This shouldn’t be surprising, but I love data. I love being able to look at data and see what it tells me about libraries, collections and more.
The last three months (well six) I have been surrounded by wonderful projects where I get to turn data into information that is useful for my library. Like using provincial and national data to answer questions about library ebooks and website usage.
Even today I was able to massage some results into lovely charts. There is nothing quite like taking a pile of cells in Excel and turning them into information that can be used to tell a story.
A story like the West Vancouver Memorial Library’s 2015 Onsite & Website Visitor Survey. We were able to get a snapshot of library user needs and usage.
But, I understand that dealing with data is not everyone’s cup of tea.
Tips for Dealing with Surveys and Data
- Plan ahead for content: what do you want to learn? All questions should lead to this goal.
- Plan ahead for time needed: for the hours to write, revise, offer, analyse, report
- Test your survey: get someone not you to take the survey and
- Set goals for responses: but you will likely be surprised (in either direction)
- Analyse thoughtfully: Most times you will need an average or a simple “% of [population] said they found the [service] valuable”
- Charts are useful: they can distill a lot of information into a simple visual representation.
- Don’t forget that it is only a snapshot, a moment in time.
Some Helpful Resources:
- Templates for Library User Surveys
- Survey Guidelines from Survey Monkey
- the University of North Texas’ course on Statistics for Librarians [YouTube]
- Piktochart makes awesome infographics as easy as a PowerPoint