Public libraries are constantly evaluating the quality of their services. From book lending to 3D printing, libraries offer a host of valuable services which strive to meet the needs of 21st century users.

The 'How Good Is Our Public Library Service?' (HGIOPLS) framework helps public libraries demonstrate the quality of these services and the impact they have on communities. It sits alongside Ambition & Opportunity, the public library strategy for Scotland, and the Public Library Improvement Fund as the cornerstones of developing and enhancing Scotland’s public libraries.  

Introduced in 2014, the HGIOPLS framework takes into account the changing environment in which public libraries currently operate. It focuses on planning, service delivery and continuous improvement in much the same way as other quality frameworks such as 'How Good Is Our Culture and Sport?' as well as 'How Good Is Our School?'



HGIOPLS is designed for public library managers and staff to evaluate the quality and effectiveness of their service provision. They can then identify areas for improvement and develop an improvement action plan.

The framework focuses on planning, service delivery and continuous improvement. It uses five Quality Indicators (QIs) as a means of self-evaluation.

The Five Quality Indicators
Number Quality Indicator Theme
Quality Indicator 1 Access to Information
Quality Indicator 2 Readers' Experience
Quality Indicator 3 Learning Culture
Qualiy Indicator 4 Individual & Community Engagement
Quality Indicator 5 Vision, Strategy & Continuous Improvement

You will find everything you need to implement a quality improvement plan in our HGIOPLS Toolkit. The toolkit includes guidance on the framework as well as self-evaluation, planning and report templates.  

The self-evalutation template allows teams to gather all the different elements involved in an evaluation in one place. It can also be used as a guide in a preliminary self-evaluation session.

All the outcomes of the self-evaluation process can then be put into the final report template and shared with peer reviewers. This template is a working document where library services can record the progress and outcomes of the self-evaluation process.

The Peer Review Process

Peer review is an effective quality-improvement mechanism widely used in many self-evaluation procedures. Reviewers act as part of the evaluation team. They consider the self-evaluation report, visit the library service and examine the evidence.

The process is an integral aspect of HGIOPLS. By inviting knowledgeable professionals to act as a ‘critical friend’, library services benefit from an informed and impartial assessment.   

Support for Peer Reviewers

Guidance for peer reviewers can be found in the HGIOPLS toolkit. SLIC has appointed a number of convenors to chair HGIOPLS peer reviews. They act as representatives of the Scottish Library and Information Council to ensure consistency and reliability.