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Project Ideas
Hello -

Please post a description of your project idea to this thread.
[i]Amanda Jacobs Foust[/i]
Forum Administrator
RIPL Project Coordinator
Hi all,

There are SO many programs and projects and services at our library that could use more strategic collection and analysis of data.  But to narrow it down - we just launched a big library card initiative with our school district LAUSD last year; by June 2018 we will have issued special Student Success cards to every student at LAUSD (approximately 650,000).  There are all kinds of juicy possibilities for using data to understand student usage across the city and by school, for telling our story, for planning and improving services, and more, and we want to make sure we are making the most of this opportunity.

Eva Mitnick
Los Angeles Public Library
Hello, my current interest and focus for the upcoming CLA preconference will be on gaining new ideas about how to use data in Strategic Planning.
Mary Housel, Santa Maria Public Library
My main focus will be on strategic planning. We lost one of four full-time people at the end of last fiscal year in order to balance the general fund. We have a utility user tax renewal on the ballot for November 7. If it does not pass, the contingency plan is to close our small branch and reduce main library hours. In strategic planning, the stakeholders need to identify the sacred cows of service, and make hamburger out of them if necessary in order to offer the best choice of services and programs to my specific community. I'm looking forward to using data tools, resources, visualization, and any other techniques to make the best choices possible.
We track a lot of information already - reference/research services (who, what, time spent) and teaching (curriculum development, teaching prep, grading, student meetings). I'm looking for ideas on how to go beyond this data in the here/now, such as how are our services/teaching valuable out in the real world. So I'm interested in hearing about other folks' projects to generate some ideas for my own library.
We just launched a Campaign for Grade Level Reading in our community, and I would like to look at what kind of outcomes data we can provide, especially for our Early Lit Programming. So a project that shows a change in attitude, knowledge, or behaviors in the families that participate in our 0-5 programming specifically, and maybe even something about library using families vs. non-library using families for families with children under 5.
If it would fit, I'd love to figure out how to use data to determine the best way to inform people about our programs and services (website, flyers, social media etc).
We just completed our strategic plan and will be working towards its goals for the next 5 years. We are focusing on outcomes for programming and outreach. Since I’m sure others will ask about how to use data in relation to programming, I would like to learn more about best practices on how to use data to measure the effectiveness of outreach. Are we using our limited resources and staff effectively? How do we measure outcomes? Is our outreach making a difference (changing hearts & minds about the library, inspiring new library users, etc.)?
We are a municipal library, and have our own Acquisitions work unit, Cataloging, and Technical Processing.  We buy most records from SkyRiver, but our professional cataloger can do original cataloging, and we use a lot of custom titles, shelving areas, etc.  How we do things has grown over time, a lot by individual librarian preference, and inertia preventing tearing the whole system apart and starting over. Why am I telling you this you ask?

I would like to apply data gathering and use to our internal processes - for example, look at every place we put human work (eyes, brains, or hands) on a book being ordered, received, paid for, cataloged, processed, and put out for the public, and determine what value we have added.  Where do we duplicate unnecessarily, triple check to find one error in 100 items, and what would the cost be if that error went through, or we applied the effort to prevent that error in the first place?    We want to remap our collections against the catalog (I don't know if that is the right word).  For example, taking what were collection codes (tell you where it is shelved, but not what it is) and make them item types (tell you what it is) so we can draw more detailed data from our own collections.  A project that will take a lot of work, force a lot of consensus, and require some hard uniform decisions.

I want to gather data to assess what the work would be, and determine if it is worth it.  For example, if we redo item types to enable the system to run circulation reports on fiction vs. non-fiction books (right now we can't), what is the value of that data to us, and was it worth the effort if we have to (maybe) pull every item off the shelf to do it (barcode, not RFID).

If we streamline internal processes, and don't lose value, then I want to effectively use data to determine where to put that effort where it best does add value.  Creating custom reading lists, outreach to our community, more programs, more groups visiting for custom instruction, or something new we haven't even contemplated doing yet.

Hillary Theyer
(10-24-2017, 04:27 PM)sharonmck Wrote: If it would fit, I'd love to figure out how to use data to determine the best way to inform people about our programs and services (website, flyers, social media etc).

I'd also like to learn about this.

I'm going to be doing a strategic plan this year.  I'd like to be sure I'm looking for the right data and analyzing it properly. I'm really interested in data capturing tools - what are the most effective and pertinent ones for my community.

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