The Institute of Museum and Library Service’ Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation (OPRE) supports the agency in its efforts to create strong libraries and museums that connect people to information and ideas.  OPRE is organized to execute three key functions:  policy research, program evaluation and data collection. 

The office is currently managing three evaluations of IMLS programs, the Grants to States Program, Museums for America Program and the Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program.  In addition the office is overseeing four national data collection efforts:  the Public Libraries in the United States Survey, State Library Agency Survey, the Museums Count collections and a national household survey to gauge the use of museums and library services among the American public.

OPRE’s functions are detailed in Section 9108 of the general provisions of the IMLS’ authoring legislation, which states that the policy research, analysis, and data collection shall be conducted in ongoing collaboration (as determined appropriate by the Director), and in consultation, with – (1) State library administrative agencies; (2) national, State, and regional library and museum organizations; (3) other relevant agencies and organizations.

The legislation further states that the policy research, analysis, and data collection shall be used to – (1) identify national needs for and trends in museum, library, and information services; (2) measure and reports on the impact and effectiveness of museum, library, and information services throughout the United States, including the impact of Federal programs authorized under this Act; (3) identify best practices; and (4) develop plans to improve museum, library and information services of the United States and to strengthen national, State, local, regional, and international communications and cooperative networks.

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