Archive for October 8th, 2020

Maurice Coleman suggested that the resources from episode 272 are so important to know about that they be in their own blog post.

As library staff or as library supporters, you need to know that data is collected every year by IMLS about every public library outlet in the U.S., including U.S. territories. The data is then made available on the IMLS website. This data can be downloaded in a variety of formats, including as massive spreadsheets. That means that you can look at this data yourself.

Besides the report by Jill Hurst-Wahl, EveryLibrary Institute has also used this data. They have created a library funding map, which is linked below.

Resources

OCPL Central LibraryPaul Signorelli, Maurice Coleman, and Jill Hurst-Wahl had a lively discussion on this T is for Training. We began talking about the Vice Presidential Debate and public speaking, then pivoted to the report Public Library Survey Data: Some Answers, Many Questions, which was written by Jill and published by EveryLibrary Institute. Quoting the report landing page:

In “Public Library Survey Data: Some Answers, Many Questions”, Hurst-Wahl takes us through several data points to interrogate both the underlying reports as well as questioning the conventional wisdom about critical interrelated issues like the legal structure of public libraries, the staffing comportment of libraries, and the ways that properly-funded libraries express their mission, vision, and values. The crux of this discussion focuses on the role and importance of library staff, regardless of their job title or classification. “We know that this [IMLS] definition does not capture everything that public library staff does, especially considering both physical and virtual spaces,” writes Hurst-Wahl. “This definition does not reflect the depth of community services that members of the staff provide.” This report attempts to connect these dots and offers library leaders valuable insights for planning for success in a COVID-impacted world.

This report is based on Public Library Survey data that every public library in the U.S. (including our territories) provides and has access to. Yet it is likely that most library staff never look at the data or think about what stories it might tell or what data is missing. Given that most people are unfamiliar with it, it was wonderful to dig into the report with colleagues who are interested in what this data has to tell.

This episode of T is for Training is available through TalkShoe and through your favorite podcast delivery system (e.g., iTunes).

Resources