Thursday, October 9, 2008

Surveys and Insights

In the near future we will conduct more patron surveys to gauge the use of our current services, determine what services we may want to add, and to get a better overall picture of the public we serve. There will be one survey done in conjunction with our on line newsletter, and with the help of an intern from Three Rivers Community College we will also actuate an on site survey of patrons. Surveys of both types are extremely valuable aids for better understanding what the public wants in the way of services, and exploring the ways in which the library is used. For example, a recent survey for the Chicago Metropolitan Library System revealed some very interesting pearls of information. Fifty-six percent of patrons spent less than 10 minutes in the library; two-thirds did not know what they wanted before they arrived. Fifteen percent of weekly visitors never borrowed materials from the library. Of those who borrowed materials, 70% checked out books while 51% chose AV materials. Only 12% of patrons viewed library signage, and of those who utilized signage 45% consulted stacks signage (i.e. signs designating the location of books and other materials). I do not know if our results will reflect the same patterns of usage, but the resulting information could be very useful in such functions as allocating financial resources, selecting programs, and identifying confusion points and bottlenecks. As the library evolves these types of information will help us be more responsive to patron needs, and in turn will help engage patrons more effectively.

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