surveys

How to Discover What Your Community Really Wants

Community members participating in a discussion

Editor's Note: It is vital that public libraries understand the needs and interests of their communities and patrons to stay relevant in the 21st century. That's easy to say, but hard to do. Online and paper surveys are a common tool for this, but they have limitations. The main limitation of the survey approach is that it generally avoids direct interaction between a library and its community members or member-to-member interactions.

WebJunction has addressed this by compiling an astonishingly rich resource describing other useful techniques for finding out what your local community wants called a Basket of Discovery Tools. We like it so much that we reprint it here with permission from WebJunction to ensure that this great resource gets the widest possible attention.

PLA's Project Outcome — Results in Action

PLA's Project Outcome

Editor's Introduction

Samantha Lopez works on the Public Library Association's (PLA's) Project Outcome. Project Outcome is a free online toolkit designed to help public libraries understand and share the impact of essential library services and programs. The toolkit offers simple surveys and an easy-to-use process for measuring and analyzing outcomes. Project Outcome also provides libraries with the resources and training needed to apply their results and confidently advocate for their library's future. We want to raise awareness about this excellent free resource by showing a bit of what it can do.

This article is an excerpt of a larger piece by PLA's expert in measuring library outcomes, Samantha Lopez. It first appeared in PLA's Public Libraries magazine (PDF) and is reprinted here by permission of the author and PLA.

Asking Your Community about Technology Needs

A big thank you to Sam Becker for providing an introduction to the Impact Survey today. And thank you to Gretchen Pruett for sharing her experiences with the Impact Survey and the Edge Initiative at the New Braunfels Public Library (TX). If you missed the session, you will be glad to know it was recorded. Feel free to share the recording with others!

Asking Your Community for Feedback

Conducting a needs assessment can sound intimidating, but if you break it down into small opportunities for conversations, you’ll be surprised by how much information you can gather. In this article, Mitchell Community Public Library director Alexis Caudell shares her advice and experiences.