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Gathering Data to Increase Understanding of Libraries

May2024 From The Ceo

Written by Brooks Rainwater, President and CEO, Urban Libraries Council

As someone who has spent a large portion of my career leading research programs, I recognize the power of data to better inform our understanding of major issues, provide the ability to conduct more thorough analysis and thus lead to stronger decision-making. It’s one of the reasons I was eager to strengthen ULC’s research capabilities when I started as President and CEO. We are using this expanded focus on data-driven solutions for public libraries to align technical assistance, develop member programming and create original research products.

One of our original areas of research is the Library Insights Survey (LIS). First launched last year, the data provided by ULC members demonstrated how libraries are strengthening operations and purposefully serving communities since the pandemic. We developed the LIS to be an annual data collection project, and I am happy to announce that the 2024 Library Insights Survey is now open.

We encourage every ULC member to participate in this survey. Your contributions will help us have greater insight surrounding big questions like whether members are close to matching pre-pandemic highs in visits to the library. Are digital resources continuing to outpace physical items in circulation, and how can this help make a stronger case for fairer e-content pricing? And how are libraries making financial decisions as COVID-19 recovery funds expire and the reverberations of high inflation rates, such as new construction costs, continue to be felt?

You can learn more about the 2024 Library Insights Survey on the ULC website, including a preview of survey questions being asked. The deadline to complete the survey online is July 3, 2024.

As with last year, survey data will be compiled and featured in the ULC Library Data Hive, an exclusive collection of interactive dashboards, charts and maps just for ULC members. We anticipate a Fall 2024 release and will also use aggregate data from the survey to inform a public report of our findings.

Help ULC Better Know Our Libraries

Complete the Library Insights Survey by July 3, 2024.