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If you:

  • Need to find out what your community really wants from the library
  • Are getting ready to gather data for planning new services or facilities
  • Want to be more responsive to your current users
  • Would like help to define gaps in staff performance
  • Are required to develop a needs statement for an LSTA grant application

Then this Needs Assessment workshop is for you!

At the conclusion of this workshop you will have the skills you need to choose, customize, and carry out needs assessment methods to fit whatever situations arise.

Workshop Description: In this all-day workshop you will explore proven techniques for discovering the needs of all types of people in your environment—users, potential users, members of governing bodies, volunteers, and staff. You will learn how to customize an overall information gathering process for your library—from defining the purpose to deciding how the results will be shared. Working in small groups, you will practice techniques for collecting and analyzing data. The instructor will provide sample tools and you will receive practical, useful tips that you can apply immediately in your library.

Pre-workshop assignment: Respond to the brief online course survey; a link will be sent to you by email.

Preliminary Course Outline

  • Define Needs and Needs Assessment in General
    • Basic human needs
    • Needs typically met by libraries
    • Discovering specific needs of people in your environment
  • Types of Needs Assessment Methods
    • Informal (observation, perceptions, library/government data)
    • Formal (interviews, focus groups, surveys)
  • Steps in an Overall Information Gathering Process
    • Defining the purpose(s)
    • Determining what resources are available
    • Deciding who will conduct the process
    • Deciding what kinds of information should be collected
    • Deciding how information will be collected
    • Deciding how information will be analyzed and interpreted
    • Deciding how the results will be shared
  • Specific Considerations for Grant Applications
    • What funding sources look for regarding needs assessment elements
    • Common weaknesses in grant application needs statements
    • Tips for meeting State Library expectations for good needs assessments

Workshop Instructor: Gail McGovern