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Celebrate International Love Data Week 2023

by on February 14, 2023

Project Outcome

Project Outcome is a free online toolkit designed to help libraries understand and share the impact of essential library programs and services by providing simple surveys and an easy-to-use process for measuring and analyzing outcomes. Project Outcome’s standardized surveys allow libraries to aggregate their outcome data and analyze trends by topic and program type. Public libraries can see how the outcomes of their programs and services compare across library branches, state, and nation.

Since its launch in 2015, PLA has continued to support the development and adoption of Project Outcome. New features include the ability to save and share visualizations from the data dashboards and to add custom content to reports. Read recent case studies to learn how libraries have used outcome measurement to evaluate grab-and-go kits, small business programs, and partnerships for family engagement (login required).

Sign up for a free Project Outcome 101 webinar on March 1 to learn more about using the toolkit and applying your results. To start measuring the impact of your library, register for Project Outcome for free today!

Interested in more tailored training for your library, consortium, or state? We will bring Project Outcome training to you, in person or virtually. Learn more about hosting training in this resource and contact us at info@projectoutcome.org.

Benchmark: Library Metrics and Trends

Benchmark makes data-driven planning and advocacy easy for public libraries. Peer comparisons, or benchmarking, can help libraries better understand their performance and can support everyday decision making, such as identifying opportunities to improve services and areas to build on existing strengths.

The data dashboards and comparison tools are robust, interactive, and user-friendly. They include data from PLA’s annual surveys, the IMLS Public Libraries Survey, and the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. All visualizations can be filtered by key library characteristics and peer groups.

Learn more and subscribe for upgraded access to:

  • A robust set of interactive data dashboards with visualizations and filters
  • A custom report builder that includes historic metrics
  • The ability to create custom peer groups for benchmarking

All libraries have free access to Benchmark to participate in PLA surveys, access a summary page of selected metrics, or manage your library’s contact information. A subscription provides upgraded access to the data dashboards, reports, and custom peer comparisons. Questions? Contact plabenchmark@ala.org.

PLA Survey Results

In 2020 PLA adopted a new model for annual surveys of public libraries, with three rotating topics. Each year the survey is administered in the fall and results are published the following summer. The results provide actionable data for public library staff and stakeholders, including policymakers, funders, and the media. Read the free reports on the PLA website and subscribe to Benchmark for access to the full interactive dataset.

Continuing Education

Step up your learning with two half-day PLA pre-conferences that will be offered at ALA Annual Conference on June 23, 2023. Registration will open February 15, with early rates available through March 31 and advance rates through June 16:

  • New Digital Tools for Capturing Learning Outcomes and Impact (morning): Learn about and test a new IMLS-funded digital toolkit, designed to revolutionize the way librarians capture, assess, and report learning outcomes in hands-on programming. This preconference will share the design principle and process of this ongoing project, as well as the initial testing results. Participants will get a chance to try out the toolkit in real time and offer feedback to the design team.
  • Project Outcome: Data for Impact and Improvement (afternoon): Are you interested in measuring learning outcomes to drive change, make data-informed decisions, and demonstrate the impact of programs and services at your library? Participate in this preconference to learn how to make the most of the free tools available from Project Outcome for public libraries.

Online learning:

  • Check out the full list of International Love Data Week 2023 events, including public/online events that cover everything from data visualizations to mapping and advanced analytics.
  • Don’t forget to register for the free upcoming Project Outcome 101 webinar on March 1!
  • Using Data to Engage Underserved Communities (on-demand): Learn how the Oak Park Public Library in Illinois used data about their community to create a multi-channel, integrated marketing campaign that was specifically designed to reach different segments of the community that historically have been marginalized.
  • PLA’s Census Data Literacy Project included 6 free webinars (now available on demand) and two new resource guides. It aimed to help libraries support their patrons in navigating and understanding Census data and to help libraries also leverage that data to better understand and serve their communities.

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