To collect your data, use our brief surveys, hold focus groups, and count the number of community members who participate in your summer program as a result of your targeted outreach efforts. Our data collection methods ensure that the project can be implemented manageably by staff and that the project will generate valuable data:
- Surveys are easy for staff to distribute and collate, and the results can easily be tabulated to clearly show the impact of the library’s summer programs.
- Counting is also simple. This data collection method is more like that of output measures. However, it will help you illustrate that the library-related behavior of your targeted group changed and demonstrate whether or not your outreach efforts were successful
- The focus groups generate rich data that complement and enhance the survey data and allow staff to focus on specific topics of discussion with the targeted groups and find out how patrons are responding to your efforts to build a community of readers and foster connections, and how you can continue to design library services that appeal and are relevant to underserved populations.
Guidelines for Issuing Surveys Successfully
- We have designed four surveys for libraries to use for this project: one each for the parents and caregivers of early learners, children, teens, and adults.
- The surveys are available for download from our website and available electronically as a SurveyMonkey link, into which patrons, staff, and volunteers can enter responses.
- Each survey includes a brief list of questions that have been designed to generate data that will demonstrate the value and impact of your summer program. You can use the combined results you receive to demonstrate that your patrons feel part of a community of readers and library users, feel connected, and find value and enjoyment at the library. You can also use responses you receive to individual questions to gather quantitative data about the value of your program, e.g., responses showing that your patrons enjoyed the summer program and will return to the library.
- The surveys are intentionally brief to keep all questions on one page and encourage patrons to respond to them. Libraries are welcome to add their own questions to either survey, but your questions should come after and should not replace the questions designed by the California librarians who have developed the initiative. We recommend keeping your surveys brief and to one page.
- If you hand out printed surveys, customize them with your library’s logo and local information so that they are legitimate to your patrons.
- Administer the surveys from the middle of the summer program onwards. Ensure that your patrons have had time to participate in the summer program before asking them to fill out a survey.
- Please feel free to collect your survey data however works best for you – either by using paper surveys or placing your survey online. However you collect your data, please remember to submit your results to the Summer @ Your Library project. Libraries that hand out paper surveys tend to get higher response rates than those who only ask patrons to take the survey online.
- Please remember that (with the exception of the surveys for caregivers of early learners) the surveys have been designed to obtain feedback from the people (children, teens, or adults) who took part in the summer program. They are not designed to get a parent’s view of a child’s experience of the program. Here are some tips on getting feedback using the surveys:
- [For children] Ask children if they want to fill out the form by themselves or whether they want someone to fill it out for them (in essence, someone to interview them). If they opt for being interviewed, any library staff person or volunteer, including a teen volunteer, may perform that service.
- [For children] Parents may help younger children fill out the forms as long as they understand that the answers must be the child’s own responses.
- Tell respondents that the library is trying to learn more about how children/teens feel about reading and the library.
- [If you are using paper surveys] Ask respondents to fill out the form and leave it in a designated spot before they leave the library.
- Plan to collect at least 100 survey responses. The conventional wisdom in the data-gathering world is that 100 responses for a survey is the magic number for being able to assert that you have reliable results. This is true whether you are using a good sample or surveying the entire population. For the summer program surveys, you have two options.
- Ask each outlet to survey the first 100 children and/or teens who “complete” the program. This will give each library fairly reliable results about the participants in that outlet.
- OR If your jurisdictions and/or branches are small, aim for 100 responses to each survey from the library jurisdiction as a whole, with each outlet submitting a percentage of the surveys. For example, if two branches are participating, ask each to return 50 completed surveys to the coordinator. If ten branches are participating, ask each to return 10 completed surveys. In this case, the results will reflect responses for the entire system and will not give you reliable data about individual branches.
- You may always ADD to the desired number of responses and increase the reliability of the results. But you should not rely on the results from fewer than 100 responses.
- Collate your results at the end of the summer and submit them to Summer @ Your Library project staff by the designated date.