MPA Major Research Papers

Date of Award


Degree Type

Major Research Paper

Degree Name

Master of Public Administration


Political Science


Martin Horak

Geographical Areas

Brant County, City of Burlington, City of Chatham-Kent, Municipality of Clarington, Town of Grimsby, Haliburton County, Lambton County, City of London, Middlesex County, City of Mississauga, Town of Newmarket, City of Ottawa, Prince Edward County, Township of Russell, City of Sault Ste. Marie, City of St. Catharines, City of St. Thomas, City of Temiskaming Shores, City of Toronto, City of Vaughan, City of Welland, Wellington County


This exploratory research paper looks at how Ontario’s municipal library systems evaluate their maker spaces and programming. The literature review provides context on the purpose and value of libraries, the structure and agency of municipal libraries in Ontario and academic and applied studies of program evaluation. The research seeks to answer four questions: What municipal libraries have maker spaces and what are their characteristics? How have they positioned this service in terms of purpose and value? How have they measured success? What can Ontario’s municipal library systems learn from the evaluation of maker spaces to position themselves for the future? An analysis of 2018 statistical data from the Ministry of Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries in Ontario as well as primary documents from municipal library systems that responded to the research request are used to answer these questions. Ultimately, although outcome based frameworks were found in the literature review, this research finds that few municipal library systems in Ontario consider evaluation of maker spaces beyond participant counts and other inputs. Two examples from Toronto Public Library and Vaughan Public Library were the exceptions in providing promising outcome based frameworks. It is important for municipal library systems to continue to demonstrate their value to their municipal funders through outcome base evaluation, which will ensure they can continue to deliver on the purpose and value of libraries to the communities they serve.