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7,765
Public Respondents
15
Outcome Metrics
644
Responses
4
Surveys

Contents

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Background

City Library

City Library provides a range of accessible services to the local community. City Library operates over three branches: North, South and, East. Not only is the library a place where members of the public can access books and other media, the library also hosts educational and social events to engage and enrich the community.

Public Libraries Evaluation Network Project

The City Library has participated in Culture Counts' Public Libraries Evaluation Network (PLEN) since 2019. PLEN is a nationwide initiative designed to better understand and illustrate the vital outcomes generated by libraries. Libraries that partake in the network used Culture Counts to survey public users of the library and event attendees. Each survey contained nine ‘dimension’ questions, asking the respondent about their experience. Feedback was collected on library use, performance, personal and community outcomes from public users of the library.

Evaluation Methodology

City Library distributes a Library Use and Outcomes survey to its membership database once per year. The survey is sent via email and asks members questions regarding; library awareness, learning, and application; outcomes; open text questions; and user demographics. This is a PLEN methodology and the resulting data aligns with

The Library also used Culture Counts to create and distribute three event surveys throughout the year. Surveys were collected via intercept interviews following each session.

In total, 644 responses were collected from public attendees via intercept interview and through a link provided online.

Each survey contained a range of ‘dimension’ questions, asking members of the public about their experience at City Library and their program. These dimensions have been developed and tested in collaboration with industry, practitioners, and academics to measure the impact and value of arts and cultural events and activities.

Dimensions used in the Library Use and Outcomes survey aligned with Appropriate dimensions were chosen based on their alignment with City Library's strategic objectives.

Library Use and Outcomes Survey (PLEN)
DomainDimensionDimension Statement
CulturalCreativityThe library has helped me be more creative in my own life and work
LearningThe library has helped me to enjoy learning
LiteracyMy library experience has encouraged me to read more
SocialConnectionThe library has encouraged me to become more engaged in the community
Digital ConnectionThe library helps me to be more digitally connected to others
Safe and TrustedI feel safe and welcome when using the library service
Time With ChildrenThe library encourages me to spend more quality time with my children
QualityRelevanceThe library is changing in ways that increase its relevance for me
RoleThe library is an important part of the place where I live
EconomicEnterpriseThe library has helped me to improve the success of my business
SkillsThe library service has enabled me to learn and gain new skills
Event Outcomes Assessment
DomainDimensionDimension Statement
SocialAccessIt gave me the opportunity to access cultural activities
CivicBelongingIt helped me feel part of the community
CulturalChallengeIt challenged me to think in a different way
CreativityIt inspired my own creativity
LearningI learned something new
QualityRigourIt was well thought through and put together

Dimensions are assessed on a Likert scale, in which respondents move a slider to a point that indicates whether they agree or disagree with the dimension statement. An example of a dimension question in the Culture Counts survey tool is presented below.

likert scale example
Unsplash — Photo: Ciprian Boiciuc

Community Profile

Demographics

Users from all branches of the City Library database were asked a selection of demographic questions, to help the library learn their member and visitor characteristics. This enables results to be filtered by demographic to see how different groups use the library and their programs. Respondents were asked to provide their age, gender, and identity.

The following charts show the proportion of Library Use and Outcomes survey responses captured for each of the age, gender, and identity demographic questions.

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Insights

The largest age group of respondents was the over 60 bracket (40%), followed by those aged 20-29 (19%). These two groups made up the majority of the total sample size. Respondents in the under 20 bracket made up 3% of the sample. The majority of respondents were female (69%), with 29% identifying as male and 2% identifying their gender in another way.

35% of the sample indicated that they were born overseas and 17% identified as having a disability. 14% of respondents identified as LGBTIQ+ and 12% mainly spoke a language other than English. 6% were of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander background. 53% of the sample did not identify with the options provided.

Unsplash — Photo: Devon Divine

Location and Postcode

Library Use and Outcomes survey respondents were asked to provide their current postcode. This data identifies the demographic sample of people who responded to the survey and took part in the event. It enables data to be matched to the wider population and responses to be filtered to understand differences in demographics.

The following charts show the proportion of survey responses captured for respondents' identified living location and top postcode results.

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Insights

Mount Beerie was the most commonly cited postcode (16.4%), followed by Wydu (14.9%), Lakeratoclare Creek (12.2%), and Port Ncolna (12.2%). This indicates that users of City Library travel from various locations to use the library facilities and services.

Unsplash — Photo: Gabriel Sollmann

Membership

In order to understand overall membership loyalty, respondents were asked if they were a member of the City Library network. This question indicates how membership influences library use but also identifies the potential for membership base growth.

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Insights

Of library user respondents, 88% were current members of the City Library. 12% of respondents were not members which show the potential for City Library to grow its membership base, by contacting people that are already accessing the library.

Unsplash — Photo: Adam Winger

Library Use

Respondents to the Library Use and Outcomes survey were asked to indicate which library branches they used. They were also asked to indicate the last time that they accessed City Library services. This provides information about the most used branches, frequency of use and customer loyalty.

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The North Branch (47%) was the most used branch followed by East (41%) then South (22%). 16% of respondents don't use any of the City Library branches. The majority (57%) of respondents had accessed City Library services within the last month, 2% had used the services within the last week. 25% had accessed services in the last six months and 9% in the last year. 6% of respondents said they hadn't accessed library services in over a year.

Over half of the sample (65%) had used the library facilities in the last 12 months, 14% attended an event and 10% accessed services online from home.

Unsplash — Photo: Ryunosuke Kikuno

Library Outcomes

Outcome Averages

Survey respondents moved a slider to indicate whether they agreed or disagreed with the included dimension statements in relation to their library use. The following charts contain the response data for 'public' responses, showing the average result for each dimension.

The Culture Counts platform provides various methods to capture survey responses at a minimal marginal cost. Achieving larger samples enables organisations to be more confident about the average results and that opinions of the survey respondents are representative of all attendees. The accompanying margin of error chart shows the expected differences for the associated dimension results calculated at a 95% confidence level.

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Insights

Of all dimensions measured, 'Learning' (85/100), 'Safe and Trusted' (82/100), and 'Digital Connection' (77/100) received the highest scores on average, indicating that respondents were most likely to agree that City Library has helped them to enjoy learning, feel safe and welcome when using the library service and helped them to be more digitally connected to others. 'Creativity' (76/100) and 'Literacy' (76/100) also scored particularly highly, demonstrating that respondents were also likely to agree that City Library helps people be more creative in their lives and work and their library experience has encouraged them to read more.

At a 95% confidence interval, the margin of error for dimensions ranged from 1.7% to 2.2%. This means that we can be 95% confident that if we surveyed the entire visitor population the average score for 'Literacy' would fall within 2.2% of the average generated by the sample.

Margins of error under 5% are considered reasonable representations of the opinion of the population. As the margin of error is below 5%, this sample can be deemed statistically significant and an accurate representation of City Library users.

Unsplash — Photo: Leon

Outcomes Agreement

Culture Counts uses a slider input to measure responses for dimension statements as part of the evaluation methodology. This method also provides the capability to understand response results within a typical 5-point agree-to-disagree format.

The following chart contain the response data for 'public' responses and shows the percentage of people that agreed or disagreed with each of the statements, using a 5-point ordinal Likert scale.

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Insights

At least 72% of respondents agreed with every dimension included in the Library Use and Outcomes survey. Of these, 'Learning' (91%) and 'Safe' (89%) received the highest levels of the overall agreement, demonstrating that most people agreed the library has helped them enjoy learning and that they felt safe and welcome when using the library service.

This was followed by 'Creativity' (85%), 'Digital Connection' (84%), and 'Skills' (82%), demonstrating that the vast majority of the sample agreed that the programs they attended helped them to develop new skills and creativity whilst providing the resources to keep digitally connected with others.

Unsplash — Photo: Zaini Izzuddin

Outcomes by Domain

Dimension statements can be categorised into their representative outcome domain. Outcome domains represent categorisations of dimensions based on their general area of focus. For example:

Cultural Outcomes represent dimensions that reflect shared cultural values; things we care about and the ways we share them.

Social Outcomes represent dimensions that support the building of social capital, creates and promote participation in community life, and fosters the realisation of self at the individual level.

Economic Outcomes represent dimensions that seek to promote dynamic and resilient local economies that are required to sustain vibrant communities.

Quality Outcomes represent dimensions that connect the quality of what is produced to the realisation of intentions and the strength of their impact.

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Insights

When looking at the dimension outcome domains, the highest agreement scoring was 'Cultural' (85%) and 'Social' (82%). 'Economic' and 'Quality' outcomes also scored favourably, scoring 81% and 78% respectively. 'Connection' was the dimension statement that received the highest disagreement score of 13% indicating respondents were least likely to agree that City Library made them feel connected to the community.

More information about outcome domains are available at https://culturaldevelopment.net.au/outcomes/

Unsplash — Photo: Lagos Techie

Learning and Confidence

Library Use and Outcomes survey respondents were asked what way City Library made them feel more confident. The following chart shows the percentage of respondents that rated the library across seven options.

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Respondents were asked about the kinds of learning they engaged with at City Library. This chart shows the percentage of respondents that rated the event across these five options.

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Insights

Respondents claimed that City Library helped them feel the most confident with 'Helping my children learn'(62%). This was followed by 'Reading'(59%) and 'Becoming involved in my community'(55%).

'Reading/Literacy' (79%), 'Early Childhood literacy' (70%) and 'Education/Lifelong Learning' (58%) were the top-scoring learning areas respondents had learnt something new in at City Library. The same areas also scored highest when asked if they intended to apply what was learnt (68%, 55% and 47% respectively).

Fewer respondents indicated that they had learnt 'Job Skills' or 'Civic/Community Engagement' outcomes. Further to this 13% said that they had learnt 'None of the above.'

Unsplash — Photo: Yael Gonzalez

Comparison & Benchmarks

Demographic Breakdowns

Respondents were asked to provide their age and gender as part of the survey. This data enables results to be filtered to understand any differences that exist because of demography.

The following charts highlight a selection of results based on the gender that respondents identified with as well as by age cohort.

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Insights

Respondents in the under 20 and 30-39 age bracket had the highest average score for 'Safe and Trusted' (84/100) indicating that they were more likely to agree that they felt safe and welcome when using the library. 'Learning' was the highest-scoring dimension for respondents aged in the 20-29 (85/100), 40-49 (82/100), 50-59 (88/100), and over 60 (86/100) brackets indicating they were more likely to agree that the library helped them enjoy learning.

Females and males scored similarly across all dimensions. Respondents identifying in another way scored higher for 'Connection' (81/100), 'Safe and Trusted' (88/100), 'Digital Connection' (84/100), and 'Relevance' (83/100) indicating that respondents who identified their gender beyond the binary were more likely to agree that the library was safe and welcoming, that it connected people and that the library is increasing its relevance.

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Year-on-Year

Dimensions measured in 2021 had also been measured previously. This consistent use of measurement allows organisers to benchmark their results and track progress in achieving strategic outcomes over time.

The following chart compares the results of 2021 to 2020.

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Insights

Six of the eleven dimensions measured in the 2020 and 2021 Library Use and Outcomes survey, received a higher score in 2021. Most notably, the 'Role' (+9/100), 'Digital Connection' (+5/100), and 'Literacy' (+3/100) increased the most over the year indicating that respondents were more likely to agree that City Library is an important part of the community and that it has provided the resources to connect people and read more.

'Relevance' (-4/100), 'Skills' (-2/100) and 'Time with Children' (-1/100) scored lower in 2021 than 2020. This indicates respondents were less likely to agree that City Library provided a better understanding of today's world, helped gain new skills, and encouraged more quality time spent with children.

Unsplash — Photo: Jeswin Thomas

PLEN Benchmarks

In 2019, PLEN made benchmarks available from all libraries in their program that was evaluated by Culture Counts. Benchmarks give context to organisers so that they can understand the unique impact they deliver through their events and the outcomes that distinguish them from other offerings.

The below chart shows the average dimension results achieved for City Library, compared to the benchmark interquartile range of other libraries in the PLEN program. Results that sit within the range are be considered a ‘benchmark’ result, with anything above the range considered to be exceptional.

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Benchmark survey count (s) = 149; Response count (n) = 68,531. Count per dimension: 51 < s < 94; 7,480 < n < 11,509. Surveys with less than 30 responses removed prior to analysis. Note: The x-axis starts at 'Neutral' (50).

Insights

Five out of seven comparable dimensions fell within the PLEN benchmark range, indicating that almost all the City Library outcomes aligned with other libraries in the network. This means that City Library achieves these outcomes to a similar degree as other libraries around Australia.

Of all dimensions on this list, 'Learning' performed the best, with a score that sat at the top end of the interquartile range and demonstrating City Library's ability to help users enjoy learning.

The dimensions that fell below the benchmark were 'Role' and 'Literacy', which indicates that in comparison to other libraries, City Library survey respondents were less likely to agree that the library is an important part of the place where they live and their library experience had encouraged them to read more.

More information about the Culture Counts PLEN Benchmarks available at https://culturecounts.cc/blog/public-library-evaluation-network-first-year-findings/

Unsplash — Photo: Chuttersnap

Library Feedback

Sentiment Analysis

Respondents were asked to leave any additional feedback about their Library use experience. This feedback has been classified into positive, neutral, or negative categories, with the percentage of feedback sentiment types presented in the following chart.

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General Feedback

Feedback helps organisations understand where the value of visitor experiences lies and how they can be improved and strengthened in the future. A selection of comments has been highlighted underneath.

  • I love the library, it helps me focus when I need to study for exams.

  • I come to use their computers and internet because it's alot faster than the one I have at home.

  • I love reading so having access to so many books is important!

  • I come to the library to hang out after school. There's plenty of stuff to do!

  • I like studying at the library but there are never any tables free.

  • It's ok

  • Would like more sci-fi novels please

  • I wouldn't rate the City Library to be the best, I would rather go somewhere quieter with better internet. It's always so loud with kids everywhere.

  • More computers and less books. It's 2021!

  • I only came here because my printer was broken.

Unsplash — Photo: Maria Bobrova

Opportunities

Library User and Outcomes survey respondents were asked how City Library could improve.

A selection of suggestions for each branch has been identified, with the most frequently used words visualised below.

What could City Library do to improve?

word cloud

North Branch

  • More kids novels, there aren't enough books that are on my son's reading level. We've asked staff a few times.

  • A booking system for the computers so people aren't using them for hours.

  • More desks, there's not enough!

South Branch

  • Cheaper printing.

  • Separate study rooms, maybe that are bookable to secure a good study spot in the library.

  • Have headphones for sale, I always leave mine at home.

East Branch

  • Napping station.

  • Soundproof kids room, it will make studying easier.

  • Cultural activations in empty spaces. There are lots of empty spots in the library we could put art in.

Unsplash — Photo: Jerry Wang

Event Outcomes

Demographics

In addition to the Library Use and Outcomes survey, City Library surveyed people that participated in the following library events:

  • Book Club

  • Crafternoon

  • Computer Basics

People that responded to the Library Event surveys were asked a selection of demographic questions, to help the library learn their event attendee characteristics. This enables results to be filtered by demographic to see how different groups attend different events and programs. Respondents were asked to provide their age, gender, and identity.

The following charts show the proportion of Library Events survey responses captured for each of the age, gender, and identity demographic questions.

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Insights

Overall, those aged over 60 made up the largest cohort of event attendees at City Library (45%), followed by the 40-49 age group (17%). Respondents in the under 20 bracket made up 4% of the sample. The Crafternoon event attracted the largest proportion of attendees aged 39 and under.

The majority of respondents identified as male (37%), 27% as female, and 27% identified their gender in another way. Crafternoon attracted a larger proportion of males, while the Computer Basics session was well attended by those that identify their gender in another way. The Book Club event saw fairly even representation from all genders.

Unsplash — Photo: Thought Catalog

Member Engagement

Members and New Users

In order to understand the frequency of library usage and event attendance, respondents of the Library Event surveys were asked whether they were library members and if it was their first time visiting the library. This question can inform expectations and help organisers to better understand user reach.

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Insights

52% of Events Survey respondents were current members of the library. Over half of the participants at the Book Club and Computer Basics events were not library members, showing an opportunity for City Library to grow their membership base with event attendees.

Overall, 56% of all event survey respondents were attending a City Library branch for the first time. Crafternoon and Computer Basics attracted the most new users, with 75% and 77% of respondents respectively, indicating this was their first time attending the library. This shows City Library's ability to reach and attract new visitors through its event program.

Unsplash — Photo: Edwin Andrade

Event Outcome Averages

Survey respondents moved a slider to indicate whether they agreed or disagreed with the included dimension statements in relation to the event they attended. The following charts contain the response data for event survey responses, showing the average result for each dimension.

The Culture Counts platform provides various methods to capture survey responses at a minimal marginal cost. Achieving larger samples enables organisations to be more confident about the average results and that opinions of the survey respondents are representative of all attendees. The accompanying margin of error chart shows the expected differences for the associated dimension results calculated at a 95% confidence level.

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Insights

'Rigour' (81/100) received the highest score on average, indicating that respondents were most likely to agree that events were well thought through and put together. Other dimensions are also positively and similarly across the aggregate data. 'Rigour' scored higher for Book Club and Crafternoon however, Computer Basics scored higher than the other events for 'Challenge'

At a 95% confidence interval, the margin of error for dimensions ranged from 3% to 3.4%. This means that we can be 95% confident that if we surveyed all event attendees the average score for 'Learning' would fall within 3.2% of the average generated by the sample. Margins of error under 5% are considered reasonable representations of the opinion of the population. As the margin of error is below 5%, this sample can be deemed statistically significant and an accurate representation of City Library event attendees.

Unsplash — Photo: M Accelerator

Event Outcomes Agreement

Culture Counts uses a slider input to measure responses for dimension statements as part of the evaluation methodology. This method also provides the capability to understand response results within a typical 5-point agree-to-disagree format.

The following charts contain the response data for each Library Event survey and show the percentage of people that agreed or disagreed with each of the statements, using a 5-point ordinal Likert scale.

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Insights

Of all dimensions measured, 'Rigour' (87%) scored the highest in disagreement across all dimensions. This was followed by 'Challenge' (80%), 'Belonging' (79%), 'Access' (78%) and 'Learning' (72%). 'Challenge' scored the highest in disagreement across all dimensions. 'Creativity' (72%) scored the lowest, indicating respondents were less likely to agree the events inspired their own creativity.

Respondents to the Crafternoon survey were most likely to agree with the 'Rigour' dimension (90%) and least likely to agree with 'Creativity' (71%) indicating that the event was well produced and presented however it was less likely to inspire attendees' creativity. 'Access' (86%) scored the highest with Book Club respondents, while 'Learning' (69%) scored the least. Computer Basics respondents had the most agreement with the 'Challenge' (88%) dimension and the least with 'Access' indicating the event challenged them to think in a different way but gave them less opportunity to access cultural activities.

Unsplash — Photo: Eliott Reyna

Event Survey Comparison

The same dimensions were used throughout evaluations for each event. This consistent use of measurement allows organisers to benchmark their results and track progress in achieving strategic outcomes over time.

The following chart compares the results of the three events City Library surveyed as part of this evaluation period; Book Club, Crafternoon and Computer Basics.

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Insights

Dimension scores have trended similarly over the three events. When comparing events, one of the biggest differences was seen for the 'Rigour' dimension, with Book Club achieving a score that is +4/100 points higher than that received for Computer Basics, indicating that respondents were more likely to agree that the Book Club event was well thought through and put together.

Attendees from the Computer Basics event were most likely to agree that the event challenged them to think in a different way, with a score for 'Challenge' that exceeded the other events' score by +4/100 points.

Unsplash — Photo: Priscilla Du Preez

Marketing Methods

Respondents were asked about their preferred way to be notified of future library events. This helps organisers understand how attendees find out about library events.

The following chart shows the percentage of respondents that selected one of the following options as their method of marketing of library events, also comparing the results of respondents from each event.

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Insights

Respondents cited 'Social Media' (67%), 'E-newsletter' (56%), and 'Website' (55%) as the top ways they would like to hear about City Library events and activities. 'Radio' (4%) and 'Flyer' (13%) were the least favorable marketing methods indicating respondents preferred more digital marketing methods. 'Social Media' was the most favorable marketing method amongst Book Club and Crafternoon respondents while 'Word of Mouth' was for Computer Basics repondents.

Unsplash — Photo: Leon

Event Feedback

Sentiment Analysis

Respondents were asked to leave any additional feedback about their Library event experience. This feedback has been classified into positive, neutral, or negative categories, with the percentage of feedback sentiment types presented in the following chart.

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General Feedback

Feedback helps organisations understand where the value of event attendee experiences lies and how they can be improved and strengthened in the future. A selection of comments has been highlighted underneath.

  • I had a great time at Book Club! I hope it is on again soon.

  • I met some great people and learned a lot at Computer Basics. This program is great for people my age, it's not too overwhelming.

  • Crafternoon was the best.

  • The library's events are great for a bunch of different people of different ages.

  • It was fine, I wish we could have chosen what we got to make.

  • I didn't learn anything new.

  • They should offer an intermediate Computer class.

  • The events at the library are so boring. Why can't we have something more fun?

  • There are no other events that interest me. It blows.

  • I hate the books they choose for Bookclub, they are so outdated.

Unsplash — Photo: Fitore Fazliu
Data and Insights by
Report prepared for


This report has been prepared by Culture Counts. The authors would like to thank all stakeholders and staff for their participation in this research.

We respectfully acknowledge the Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia and recognise the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures; and to Elders past and present.