Step by Step Guide

  • Go through the Summer @ Your Library website to ensure you know what resources are available to you. Use this checklist to guide you through the process and keep you on track.
  • Let Summer @ Your Library project staff know you’re using the outcome- and outreach-based framework and resources so that we can support you. Ask staff to connect you with a mentor if you have questions or would like advice.
  • Decide as early as possible which of your libraries will use the Summer @ Your Library outcome and outreach framework (if you are part of a large system, it is sometimes easier to implement an OBPE approach in just a few branches at first and then expand to more sites).
  • Nominate one person to coordinate your library’s outcome- and outreach-based summer program and to liaise with Summer @ Your Library project staff.
  • Decide whether your outcome- and outreach-based summer program project manager needs a committee to work with and form the committee if necessary.
  • Develop and disseminate a clear timeline for all participating staff and volunteers.
  • Make staff aware of the outcomes and your new outcome- and outreach-based approach to ensure that programs are designed with the outcomes and with your targeted outreach groups in mind.
  • Use the Summer @ Your Library website to provide staff with:
    • information about the value of outcome- and outreach-based summer programs;
    • the reasons for implementing the chosen outcome measures;
    • help identifying underserved groups and conducting targeted outreach;
    • programming ideas; and
    • information and training on how to collect and report data.
  • Talk with staff about the value of an outcome- and outreach-based approach to summer programs, e.g:
    • the need to be more accountable to funders and decision-makers;
    • the need to be more intentional about services and programming, not just doing what we’ve always done;
    • the value of getting feedback from customers about what works and what doesn’t; and
    • the potential political benefits.
  • Reassure staff that this is outcome evaluation-light and that the project has been designed to be manageable and low-maintenance.
  • Select your outreach subjects and develop plans for reaching out. Ensure that you create and offer programs that are designed to appeal to your targeted group.
  • Set an outreach goal so you know how many underserved community members you are aiming to connect with and engage with the summer program.
  • Plan decorations, programs, passive activities, and promotional activities to create communities of readers and library users, foster connections, and help participants find value and enjoyment at the library.
  • Work with Summer @ Your Library project staff as they set up your online surveys and plan to provide you with reports of your data at the end of the summer.
  • Let Summer @ Your Library project staff know which underserved groups you will be targeting with your outreach efforts and how many people you hope to reach.
  • Determine how your surveys will be distributed, who will set up and run your focus groups, and how you will count how many members of underserved groups participate.
  • Train staff and/or volunteers to administer focus groups and surveys and report their data to you.

Two weeks before the start of the summer program

  • Contact staff to ensure they are comfortable with the outcome- and outreach-based process:
    • be enthusiastic and reassuring;
    • review plans to engage the targeted underserved group;
    • check that staff have the survey forms and focus group questions ready to administer; and
    • check that staff know how to report data to you.

From the beginning of your summer reading program

  • Present your outcome- and outreach-based summer reading programs and activities.

From the middle of your summer reading program

  • Administer surveys
  • Conduct focus groups
  • Count the number of previously-underserved people you reached with the summer program.

Following the summer reading program

  • Collect and collate your data.
  • Report your data to Summer @ Your Library project staff using the online link provided (if your program participants are completing paper surveys and are not responding to surveys online).
  • Receive from Summer @ Your Library project staff your summer program reports summarizing your data.
  • Provide feedback to Summer @ Your Library project staff so that we can improve the outcome and outreach initiative.
  • Follow up with staff to let them know the results of the summer’s efforts and hold a debriefing to identify lessons learned that can be applied in future years. Think about the following questions:
    • What worked? What was difficult? What could be changed to make this better next summer?
    • How will staff maintain the new relationships they have developed with their targeted underserved group?
    • Ask staff to think about what they learnt about the impact of the summer reading program on the patrons who participated in it. How might they change the program to better achieve the desired outcomes?
    • Discuss how you can use your results to improve your summer (and other) programs.
  • Use your results and the reports to promote the library and obtain funding to support programs in the future.