Farmington Library gathers data to assess services

Community surveys, staff interviews, and conversations with civic leaders will all be part of a “Service Module Assessment” designed to inform Farmington Community Library strategic planning.

Trustee Jessica Bomarito said during a Thursday virtual board meeting that the Strategic Planning Committee will receive a final report in late August. Among other things, the assessment will help the library better align its organization with more clear roles and responsibilities.

The committee recommended that the assessment not supersede bringing back furloughed staff or expanding services, Bomarito added.

Farmington Community Library will be among the first in Michigan to use Farmington Hills-based Gale’s Engage web-based program, which centralizes data analysis and outreach, and Gale Analytics, which segments households based on demographics.

Already, some valuable insights have emerged, Bomarito said.

“We’re seeing the highest usage among higher income families, and relatively low usage among families with lower incomes,” she said. “It’s one example of how we can expand our services and outreach in a really thoughtful way.”

Library Director Riti Grover encouraged all staff, including those who have been furloughed since late April, to “participate and engage” during data collection, analysis and future strategic committee discussions.

The Gale tools, Grover said, will provide an in-depth look at how the community interacts with the library, which could lead to program changes. The library may find a program or activity that could be eliminated and replaced with others. 

Grover said the library could also identify areas of the community that are underserved and create services for them, reach out to households with children to let them know about library resources, and create reports that include visualizations and graphs.

“This will show us how to best focus staff efforts and evaluate the means to engage patrons,” she said. 

The study is being conducted by Cynthia Pepper, principal with Pepper Consulting Group. According to information provided this week to staff members, an original $8,800 contract has been expanded and costs may be closer to $12,000.

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