In Italy, public state libraries are multi-product organizations preserving ancient books of great historical relevance for future generations, and providing divisible services to the public. Hence, they may undertake different activities for conservation and use, which together constitute a network. This paper shows the importance of considering multi-process interactions in evaluating the overall performance of public state libraries and focuses on library operations and their sub-processes. It uses a network two-stage Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA) approach to examine the relationship between the libraries' basic inputs, intermediate outputs and final outputs. The main result is that Italian public state libraries generally perform better in the first stage of conservation, but score poorly in the second stage of use. Some policy advice to improve the decision-making process follow.

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Keywords Efficiency, Historical collections, Network service estimator, Public state libraries, Trade-off
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Journal Socio-Economic Planning Sciences
Guccio, C, Mignosa, A, & Rizzo, I. (Ilde). (2018). Are public state libraries efficient? An empirical assessment using network Data Envelopment Analysis. Socio-Economic Planning Sciences. doi:10.1016/j.seps.2018.01.001