The Potential of Generic Social Outcomes in Promoting the Positive Impact of the Public Library: Evidence from the National Year of Reading in Yorkshire

Carolynn Rankin



Objective – To present the development, planning and implementation of a qualitative research project on the impact of National Year of Reading in Yorkshire.

Methods – Generic Social Outcomes (GSO) were used to develop a theoretical framework. Data were gathered via in-depth interviews and focus groups with National Year of Reading (NYR) steering group partners in Calderdale and North Lincolnshire, selected as the two case study authorities. The use of MAXQDA computer-assisted qualitative data analysis software (CAQDAS) enabled data and coding structures to be stored and facilitated comparison in this longitudinal study.

Results – The findings using the GSO framework show considerable evidence of NYR related activities in supporting the three first-tier social outcomes: ‘Stronger and Safer Communities’, ‘Health and Well-Being’ and ‘Strengthening Public Life.’

Conclusion – The GSO framework can be used by practitioners to help provide evidence for how public libraries contribute to diverse agendas and demonstrate their value to the community. Public library authorities can use this evidence for planning and for advocacy with a range of audiences including local and central government.


public libraries; National Year of Reading; Generic Social Outcomes; advocacy; social impact; social capital

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