News

Measuring the Impact of Libraries

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In the June 2013 issue of Computers in Libraries, Moe Hosseini-Ara and Rebecca Jones have an article, “Overcoming Our Habits and Learning to Measure Impact.” They highlight 5 issues that libraries struggle with when measuring impact:

1. Libraries do not set targets for their measures.

2. There’s not enough understanding of stakeholders’ value measures.

3. Measures are not viewed as an integral element of services or programs.

4. Value measures are not differentiated from operating measures; outcomes are confused with outputs, which confuses everyone.

5. There’s no clear responsibility for managing measures. 

Are you struggling with any of these issues when trying to measure the impact of your library? Check out the article for practical advice on how to tackle these issues and implement measures that effectively convey your library’s impact.

 

National Public Library Data Updated

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The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) recently updated the “Search for Public Libraries” and “Compare Public Libraries” online tools with the FY2011 PLS unimputed data.

You can find a link to the tools from the PLS main web page at:  http://www.imls.gov/research/public_libraries_in_the_united_states_survey.aspx

The Weekly Number: 425,000+ Coloradans increased their digital literacy skills through the BTOP project

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The BTOP buzz continues! Recently wrapped, the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) awarded more than $4 billion to 233 projects nationwide. ALA’s “U.S. Public Libraries and Broadband Technology Opportunities Program” report highlights state and local library BTOP projects across the country, which served about 20 percent of all U.S. public libraries. Nationally, programs funded by this initiative enhanced workforce centers and resources, broadband adoption, business development, community infrastructure, and digital literacy training opportunities. Colorado’s initiative focused on bridging the digital divide, and over the course of the 2-year grant period, more than 425,000 Coloradans increased their digital literacy skills by taking computer classes or receiving one-on-one instruction.

Want more details? Our evaluation of Colorado’s program is discussed in our Closer Look and Fast Facts reports, as well as in several presentations.

Note: This is the first post in our new series “The Weekly Number.” In this series, we will highlight statistics that help tell the story of the 21st century library.

Pleased Patrons: CTBL Maintains Excellent Service Record

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The Colorado Talking Book Library (CTBL) provides free library services to more than 6,000 patrons who, because of physical, visual, or learning disabilities are unable to read standard print material. In 2012 a survey was given to patrons of CTBL, where they shared their thoughts about the library’s services. Of the 549 patrons who responded to the survey, nearly all (99%) rated their overall experience with CTBL as excellent or good. Respondents also rated a list of eight individual service components highly, especially “courtesy of library staff,” “completeness and condition of books received,” and “speed with which they receive their books” (at least 98% “excellent” or “good” ratings). Across the 5 CTBL patron surveys that have been conducted between 2004 and 2012, patron satisfaction ratings have been consistently high, indicating a sustained level of excellence in library services. For more information, see the Fast Facts and Closer Look Report.

~Monica

New Public Library Data Tools

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We are excited to present a brand new set of tools for interacting with data from our Public Library Annual Survey. The new tools are packed with features, including:

  • Quickly locate data for a single year and statistic group
  • Build custom data sets by specifying years, statistics, libraries, etc.
  • Visualize data using graphs and maps
  • Export data in .csv format

Did you know that Library Research Service now has over 25 years’ worth of public library data available? Our new tools make finding and analyzing this data simple!

Follow me to the new public library interactive tools

New Fast Facts: More Opportunities, Lower Pay: 2012 Insights from Library Jobline

Our new Fast Facts uses data from Library Jobline to evaluate Colorado’s library job climate. In 2012, almost 400 library jobs were posted to Library Jobline, thus marking the third year in a row in which there was an increase in the number of jobs posted. Although there appear to be more opportunities for library-related employment, the starting wages for library jobs posted to Library Jobline have changed little since 2008. Fortunately for job seekers, there was also little change regarding the number of postings that specified requirements or preferences for certain types of experience (e.g., library experience, supervisory experience) or skills (e.g., Spanish fluency).

~Rebecca

BTOP Outcome Evaluation Presentation at the Schools, Health & Libraries Broadband Coalition Annual Conference

Last week I had the pleasure of presenting the results of the BTOP outcome study at the annual conference of the Schools, Health & Libraries Broadband Coalition. My talk covered the following topics:

-Streamlining the process of conducting evaluations, using tools such as a data map, a customized website for collecting data, and accessible instructional materials for survey administration, such as the video that we created to help BTOP computer centers understand the survey administration process,

-Results highlights, and

-the resources we’ve provided to our BTOP computer centers to use their results for program planning, marketing, and advocacy purposes.

Here are the slides:

And, the outcome evaluation report can be found here.

~Linda

 

Slides are now available for our Computers in Libraries presentation

Last week, we presented the results of our study “Web Technologies and User Engagement” at Computers in Libraries. Here are the slides:

A report detailing all of the findings will be available soon–stay tuned!

Join us at Computers in Libraries next week!

Will you be attending Computers in Libraries this year? If so, we hope you’ll join us on Monday, April 8 at 3:15 pm in the International Ballroom West for our presentation, “Web Technologies and User Engagement.” We will share our latest results from our biennial study of the websites of nearly 600 U.S. public libraries, including:

  • which web features, such as sharing interfaces,  virtual reference, and blogs, are most common on U.S. public libraries’ websites as of 2012,
  • the extent to which public libraries use responsive and/or mobile-friendly web design, and
  • public libraries’ integration with various social media networks.

Our discussion will be framed in terms of the implications of these web features for usability and patron engagement.

Learn how to strategically plan and market your library’s computer services based on user profiles at our 4/16 webinar

Are you offering computer assistance in your library – either one-on-one or classes?

Are your open access computers consistently occupied?

Do you wonder what impact these services are having, and how to strategically plan and promote these services?

Join us for:

Knowing Who is Using Your Computer Center: The Key to Savvy Planning & Promotion

Tuesday, April 16

noon – 1 pm

http://connect.enetcolorado.org/btop/  (Please have headset and prepare to participate via chat)

Find out the results of a survey of more than 7,300 public computer center users throughout Colorado, including who is using the computers during open access time, who is taking classes, and how these services are impacting users’ lives.

Discover ways to use these results to better plan and market your services now and in the future.

BTOP libraries that participated in this study by gathering surveys will receive custom reports for your public computer center.

All public library staff are welcome to join and participate.

Presenters: Susan Burkholder, Linda Hofschire, and Sharon Morris of the Colorado State Library

 

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LRS is part of the Colorado State Library, a unit of the Colorado Department of Education. We design and conduct library research for library and education professionals, public officials, and the media to inform practices and assessment needs. We partner with the Library and Information Science program at University of Denver's Morgridge College of Education to provide research fellowships to current MLIS students.

This project is made possible by a grant from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).

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