Arizona State Library

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State Library Case Study

LibPASLibrary Performance Assessment Service

Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records Phoenix, AZ

Interview conducted with Laura Stone, Grants Administrator, and Chris Guerra, Project Specialist, Library Development Division

The Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records is a multi-faceted organization with six divisions. The Library Development Division provides consulting and best practices services, continuing education, and summer reading and early literacy programs, as well as administering LSTA grant funding and collecting public library statistics.

The Challenge: Collecting and managing a variety of data

According to Laura Stone, Grants Administrator, the library wanted more control over how data collection for the annual IMLSInstitute of Museum and Library Services survey was set up and more flexibility in accessing the data for reporting. They also wanted to collect data in areas beyond what was required. “We were using a tool to help collect data but we didn’t feel it offered the flexibility we needed. We wanted to add questions and collect data other that what IMLSInstitute of Museum and Library Services requires and the tool we were using didn’t give us the control over how our data was set up that we wanted.”

The LibPASLibrary Performance Assessment Service Solution: Ability to collect multiple sets of data unique to the State Library

Stone says Library Development was attracted to LibPASLibrary Performance Assessment Service because of the versatility in managing the collection of statistics as well as the creation of reports and data products that they could share with their libraries. Although initially interested in LibPASLibrary Performance Assessment Service because of the data collection they could do for IMLSInstitute of Museum and Library Services they wanted to explore how LibPASLibrary Performance Assessment Service could also be used to gather and manage other types of data from their libraries. “Library Development has so many programs for which data needs to be collected,” says Chris Guerra, Project Specialist. “We saw in LibPASLibrary Performance Assessment Service the functionality and flexibility to incorporate multiple sets of data that otherwise don’t have any relation to each other.”

FY2010-2011 was the State Library’s first full year of data collection using LibPASLibrary Performance Assessment Service. For FY2011-2012 the library added two large question sets. The first focused on the programs in the State Library’s five-year LSTA plan. “We have 20-plus different programs outlined in our plan,” says Stone. “We wanted to gather data from the libraries on how involved they are in each of those programs so that we can prioritize our resources. We were able to add these questions in house and that was really important to us. We will use the data to drive our decisions on which programs to pursue actively. When we evaluate our plan we’ll have this comparison data to draw upon.”

The second question set focused on ebooks. Stone says this is such a big initiative for the State Library that it is important to get a better picture of what libraries are doing to make ebooks available to their patrons. Using LibPASLibrary Performance Assessment Service they were able to drill down and ask very specific questions and to produce reports looking at ebook data that was used with the statewide planning committee. She expects that the questions about ebooks will continue to evolve so the ability to add and change questions in LibPASLibrary Performance Assessment Service to collect the type of data that is important for the State Library to be tracking is a tremendous time-saver.

“Being able to ask these two question sets within our traditional statistical gathering was really important to us,” Stone says. “This was the kind of flexibility we were looking for when we selected LibPASLibrary Performance Assessment Service. Having this tool gives us the data to support good decisions going forward.”

LibPASLibrary Performance Assessment Service supports BTOP grant reporting

Stone says the library also was able to use LibPASLibrary Performance Assessment Service outside the scope of standard data collection. The State Library received two BTOP (Broadband Technologies Opportunity Program) grants from the Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). The first – BTOP 1 – was to put computers in 84 libraries across the state. It was not difficult to track the statistics from this first grant, says Stone. But BTOP 2 was a more complex project with two components: Job Help Hub and Virtual Workforce Workstations. The goal of BTOP 2 was to position libraries to help job seekers by providing both computers and trainers. The State Library needed a way to collect information from the approximately 200 participating public libraries on a monthly basis.

The solution was to provide participating libraries with separate IDs and passwords in LibPASLibrary Performance Assessment Service to log in to record their BTOP statistics. “This was completely separate from our IMLSInstitute of Museum and Library Services data collection,” Stone says. “We needed this data on a monthly basis, not annually as with IMLSInstitute of Museum and Library Services. It needed to be easy for the libraries to enter their own data on programming, attendance, topics, computer usage, and more. Getting this project up and running and managing it has been a fast and furious undertaking. LibPASLibrary Performance Assessment Service made it possible for us to meet our BTOP reporting requirements while also addressing the libraries’ needs.”

Stone stressed how the ability to use LibPASLibrary Performance Assessment Service to streamline data gathering for BTOP has made a huge difference for Library Development staff as well as for participating libraries. “It is a big deal for us that people have a consistent place to enter and retrieve data for reports. Something like SurveyMonkey would require a survey to be developed and implemented every month with a new URL for collecting responses and we wouldn’t have a good way to tie those statistics together from month to month. LibPASLibrary Performance Assessment Service cumulates the data and makes it accessible all in one place.”

Summing up the value of using LibPASLibrary Performance Assessment Service to meet a wide variety of data management needs, Stone says the system delivered the flexibility needed to manage multiple projects. She and Guerra heartily endorse the staff at Counting Opinions for their responsiveness: “The support we receive from Counting Opinions has been excellent.”

About Counting Opinions

Facing constant competitive challenges, libraries and library organizations need better tools to understand and manage customer needs and to compete more effectively for scarce resources. In business since 2004, Counting Opinions provides libraries and library organizations with a cost-effective, evidence-based management solutions’ platform for the comprehensive management of their performance and customer satisfaction data. Solutions for custom surveys, open-ended customer feedback, trends, benchmarking, outcomes and peer comparisons are also available.

Note: Interview conducted and case study prepared by JAM Marketing LLC.

Please cite this article as: Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records Phoenix, AZ; Interview conducted with Laura Stone, Grants Administrator, and Chris Guerra, Project Specialist, Library Development Division