Public Libraries Evaluation Network Hub

Survey Distribution

Using multiple methods for sharing your surveys ensures that you maximise sample sizes and engage a mix of demographics.

Libraries often have multiple styles of survey they wish to conduct – general visitor surveys, event surveys, membership surveys, workshop/education session surveys, – and each will require its own mix of distribution methods to ensure that a significant, and representative, sample is reached.

Depending on your chosen distribution method, there are three types of delivery type options available in the Culture Counts Evaluation Platform – Online, Interviewer or Display. Head to the Support Hub to learn how to configure this options in your survey.

Online Delivery

Membership database
If you have access to a membership database with email addresses, emailing a members or annual survey is one of the easiest and most reliable distributions methods. It ensures that the survey is sent directly to a person who has actively engaged with your library. This method generally enables a large number of responses to be collected. Be aware that this will only reach libraries users who have gone through the process of membership, and not casual users, friends of members who are attending the library, or those who use a friend or family member’s membership when they use the library. As such, it is wise to supplement this method where possible with the others listed below.

Email address collection
It can be difficult for some libraries to purchase or source large numbers of tablets to use in intercept interviewing during events and workshops. For this reason, some organisations choose to use their staff or volunteer resources to collect attendee email addresses. Attendees are asked to provide their email address for the sole purpose of being sent a survey about their event experience. Addresses can be recorded on paper without the need for a digital device. This method gives attendees the ability to complete the survey at home or in their own time, without feeling rushed at the event. Ensure to send the survey promptly after the event to ensure it is still fresh in the respondent’s mind. This method is more time- efficient than intercept interviewing can collect a large number of email addresses throughout the event rather than waiting until the end.

However, be mindful that some attendees may be reluctant to provide their email address if they are concerned that it might be used to send them additional unwanted material. Secondly, this method runs the risk of attendees forgetting or choosing not to complete the survey once sent to them – which does not happen when interviewed on the spot.

Respondents’ device
Culture Counts surveys can be downloaded on smartphones or tablets, meaning that library visitors and event attendees are able to complete the survey on their own device. The survey link can be provided to attendees in a number of ways, including on posters, signs, flyers or programs. Additionally, a unique QR code is created in the Culture Counts platform for each survey, enabling attendees to scan a QR code using their smartphone QR code reader and access the survey link. QR codes can be printed on a number of event materials.

Social media
Survey links can be posted on social media channels (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter) related to an evaluation campaign, event or workshop. This can be useful for free public spaces where not everyone in attendance or visiting may have membership and has the ability to reach large numbers of followers. Organisations can ask their followers to share the link with their connections, increasing visibility and access.

Interview Delivery

Intercept interviews
Having staff or volunteers approach library visitors to complete short intercept interviews using tablets allows you to collect feedback from casual visitors, non-members attending events, and other visitors who may not exist within your membership database. Additionally, it can be extremely useful in enabling you to spot sample and target groups that may otherwise not complete a survey (including elderly or disadvantaged communities). These interviews should be kept short – no more than 5 minutes – and interviewers should be encouraged to approach a wide range of represented demographics.

It can be helpful to put together a briefing document for interviewers to assist them to understand the purpose of the surveys and to implement best practice interview methods. Volunteers or staff carrying out intercept interviews have significant opportunity to interact with your communities and can be asked to provide additional detail themselves to supplement impact reporting, based on conversations and observations that they make in the field.

Display Delivery

Display surveys
Surveys can be loaded onto devices that rest in a fixed location in your library – such as on a computer, on a tablet near the front desk, or on a fixed podium. This allows visitors to approach and complete the survey at their leisure and is accessible to casual users who may not currently exist in your membership database. We recommend displaying the kiosk in prominent position to attract the attention of potential respondents and encourage them to complete the survey.

Intranet and/or Wifi integration
A useful method for reaching library visitors is to integrate the survey link into your library’s intranet homepage and/or the sign-in process for free WiFi. The survey URL is added to the library intranet homepage or at the end of the WiFi sign-in process, and is generally not compulsory for people to complete. When using this method we recommend keeping surveys to less than one minute in length.

We’ve put together some helpful articles about data collection via the Additional Resources section below.

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