Evaluating Library Services, Programs, and Collections
An Infopeople Online Learning Course
Dates: Tuesday, February 26, 2013 - Monday, March 25, 2013
Fee: $75 for those in the California library community and Infopeople Partners, $150 for all others (about payment)
Instructor: Sarah Flowers
Do you know if the programs, services, and collections your library is providing are the right ones? Data gathered through evaluation can tell you if these are meeting the needs of your community and point you to places where you should make changes. Data can demonstrate the cost/benefit or return on investment for your library.
As a library professional, your ability to do a data-based evaluation is an important competency. It may even be an expectation of your library management, trustees, or other stakeholders.
In this online course you will learn:
- The basic concepts of evaluation
- How to develop goals and objectives for library programs, services, and collections
- What types of data to collect and how
- Ways to present and communicate your evaluation results
- How to use the data to make meaningful changes in services, programs, and collections
As we demystify the process of collecting and analyzing data, you’ll gain a sense of confidence in dealing with numbers, statistics, graph, and charts. Your ability to gather and analyze the right types of data can be critical to your library’s overall success.
Course Description: Through the four weeks of the course, you will start with basic input and output measures and learn how to create simple but effective reports that will help your library move forward. In assignments and discussions you will develop goals and objectives for programs, services, or collections, and see how these fit into the library’s larger structure and mission. You will have opportunities to determine what types of data to collect, where it can be found, and how to present and communicate it. We’ll explore options for data benchmarking and cost/benefit or return on investment analysis. You will come away with useful resources, best practices, and tips and techniques that can be applied immediately and that will support your work long after the course is over.
Preliminary Course Outline: Using an Internet connection and web browser, you will log in to the Infopeople online learning site and complete the following learning modules:
- Week 1: Planning for Evaluation
- Focus on program or process improvement
- Using evaluation as a tool for communication
- Planning the evaluation component of a grant proposal
- Developing goals and objectives
- The types and sources of both qualitative and quantitative data
- Input and output measures
- Week 2: Implementing Evaluation
- Outcome-based evaluation
- Types of data analysis
- Ways to evaluate collections
- Ways to evaluation programs and services
- Engaging users in the evaluation process
- Week 3: Communicating Your Evaluation Results
- How and when to communicate and present your findings
- Different types of presentations for different audiences
- Conveying the meaning behind complex data
- Using cost/benefit analysis and return-on-investment (ROI) tools
- Week 4: Using Data to Make Changes and Plan Ahead
- Determining whether a service or program is the most efficient use of resources
- Evaluating services to determine whether they fit into the library’s strategic plan and goals
- Evaluating collections to ensure they meet the needs of the community and are the most effective use of the budget
Time Required: To complete this course, you can expect to spend 2½ hours per week, for a total of ten course hours. Each week's module contains readings and various options for assignments, discussions, and online meetings. You can choose the options most relevant to your work and interests. Although you can work on each module at your own pace, at any hour of the day or night, it is recommended that you complete each week's work within that week to stay in sync with other learners.
Who Should Take This Course: This course is intended for any library staff responsible for evaluation of library programs, services, or collections. Library board members and other stakeholders will also find this course to be valuable.
To Be Successful In This Course: You should also be comfortable with a basic spreadsheet program, such as Microsoft Excel, and be able to use it to do simple calculations such as percentages. You should also be able to create simple charts and graphs from spreadsheet data.
Online Learning Details and System Requirements may be found at: infopeople.org/training/online_learning_details.
Payment: Your invoice will be emailed to the email address of the person who completed the registration. If that is not the person paying the invoice please forward invoice to the appropriate person. Payment is due within 30 days. If you have any questions about your invoice or payment please contact Gini Ambrosino at email@example.com.
Course Start: This online learning course starts on Tuesday, February 26, 2013.
After the official end date for the course, the instructor will be available for limited consultation and support for two more weeks, and the course material will stay up for an additional two weeks after that. These extra weeks give those who have fallen behind time to work independently to complete the course.
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