Researching Communities to Prepare for the Future

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One of the presentations shared during the 2010 ALA Annual meeting. The program hosted by LLAMA - MAES was called " Myth Busting: Using Data to Challenge Assumptions".

Speaker:
Mary Wilkins Jordan, Simmons College, Assistant Professor

Presentation:
Researching Communities to Prepare for the Future, Illinois State Library LSTA Grant Report, Lewis and Clark Library System

Program abstract:
What services are actually valued by your users? Which online resources are good investments? Is texting the best way to reach your young adults? Libraries often hold false assumptions or beliefs which have not been challenged with actual data. Find out how different libraries have used data to challenge their assumptions and long-held beliefs.

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Researching Communities to Prepare for the Future

  1. 1. Researching Communities to Prepare for the Future Illinois State Library LSTA Grant Report Lewis and Clark Library System Mary Wilkins Jordan Assistant Professor, Simmons College [email_address]
  2. 2. The Back-story… <ul><li>In this study, we wanted to find competencies which would help public libraries to be successful. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>We recruited partner libraries from around the state, then went to their communities and talked to people. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>We supplemented this with statewide and national surveys. </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. Q Method <ul><li>Q-methodology allows researchers to quantify the qualitative opinions of the research participants. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>gives researchers an interesting take on the variables being examined </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>can lead to a more complete understanding of the data </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. Q Method results <ul><li>We found three groups of patrons: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Traditional Library Users </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Information Innovation Library Users </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Service-Oriented Library Users </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Top five patron desires: <ul><li>Staff are friendly and knowledgeable </li></ul><ul><li>Things are easy to find in the library </li></ul><ul><li>Library as a safe place for kids and teens </li></ul><ul><li>Library services are handicapped accessible </li></ul><ul><li>Cultural programs and exhibits </li></ul>
  6. 6. Part Two: Staff Survey <ul><li>Services library staff felt least ready to offer included: </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Programs in languages other than English </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Library podcasts </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Library MySpace and Facebook pages </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Training in creating a blog or wiki </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Services library staff felt most ready to offer included: </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Library open evenings and weekends </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Training in basic computer skills </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Things easy to find in the library </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Programs targeted at kids, adults, and seniors </li></ul></ul></ul>
  7. 7. Part Three: Survey Comparison <ul><li>Open evenings and weekends: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Staff survey: Yes 99.3% No 0.7% </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>IL Public Library Directors: Yes 98.0% No 2.0% </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Nationwide Public Library Directors: Yes 95.7% No 4.3% </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Programs in languages other than English: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Staff survey: Yes 9.2% No 90.8% </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>IL Public Library Directors: Yes 7.8% No 92.2% </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Nationwide Public Library Directors: Yes 21.1% No 78.9% </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. Conclusion: Goals <ul><li>an increased emphasis on providing and defining competencies for public libraries </li></ul><ul><li>a great sharing of ideas among libraries </li></ul><ul><li>more research being done to help meet the needs of public libraries </li></ul>
  9. 9. Researching Communities to Prepare for the Future Illinois State Library LSTA Grant Report Lewis and Clark Library System Mary Wilkins Jordan Assistant Professor, Simmons College [email_address]

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