Survey asks library customers about technology use

Sno-Isle Libraries is asking its customers to share how they use and value various library technology services.

Impact Survey graphicFrom May 23-June 12, an online survey will be open to ask library customers how they use and benefit from technology and related services at their library. Called the Impact Survey, it is an ongoing national research project created by the University of Washington Information School with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

This is the second time Sno-Isle Libraries has offered the survey to customers. In 2014, library district officials used the information from the survey to inform and adjust services such as public computers, wireless internet access, online resources and digital literacy training.

Anne Murphy, lead librarian for public computing, said the 2014 results were informative and some have been put to work.

“We learned that our services such as internet access and printing are valuable, even to those with access at home,” Murphy said. “We also learned that staff assistance on the computers is frequently requested and highly valued by our customers.”

Murphy said that information resulted in added staff training to help ensure even service levels across the district’s 21 libraries.

“We want every customer that walks through our doors to receive the same high quality level of assistance with technology,” Murphy said. “To date, 42 information services staff members have received training about teaching technology classes, and many have already taught classes in their branches.”

More training will be on the way later this year with the development of curriculum around the most popular devices and electronic resources used by Sno-Isle Libraries customers, Murphy said.

The plan is to offer the survey every two years.

“We want to learn if the changes we make are effective,” said Christa Werle, public services project manager. “We want to stay close to our communities and learn how customers’ needs are evolving.”

The survey results from Sno-Isle customers also help inform the national study. Since October, 2013, 71,239 library customers from 1,167 libraries across the U.S. have taken the survey.