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Community Assessment for Eurekans Dr. Cindy Mediavilla Library Programs Consultant Friday, February 21, 2014 12 Noon Pacific.

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Presentation on theme: "Community Assessment for Eurekans Dr. Cindy Mediavilla Library Programs Consultant Friday, February 21, 2014 12 Noon Pacific."— Presentation transcript:

1 Community Assessment for Eurekans Dr. Cindy Mediavilla Library Programs Consultant Friday, February 21, Noon Pacific

2 Why is community assessment important? To start our conversation, Type your thoughts into the chat box.

3 Community Community = Target population the library exists to serve

4 Community assessments Should always be conducted from the community’s – not the library’s – point of view

5 Why conduct community assessments? Tell us which new library services and programs are needed Inform collection development Often required as part of grant applications

6 Why grants require “needs statements” Grants should always be written to resolve a problem Funders want to provide services to meet community needs

7 Developing a community assessment strategy Why assess the community? Which population(s)? Which data already exist? Barriers to assessment? Which methodologies?

8 Assessment techniques Let’s take a Poll

9 Environmental scans Background data that already exist Help put other data into context Should probably be conducted first before other data-gathering techniques

10 External data about the community Demographics Economic conditions Community setting Technological sophistication Sociocultural realities

11 Internal data about the library Organizational history and culture Service priorities Human and “non-human” assets Technology infrastructure Sources of support

12 Tips for successful environmental scans Use the forms List sources of information gathered

13 Observation Formal study of events and/or activities as they occur Confirm or deny participants’ perceptions Collect unspoken data that might never be revealed otherwise

14 Types of data collected through observation Participant behavior in a given situation Steps of a particular process How long it takes to accomplish a task Traffic patterns inside/outside the library How activities change over time

15 Tips for successful observations Try to be unobtrusive Take notes Spend time observing Observe and compare activities

16 Key informant interviews One-on-one interviews with key community leaders Identify target community’s areas of concern and interest May provide access to other community members

17 Tips for successful key informant interviews Go to them Send questions beforehand Build rapport before interviewing Focus on community needs/interests, not the library Take notes

18 Surveys Usually anonymous method to get direct input from target population More than one way to conduct Relatively easy to administer and tabulate Questions elicit specific feedback

19 Tips for successful surveys The shorter the better Use simple language One concept per question Don’t use too many question styles Test surveys before administering

20 Focus groups Moderated but unstructured small group discussions to elicit input on specific topic(s) May be used to help design surveys and/or provide follow-up information Not anonymous May create false expectations Often difficult to tabulate

21 Tips for successful focus groups Homogeneous groups of 6-10 participants 5-7 questions maximum minutes Provide an incentive to participate Record discussion and take notes

22 Common assessment mistakes and how to avoid Not knowing the target population well enough beforehand Biased instruments/techniques Focus on library and on not the community Ignored non-users

23 Using assessment data to justify a grant need Funders want to know how their money will be used to help the community Cite findings that have informed your grant project Triangulate!

24 Questions?

25 Thank you

26 Infopeople webinars are supported in part by the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act, administered in California by the State Librarian. This material is licensed under a Creative Commons 3.0 Share & Share-Alike license. Use of this material should credit the author and funding source.


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