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.