Presentation on theme: "Rachel G. Rubin BEXLEY PUBLIC LIBRARY Enlighten Engage Inspire"— Presentation transcript:
1 Rachel G. Rubin BEXLEY PUBLIC LIBRARY Enlighten Engage Inspire Engagement through evaluation: understanding and using data to connect to your community Everyday Advocacy 4/25/2013Rachel G. RubinBEXLEY PUBLIC LIBRARYEnlighten Engage Inspire
2 Evaluation vs. assessment Focused on making a judgment about qualityTo document achievement against set standardsAssessment:Measures performance in order to produce feedback for improvementNon-judgmentalEvaluation: (grant? Pre/post test for SRC?)1. Final to gauge quality2. What’s been done/learned3. Externally imposed standards4. Judgmental– overall score or gradeAssessment:1. Ongoing to improve2. Process—how’s it going? Take the temperature3. Reflective– internally defined criteria/goals4. ID areas for improvement5. Adjust measures as problems are clarified
3 Between 2011 and 2012, the number of kids with Bexley Public Library cards increased 14%. Some smiles?
4 Lots of smiles.A word about data. Remember that ultimately in libraries, the data is about human beings, because our missions are about human beings. Even though the mission and goals of an academic library or a school library are not necessarily the same as a public library’s, the principals of data collection and advocacy are the same. So two most important drivers: Mission and People
5 The number of kids with Bexley Public Library cards increased 14% from Sometimes you need both.If you’re going to advocate, you have to know what will have the most impact. For many stakeholders, it may be a combination of reason and emotion.Emotion trumps reason more often than you might think. If you want people to feel engaged, you need to grab their emotions. For public libraries, that may mean children. For academic libraries, it may be connected to student achievement. At the end of the day, you need data to back up your assertions, but using emotions helps!The number of kids with Bexley Public Library cards increased 14% from
6 Why collect data? Why do we collect data? To tell our stories better To help us improve our own performance by creating internal measures of success (assessment) (Why did the number of kids with cards go up?)To compare where we are against benchmarks set by other institutions (evaluation)Because we have to (SLO, IMLS)WHO IS THE DATA FOR? Know your audience. With whom are you trying to connect? To whom are you advocating? (Are you advocating on behalf of your patrons/constituents or on behalf of your library?)
7 Pew, oclc, imls, oh my!Pew Internet and American Life Project: LibrariesOCLCALAImpact Research:State of America’s Libraries:There is a lot of information out there already about what library patron behaviors, wants, and needs. Schools– NCES. These are mostly for public libraries, and I’m sure you’re all familiar with the sources (you’re all librarians) to find out information about general trends in your library type.
8 National trends, local impact 91% of Americans ages 16 and older say public libraries are important to their communitiesJust 22% say they know all or most of the services their libraries offer now“Library Services in the Digital Age”National trends keep you thinking. Do national trends matter when you’re trying to connect to your local community? Sure. Should libraries focus on this based on this information. Probably. But be smart about it. Many factors come to play in how national data translates locally, but it can help to frame the ways you seek to engage your own communities or structure your own data collection efforts. Maybe this is something you want to probe in your own community.DemographicsEconomicsEducationTechnology adoption and access
9 Loco for localLet’s say you want to collect data in your community. For the purposes of this presentation we’re focusing on collecting data for advocacy and for driving services and communications that connect to your community.
10 Ready, fire, aim What do you want to know? Does the data you’re collecting answer the questions you need to answer?What will you do with the information?Do you need help?We do this a lot in libraries-- We LOVE surveys and think they will solve all of our problems. Form AND substance are important.Before you dash off a survey, make sure that you have figured out what it is that you want to know. Is a survey the best way to answer the question? Is a survey really the best way to get at the issue? If so, do the questions you’re asking answer the right question? You might actually need focus groups or maybe a interviews with community leaders or important stakeholders?Universities often have research departments that can help with data collection. Many times libraries can do basic data collection on their own, but partnerships with other non-profits, local universities, etc, depending on what you’re looking for, can also be helpful. Again, depending on what you’re going for, you can also buy some pre-packaged data collection instruments. Library Journal Patron Profiles.
11 Counting opinionsSome survey instruments are already made for you– this is a satisfaction survey that runs on our website all the time.Most public and school libraries don’t have the expertise on hand to do survey design and data collection and analysis. If you want to do a large scale project, you can work with a company like Counting Opinions, or other firms that do in-depth community engagement surveys.How big do you need this to be? Are you just looking for how people feel about your programs? Or are you looking for larger scale community needs assessments?
12 Counting Opinions Local Data Collection Dashboard tells us where we are and will compare us to othersOn a scale of 1-10, Bexley Public Library patrons report an average:Satisfaction with staff of 9.05Average “importance” of 9.18Average “likely to reuse” score of 9.45An average “recommend to others” score of 9.21
13 Business decisionMuch more information than from the census (although the census is also a good start, .) From a few years ago– BD uses ESRI data. Exports graphically, does market segmentation– what are people interested in? etc. Can be very useful, but not library centric.
14 In-house Evaluation forms Ongoing Feedback Surveys and Focus Groups “Did this program/service/training/class meet your expectations?”Ongoing Feedback“Tell us how we’re doing!”Surveys and Focus GroupsInformal/Anecdotal
15 In-houseThis is the most underemphasized skill in data gathering. Listen to what people are telling you with their actions, their words, and their data.
16 AdvocateData collection is advocacy. Advocacy happens when you communicate effectively.-Infographics-Letters to the editor-Facts-PicturesWho is your audience?
18 Advocacy tools Library Advocate’s Handbook Advocacy University Advocacy UniversityLAH: is a .pdfAU: is a list of resources to help you be a better advocate
19 connectUse what you learn and hear to improve your services. Sometimes the best advocacy technique is just to do great work. Demonstrate that you’re listening. Be responsive to the changing needs and demographics of the people you serve.But don’t underestimate the value of being prepared and of know why something came to be. Your decisions should be backed up with evidence, whenever possible, even if it’s not from a survey or it can’t be quantified.
20 Ask the right questions. Don’t collect data for data collection’s sake. If you’re going to gather your own data, first you need to ask the right questions:Can be very basic:How many more children attend our programming than last year?Can be more complex:How have the demographics of my community/classroom/student body changed in the last five years? What do they want or need from library services?What information does my legislator need so that she does not cut our funding?What programs does my community value the most?
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