and provide networking opportunities. And by ‘evaluation approaches’ I mean participants could be experimenting with new ways to plan their evaluation or exploratory research project; piloting different ways to collect data; trying out a new analysis method; or finding new ways to share their story. Maybe even all of the above!

How it works

A Hui is taking place for each cohort every month from February – July, followed by an opportunity to share learning at a regional Whakamahi in September and the LIANZA 2021 conference in November.

The structure of each Hui and the duration of the entire Community of Practice is loosely based on a combination of Scratch and Design Thinking for Libraries principles (Empathise – Define – Inspire – Ideate – Prototype – Iterate). Each Hui is facilitated and has a particular focus (broadly speaking, see below) and lasts one hour. These monthly sessions give participants the opportunity to ‘check in’ with their fellow cohort members, ask questions, and reflect on their last month of experimentation.

Each session is facilitated so participants have time with the whole cohort, in small groups, and in pairs with a critical friend ‘buddy’ who they work with right from the start. The format is the same each time – reflect and seek inspiration, come up with ideas for what needs to happen next, and go and try that out (ready to report back next time).

Frameworks and plansData collection tools prototype 1Data collection tools prototype 2AnalysisSharing insight/story of impact

This isn’t about committing any budget or creating fully polished processes – the participants are getting ‘scrappy’ with prototyping ideas and trying out new approaches they’ve not used before in their evaluation or research programmes, with a view to ‘scaling up’ in the future based on their learning.

Engaging on Slack

We also identified back in September that it was important for the participants to continue their conversations and share learning outside the training workshops and Community of Practice, so we’ve used Slack to discuss, debate and engage those on the programme since then. We also use a shared Cloud drive for each cohort to host all the resources from each training session, and a reading list which I regularly update based on my experience here in the UK. It’s there to support their work on the Community of Practice whenever they need it.

There’s a huge variety of Community of Practice mini-projects, from exploring particular research objectives with non-users, through to trying out new ways to evaluate existing schemes of work. We’ve got a whole range of different organisations taking part including public libraries, tertiary libraries and parliamentary libraries, plus some galleries, archives and museums too. I can’t wait to see what they learn and share: we’ll be collecting case studies from the organisations taking part and I’ll make sure I share those when they’re published.


This is a new way of working for everyone, so the programme is being evaluated by LIANZA supported by Professor Anne Goulding and Dr Jennifer Campbell-Meier at the School of Information Management, Victoria University of Wellington.

The following organisations are taking part in the programme:

·        Ashburton Public Library
·        Auckland City Art Gallery
·        Auckland Libraries
·        Auckland University of Technology
·        Buller District Libraries
·        Cashmere High School Library
·        Central Hawkes Bay
·        Central Otago District Libraries
·        Christchurch City Libraries
·        Clutha District Libraries
·        Dargaville Public Library
·        Department of Corrections
·        Dunedin Public Libraries
·        Far North District Libraries
·        Hamilton City Council
·        Hamilton City Libraries
·        Hauora Tairawhiti Clinical Library
·        Hewitson Library Presbyterian Research Centre
·        Hutt City Libraries
·        Invercargill City Libraries
·        Kapiti Coast District Libraries
·        Matamata-Piako District Libraries
·        Mental Health Foundation of NZ
·        Napier Library
·        National Library
·        Nelson Public Libraries
·        NZ Law Society Library
·        Open Polytechnic
·        Parliamentary Library
·        Puke Ariki
·        Puke Ariki Libraries
·        Rosehill College Library
·        South Waikato District Libraries
·        South Waikato District Libraries – Tokoroa Public Library
·        Sylvia Park School
·        Tararua District Library
·        Tauranga Library
·        Tonkin & Taylor LTD Library
·        Unitec Library
·        University of Otago
·        Waimakariri Libraries
·        Walsh Memorial Library MOTAT
·        Wellington Medical & Health Sciences Library
·        Westland District Library
·        Wintec Library