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Few people say that they went into the library field because of a love of mathematics. Nevertheless, "doing the math" can be the key to success in many library situations

  • Are you a self-described math phobic?
  • Do you find yourself leaving budget and other "numbers stuff" to others because you're not sure of your own skills?
  • Do you sometimes feel overwhelmed or wonder where to begin when confronted with large quantities of numerical data?
  • Would you like to feel more confident when preparing or reviewing survey or statistical information?

Taught by an English major for English majors (and for anyone else who would like to improve his/her math skills) this course will help you become more adept at working through library-based math situations.

Workshop Description: This all-day workshop will provide you with basic mathematical and analytical tools that you can use immediately in your library job. Examples and exercises will focus on library management, team quality improvement, budget calculations, and grant development and evaluation situations. Your confidence will increase as you work through real-world library problems and see that you probably already have the basic skills you need once you understand how and when to apply them. You will have the opportunity to talk and work with other attendees, sharing tips they've learned as well as those presented by the instructor.

Special Note: Please bring a calculator to class. The one in your Palm/PDA or cell phone will be sufficient for the exercises you'll be working on. You are also welcome to bring any examples of numbers situations you've encountered in your library, if you'd like.

Preliminary Course Outline:

  • Your Numbers Issues
    • About Math Phobia/Anxiety
  • Trends and Percentages
    • Why are these important?
    • Parts of a whole
    • Equity issues
    • Telescoping information
  • Statistical Issues You Encounter
    • Survey information
    • Sample size, margin of error, and confidence level
    • Central tendency and averages
    • Correlation and causation
    • Percentiles
    • Presenting data so it's understood
  • Making Management Decisions
    • Trend analysis
    • Ratios
    • Cost analysis and cost benefit analysis
  • Finding the Right Data
    • Innumeracy and numbers consumerism
    • Outputs and outcomes
    • Using data consistently

Workshop Instructor: Jeanne Goodrich