The City of Wanneroo began using Culture Counts to evaluate its library services in 2015. Working with Culture Counts, the city libraries conduct an annual survey to measure the value and impact of their services for the community.
Relevant metrics include sense of safety, connected and relevance. These metrics speak directly to the priorities of City Leaders and Elected Members, helping the library services team not only articulate their value, but understand how they can better serve the interests of their community.
Culture Counts supports the City Libraries Team through:
- The ongoing delivery and evaluation training support to use the Culture Counts Evaluation Platform
- Delivery of an annual summary reports that captures data collected by the team with insights provided by Culture Counts
- Resourcing the Public Libraries Evaluation Network, which gives the City of Wanneroo the opportunity to benchmark their services in comparison to their peers and libraries with similar characteristics.
Evaluation has demonstrated that libraries are a core council and community service and are seen as important cultural resource that champion the idea of community connectedness and live-long learning.
“Traditionally libraries have been pretty good at capturing the busy work…it doesn’t tell the story of the value that libraries add to people’s lives.”Sue North, City of Wanneroo Read the interview
The City of Wanneroo Libraries team required a cost effective evaluation and monitoring tool that could help them measure the outcomes of their activities and demonstrate how they aligned with the strategic goals of the council.
Working with Culture Counts, the City of Wanneroo Libraries team developed an evaluation framework that contained a consistent set of metrics that spoke to the interests of the various team members, as well as aligned to the strategic priorities of council. This set of metrics, known as ‘dimensions’ in Culture Counts, sought to measure outcomes and perspectives such as visitor’s sense of safety, sense of connectedness and the relevance of the services on offer at the library.
With these dimensions selected, a survey template was developed for the library team members that was then distributed to library members, as well as displayed on a tablet at the front desk. This survey collected responses throughout the year, at which point Culture Counts would aggregate the data collected and provide the library team with a summary Online Insights Report that presented all their survey data in a single convenient format.
The City of Wanneroo Libraries team continued to refine and add to their evaluation approach, with continued support from the Culture Counts team. With the rollout of the Public Libraries Evaluation Network (PLEN), much of these other evaluation types were formalised, including new survey templates to evaluation specific library activities or events, an ‘always-on’ library visitors survey, a staff and peers survey and a library statistics survey, for integration into the PLEN Online Dashboard.
The City of Wanneroo have become experienced Culture Counts users and advocates of outcomes-based evaluation in library settings. The libraries team have continued to deliver programming and services that are of relevant to community members. Key successes according to public feedback include author talks, digital learning and social and educational activities.
As one of Western Australia largest growing council areas, the City of Wanneroo is host to a diverse community of young families, new migrants and a rapidly changing environment. The City’s commitment to some of the highest reporting standards has seen it win the Australiasian Reporting Award in 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020. The Wanneroo Libraries commitment to best practice-evaluation and reporting will ensure its services remain relevant for its growing community and continue to create lasting impact.
Public Libraries Evaluation Network
A cooperative data-collection initiative for libraries to easily report their individual impact and advocate for their collective value.