Connellsville Library asks for survey responses
Casey Sirochman, director and head librarian at the Carnegie Free Library of Connellsville, is urging all area residents to complete a simple, but important library survey.
“In 2012 the Carnegie Free Library offered 50 different advertised programs for youth and adults, which is a 40 percent increase from 2011 when 20 programs were offered to the public,” Sirochman said. “The reason for this survey is to increase the quality, attendance and participation in programs at the library by offering events that people have indicated an interest in attending.
“Further, we hope that this survey will offer people a chance to share their passions, interests, talents or expertise in a subject area by indicating if they are interested in presenting a program at the library.”
With a staff of just fivepeople, it is usually the director's job to seek out, plan and execute all programs. Sirochman is asking for assistance to utilize the underutilized space and provide interesting and educational programs.
To date, only 46 people have completed the survey. Sirochman wants to make sure that everyone is aware that anyone is welcome to complete the survey and will be eligible for the random drawing of a gift card if completed by Jan. 31.
While the survey is only available from the library homepage at www.carnegiefreelib.org, Sirochman also wants to remind interested survey-takers that the library has use of free computers with Internet and WiFi and would be willing to assist anyone who wants to complete the survey.
The survey was borrowed from the Wayland Public Library Adult Programming Survey, which was funded through a grant from the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners with funds from LSTA (Library Services and Technology Act), a federal source of library funding provided by the Institute of Museum and Library Services.
Sirochman used the Wayland survey as an guideline to create the local one using Google Forms — a free open-source resource available to anyone through the Internet. In October 2011, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation published its national survey of public libraries for the fiscal year 2009 (http://www.imls.gov/assets/1/News/PLS2009.pdf). In addition to collecting programming data from 9,277 public libraries across the United States, the survey details information on the number of uses of electronic resources, number of Internet terminals used by the general public, reference transactions, interlibrary loans, circulation, library visits, circulation of children's materials, size of collection, staffing, operating revenue and expenditures, type of legal basis, and number and type of public library service outlets.
The programming results of the nationwide survey found that public libraries offered 3.7 million programs to the public during 2009, of which 2.3 million were children's programs. The national survey defined a library program as any planned event that introduces the group attending to any of the broad range of library services or activities or which directly provides information to participants. Programs may cover use of the library, library services, or library tours. Programs may also provide cultural, recreational or educational information, often designed to meet a specific social need. Examples of these types of programs include film showings, lectures, story hours, English as a second language, citizenship classes, and book discussions.
On a national level, program attendance per capita is also on the rise, suggesting that public libraries across the United States are offering more programs to keep pace with demand. Attendance for all programs in 2009 was up 22.4 percent since 2004, and attendance at children's programs was up 11.9 percent since 2000. Programs at rural public libraries have the highest attendance rates for total programs and children's programs, at 11.6 percent, and 13.8 percent higher than the national average.
The local library's mission is to meet the educational, informational and recreational needs of the community. As such, the Carnegie Free Library is striving to connect the community to a wide range of materials and resources available for lifelong learning, personal development and the pursuit of knowledge, Sirochman said. As with any educational institution, objectives and benchmarks were recently redefined by the State of Pennsylvania. Libraries are uniquely positioned to help citizens improve their command of five types of literacy through services and programs offered — basic, information, civic and social, health and financial – essential to greater success in all vital roles of life, as students, parents, employees, consumers and citizens. Defining these literacy objectives recognizes that libraries have moved far beyond just being book repositories. Instead, libraries are agile institutions serving real-life needs. “Your local library can be the key to powering progress and elevating quality of life by fueling the types of knowledge essential to success. Please join us in reaching our program goals. Let your voice be heard by completing our online programming survey. The library is celebrating its 110-year birthday in 2013 and we hope to get at least that many responses,” Sirochman said.
Nancy Henry is a freelance writer.