The Data Dude on Project Outcome

project_outcomeFor those of you that are still fizzed from NLA, you might want to check out the Public Library Association’s Project Outcome. Project Outcome began in January, 2015 as a 3 year project with funding from the Gates Foundation. It is a completely free resource. The idea behind Project Outcome is that it provides tools (meaning surveys given to library users that result in some flashy charts and graphs) to measure outcomes. An outcome is defined as: “a specific benefit that results from a library program or service designed to help patrons change their knowledge, skills, attitudes, behavior, or condition.” Now there are a lot of buzz words surrounding things like Project Outcome, so the Dude will summarize things by saying that Project Outcome is designed to be a simple tool to provide you with a snapshot of how your library is doing (and what you might need to improve on). The Project Outcome people say that the goal is to address the “need for better data to demonstrate the value of your public library programs and services.” The surveys are short (6 questions in length), and cover 7 different areas: civic/community engagement, digital inclusion, early childhood literacy, economic development, education and lifelong learning, job skills, and summer reading. You don’t have to do surveys for all of the areas; rather, you can pick and choose the ones you want.

For more information about the Project, here is the latest webinar, or this video contains an overview of the initiative. Shaka.

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