City Library provides a range of accessible services to the local community. 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.
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 use Culture Counts to survey public users of the library. Feedback is collected on library use, performance, personal and community outcomes from public users of the library.
This report is a standardised Online Insights Report using data collected by City Library via the Library Use and Outcomes Survey template. This free report is available to all PLEN participants once annually to help demonstrate to the community, internal and external stakeholders the important outcomes that the Library generates. More comprehensive reporting including the results of event and program evaluations can be commissioned from Culture Counts.
Libraries participating in PLEN distribute a Library Use and Outcomes survey to their membership database and library users throughout the year via a range of methods, including emailing members, QR codes or tablets in the library, or interviews with library staff. The survey asks library users 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 project's big dataset.
The Library Use and Outcomes survey contains a range of ‘dimension’ questions, asking members of the public about their experience at the City Libraries. These dimensions have been developed and tested in collaboration with industry, practitioners, and academics to measure the impact and value of library services, facilities and programs.
Dimensions used in the Library Use and Outcomes survey also align with six ALIA and APLA outcome areas to ensure that all data collected can be clearly reported against the achievement of important sector objectives, and build on significant research carried out in Australia and internationally.
|Dimension||Dimension Statement||Creativity||The library has helped me be more creative in my own life and work||Learning||The library has helped me to enjoy learning||Literacy||My library experience has encouraged me to read more||Connection||The library has encouraged me to become more engaged in the community||Digital Connection||The library helps me to be more digitally connected to others||Safe and Trusted||I feel safe and welcome when using the library service||Time With Children||The library encourages me to spend more quality time with my children||Relevance||The library is changing in ways that increase its relevance for me||Role||The library is an important part of the place where I live||Enterprise||The library has helped me to improve the success of my business||Skills||The library service has enabled me to learn and gain new skills|
Respondents completing the Library Use and Outcomes survey were asked a selection of demographic questions to help the library learn their member and visitor characteristics. This also 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, postcode 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.
Library Use and Outcomes survey respondents were also asked to provide their current postcode. This data identifies the geographic sample of people who responded to the survey and use the library. 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 across the top ten postcodes provided.
Respondents were asked if they were a member of the City Library network. This question identifies the potential for membership base growth, and also enables analysis into how membership influences library use and outcomes.
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, and which services they used. This provides information about the most used branches, frequency of use and customer loyalty.
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 libraries to be confident that the average results recorded by survey respondents are representative of the opinions of their wider user base. The margin of error chart below shows the expected differences for the associated dimension results calculated at a 95% confidence level. Margins of error under 5% are considered reasonable representations of the opinion of the population.
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 five-point agree-to-disagree format.
The following chart contains the response data for public responses and shows the percentage of people that agreed or disagreed with each of the statements, using a five-point ordinal Likert scale.
Outcome dimension statements are aligned with the six ALIA and APLA outcome areas below. This alignment categorises dimensions based on their area of focus. For example:
Stronger and Creative Communities (SACC) Represents dimensions that reflect the ability of libraries to provide a safe and inclusive forum, support creative expression, and strengthen communities.
Personal Development and Wellbeing (PDAW) Represents dimensions that reflect the ability of libraries to provide access to information, knowledge and skills development that contribute to personal growth and greater quality of life.
Literacy and Lifelong Learning (LALL) Represents dimensions that reflect the ability of libraries to develop youth and adult literacy and provide skills and strategies for lifelong learning.
Community Engagement (CE) Represents dimensions that reflect the ability of libraries to provide spaces and programs that bring people together, encouraging connection and supporting participation in community life.
Digital Inclusion (DI) Represents dimensions that reflect the ability of libraries to provide access, skills and confidence in using digital technologies, ensuring all communities can connect with others and important online services.
Economic and Workforce Development (EAWD) Represents dimensions that reflect the ability of libraries to support improved employment and productivity outcomes.
The charts below show City Library's Library Use and Outcomes dimension results grouped by ALIA outcome area.
Library Use and Outcomes survey respondents were asked whether they are aware of various library resources and services, and whether the library helps them to learn, apply learnings and gain confidence across these service areas. These four stages are expected to be sequential, with library users initially gaining awareness, followed by learning something new, application of learnings and increased confidence.
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. Dimensions are also grouped by ALIA outcome area.
Libraries that take part in the PLEN project can access benchmark evaluation results from all participating libraries. Benchmarks give context to libraries, to help them understand how their impact compares with the average from the group, and to set targets for achieving improvements to their outcome results that will lift them above the network average.
The chart below shows the average dimension results achieved for City Library (the orange dot), compared to the benchmark interquartile range of other libraries in the PLEN program (the grey bar). Results that sit within the range are be considered a ‘benchmark’ result, with anything above the range considered to be exceptional.
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.
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