PLA 2018: Beyond the turnstile…

Beyond the turnstile…

IMLS Research project – better ways to assess efforts, especially for people who prefer to talk. Program evaluation…
National stats gathered about library programs:
# of programs, # of programs for youth, # of library users who attend programs
Q 1. Describe a program or service (1) designed to meet the information needs of library users who prefer to talk when interacting with information and (2) involves your library working with partner.
Free Library of Philadelphia – ESL, interpersonal, in branch with greatest linguistic diversity.  Walked the street to gather interest.  Volunteer instruction while walking the business district – recommendation. 12 participants with 6 languages in the class!  Would hang out after class and formed a bond. 12 week class, then graduated to community college (followed instructor).
Find a cooperative partner willing to give 50/50 effort. Clear roles and responsibilities. Cross pollinate ideas, but also benefits business nonprofits in the neighborhood. Easier to work with ‘small fish.’
Outcomes: Wanted to expand class to evening and expand reach into another zip code. Process – teacher gave entrance assessment & exit to see improvement.  (Project Outcome)  Assessment?  Staff assessed comfort level of participants – brought children in, got to know others in community, employment on corridor, etc. Polling place, tell stories to staff of how they were empowered. “reach back into the community by connecting others with library.”
Seattle – 2018 Literacy collection outreach project. Don’t want to check out materials b/c of fear of fines, so purchased 500 items that were handed out at programs for home use. Somalia family safety task force as partner. Powerful director of the organization – expanded from computer classes to discussions and increasing literacy skills and dynamic partner helps spread the word. Took materials to computer classes and to local events. Required patience and grace to work with nontraditional organization (non-white). Cultural differences. Evals: Outcomes based eval. Determine outcomes built with cooperative organization. Some of the libraries outcomes had to come off the table to work with the group.  Assessment? What is the change in the lives of the people participating? Computer language classes were women only and they felt more confident in basic communication outside community. Talk with teachers as needed. Could talk more confidently with kids about schoolwork in English. Some felt ready to pursue work outside their community!  Airport, for example. Word of mouth and requests for new partnerships.
Cleveland – Collect in 45 languages at the library, but users felt uncomfortable. Who to ask, not sure what to do.  Videos in spanish/arabic, etc. More accessible – quick hits of information (library card, programs, etc.) Legal clinics asked about, so will make more videos to address need. Legal Aid Clinic partners – throwing money at a project was their an ROI? Did we really help our community? Took a slower approach. 1 clinic to start. 10-14 lawyers came to library (paid) and had people waiting outside the door. Mortgage/rental law issues. Built it. 5th year of program. 30 clients – 2.5 hours a piece. Successful for city and library.  Assessment? Neighborhoods keep score!  Other places were contacting outreach department to request the program. Lines waiting outside show value! Outcome measures: continued growth.
Best practices for serving populations in the margins. IMLS grant study. Assessment models used bubbled to the surface:
Interactions and relationships
Changes in lives
Other branches contacting us?
Numbers sometime still work
Models:
1. It takes a village – Partnering with other organizations – Are people bringing friends? Furthering education in area (community college)?
@. Safety-net model – Focus on objectives and leveraging resources.  Show how library helps others in community to hold the safety net. “Since we started, have you noticed change in your clientele?” Example: Legal aid saw smarter clientele attending library events
#. Changing the Conversation – If library needs to be held accountable for larger phenomena. Program on teen sex abuse – research showed a need and even though 0 attended first event, all brochures placed around library disappeared. Excited to offer program again. More reference inquiries about topic?
How did you follow-up with participants?
Christina – 6-month follow up and she’d go see them and ask how program impacted the person in the business district. Personal connection.
What outcomes? Did you use Project Outcome? No, designed out outcomes.
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