Project 18 (Cracow)
Project 18 is a component of Poland’s Library Development Program. The coordinator of the GLOSSA working group has now (April 15) been invited to participate in the project workshop in Cracow on April 28-30, 2010, as a resource person for statistics based advocacy.
I plan to use this page
- as a starting point for my presentation Thursday April 29
- and as a small hub for linking to other relevant rersources
- The paper Planning for impact, assessing for sustainability, by Sandra Fried, Maciej Kochanowicz and Marcel Chiranov, show what can be achieved by national surveys of library use.
- Such surveys provide information on topics that are not covered by routine library statistics.
- But large scale interview studies are expensive – and usually limited to the national level.
- If we want statistics to have a strong impact at local and regional levels, we must also develop the routine use of statistics in the daily life of libraries.
- IFLA has now put advocacy – the active promotion of libraries vis-a-vis parties, politicians and decision-makers – high on its agenda.
- The organization is developing a global training program for advocacy called Building Strong Library Associations (BSLA).
- The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation provides important financial support.
One of the program tracks – or modules – is devoted to statistics.
- IFLA has asked the Statistics and Evaluation Section to design a one-day course in statistics for advocacy.
- The course will be called Statistics for Library Associations.
- The course, which has been developed by a group of international experts, will be pre-tested (piloted) at a conference in Crete at the end of May 2010.
- We have set up a blog called GLOSSA – or Global statistics for advocacy – to share information about our work.
The course will address five main questions:
- Why should we study statistics?
- Which aspects of library work should we focus on?
- How can we interpret data?
- How can we collect data?
- How can we present data?
The final course package will consist of a staff manual – containing
- a course plan with short descriptions of each of the workshop sessions
- a set of lecture notes – linked to the course plan
- a set of slides – for presentation by the course leader(s)
- a series of exercises – linked to the course plan
- a set of case materials (statistical examples) >- linked to the course plan
- a vocabulary or list of concepts – to be developed
- a set of resources – pointing to supporting materials and more advanced
Since IFLA is a global organization, such a course will need adaptation to different local contexts. Each course will take place in a particular setting – and will be aimed at participants from a particular working environment. Adapting to local conditions means to relate each specific course to
- the current level of statistics collection and use in the field
- the working language(s) in the field
- the digital infrastructure in the field
The courses must also take the course facilities – digital or not – and the background of the participants into account:
- the numerical skills of the participants
- their language skills
- their digital skills
A student manual and a set of handouts for participants should be produced for each specific course. These will be based on the materials in the staff manual, but selected and adapted for student use.
Statistics in the 21st century
The role of statistics in discussions and decision-making is increasing – world-wide. Some illustrations:
I see IFLA’s Library Statistics Manifesto as part of this trend.
Archives, libraries and museums are busily converting their huge „analogue“ collections into digital format. Their main purpose is to facilitate access to the collections for the various potential user groups.
- Most digitising activities concentrate on the national cultural heritage, but statistics on digitisation have hardly ever been collected on a national scale.
- NUMERIC, a European Commission project, started out to define measures and methods for assessing and describing the current state of digitisation in Europe’s cultural institutions.
- The aim was to show on the one side the financial input and on the other side the progress achieved in digitising the national heritage.
- The central task of the project is to develop a framework for the collection of statistical data that are most suitable to give a national overview of digitisation.
Opportunity for All: How the American Public Benefits from Internet Access at U.S. Libraries
As the nation struggled through a historic recession, millions of people in the United States visited a public library to use computerand Internet services. A new groundbreaking study1 (released March 25, 2010) reveals that people use this service to perform life-changing and life-enhancing tasks in the areas of education; employment and entrepreneurship; health and wellness; E-government and legal services; civic engagement; household finances; and communication.
- Nearly one-third of Americans age 14 or older—roughly 77 million people—used a public library computer or wireless network to access the Internet in the last year.
- Teenagers were the most active users, with half of the nation’s 14- to 18-year-olds reporting they used a library computer during the last year and one quarter saying they used one every week.
- Libraries offer a technological lifeline to families who lack access.
- Forty percent of the users below the Federal poverty line reported that the public library was their sole source of access to computers and the Internet.
Source: Opportunity for All
Statistics, indicators and advocacy in Norway
As professionals we want our data to speak to us. But at the moment, public library statistics remain less than fully utilized. The full knowledge potential of the data is not realized.
To realize this potential, three conditions must be fulfilled:
- statistical agencies must collaborate with the library community in developing and refining concepts, indicators and data collection methods
- all statistical data must be made freely available in convenient digital formats
- the library community must integrate statistical reasoning into their own daily practice
The paper How to win friends and influence decisions (see Resources, below) is intended as an invitation to systematic statistical reasoning based on existing data. The next step – using the numerical information – is up to the libraries themselves.
- Statistics is a form of knowledge production.
- Tables and diagrams are the results of production processes.
- Collecting, processing and presenting statistical data demand hard work as well as technical and statistical competence.
- The introduction of computers and web-based systems makes many of the routine tasks much lighter than before, however.
A new generation of statistical systems is creating much better possibilities of documenting and understanding what is happening in the library sector. The old “comparisons with last year” can be replaced with systematic studies of particular libraries in the context of other libraries.
Statistical production is carried out by statistical agencies. One of their tasks ought to be the systematic mapping of library landscapes for comparative purposes.
- KOSTRA is an innovative data collection programme run by Statistics Norway, which is the English name of our Central Bureau of Statistics.
- KOSTRA provides standardized data on all public services, in all Norwegian municipalities, on an annual basis.
- The purpose of KOSTRA is to produce comparative data for benchmarking, policy making and public sector research.
- In this paper, we show – step by step – how such a mapping can be carried out with the data that are now available from the KOSTRA system.
All KOSTRA data are published in an open data base. The 2006 revision of KOSTRA includes seventeen variables that describe the public library sector.
- The KOSTRA variables were selected by Statistics Norway from a much larger data set, with more than 200 variables, collected by the Norwegian Archive, Library and Museum Authority.
- At the moment only the KOSTRA variables are available for further digital processing.
- This will change in the near future, however. All public library statistics will soon be published as spreadsheets.
Some regional libraries – like Buskerud – have actually started to publish the full data sets without waiting for the national system.
KOSTRA is not a library system, but a general system for public management. The seventeen KOSTRA variables allow us to develop many indicators that reflect different aspects of library activties, however.
Six + twenty indicators
Last year, I tried to explore these possibilities. The paper How to win friends and influence decisions proposes one small and one large indicator set.
- The first set, consisting of six indicators, is aimed at managers and politicians outside the library sector.
- This set is relevant for advocacy.
- The second set, which comprises twenty indicators, is intended for library managers and other people interested in the operational details of library management.
- This set is useful for demonstrating the value of statistics to librarians.
Each library can be described by twenty-six indicator values. These twenty-six values constitute what we may call the library’s statistical profile.
Since we have such data for all municipalities, the values for any particular library
- may be compared or ranked relative to all the other libraries
- may be used for benchmarking or pairwise comparisons
The full data sets, with information from all Norwegian public libraries in 2007 and 2008, have been published as spreadsheets on Google Docs. For the Cracow workshop I have made a smaller spreadsheet containing the indicator values for our three regional libraries in 2008.
KOSTRA covers seventeen variables only. This means that only a few aspects of library work are measured. The full data set of 200 variables allow many more explorations.
In the future, we will be able to use this information to study all public libraries in Norway. At the moment, however, we depend on the county libraries that actually release such data.
As an illustration, I have selected a few variables and calculated a few indicators from the 2008 spreadsheet published by Buskerud.
The ABM statistics are also quite selective.
Librarians have, in general, very little systematic information about activities inside their libraries.
Count The Traffic (CTT) is a cheap and simple method to gather such data. It gives a good numerical picture of how library users actually use the various parts of the library. CTT reveals both the quality – or the kinds of activity – and the quantity of use. Combined with data on the number of visitors it will also indicate the average length of stay.
CTT is based on regular walks through the public areas of the library, normally once an hour, during one or two weekly cycles. The actual observation days – Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, aso. – should preferably be distributed over several weeks. Data gathering and analysis can be carried out by the library’s own staff rather than by hired observers and consultants.
To carry out a CTT, you need:
- A floor plan covering all the public areas of the library
- The plan should be divided into functional zones: reception area, newspaper section, children’s books, etc.
- A list of activities to be observed
- We recommend using (or adapting) the standardized CTT list
- A time plan, with dates and times for all observation rounds (”sweeps”)
During their second-year internship periods, OUC library students carry out small projects in the libraries to which they are assigned. In 2008 and 2009 students collected CTT data from about fifty Norwegian libraries. These include fourteen public libraries from the three counties. The traffic counts are documented in brief reports (10-15 pages) that are not published. In order to safeguard the data I have started to make statistical summaries of the reports.
In the case of Sandefjord, I’ve made a fact sheet that includes both KOSTRA and traffic data from 2008, in Norwegian and English.
The CTT approach is known as seating sweeps in the English-speaking world. In Norwegian we have called it TTT – from the expression Tverrgående TrafikkTelling (transversal traffic counting). Its systematic use seems to have been initiated by two Canadian researchers, Lisa Given and Gloria Leckie, who used the method to study user behavior in the Toronto Reference Library and the Vancouver Public Library in 1999.
- Oslofjord libraries. KOSTRA based indicators 2008.
- Buskerud 2008. Selected indicators
- Sandefjord public library fact sheet
- Fakta-ark om Sandefjord folkebibliotek
- How to win friends and influence decisions. A statistical framework for analysing public libraries. PM8, Florence, August 17-20
- IFLA Statistics and Evaluation Section (2009-)
- Global statistics for advocacy
- Collective blog for the IFLA statistical advocacy project (GLOSSA), which started in August 2009
- Planning for impact, assessing for sustainability, by Sandra Fried, Maciej Kochanowicz and Marcel Chiranov.
- The Project NUMERIC: Statistics for the Digitisation of the European Cultural Heritage
- Opportunity for All
- Plinius Data
- A personal repository of library statistics.
- Plinius on statistics
- Blog posts on library statistics in English
- Plinius om statistikk
- Blog posts on library statistics in Norwegian
Traffic counts in Akershus, Buskerud and Vestfold
The counts below have been carried out by students as part of their second year internship (5 weeks). They are documented in brief reports (10-15 pages) that are not published. In order to safeguard the data I have started to make statistical summaries of the reports. The web links below lead to such summaries (in Norwegian).
About Project 18
The project, which is based on professional collaboration between the regional libraries of Poland and Norway, comprises:
- A series of four workshops, each three days long, regarding development of strategies for cultural institutions – representatives of public voivodeship libraries, of three regional libraries from Norway and of key institutions in the implementation of built strategies will all take part in those workshops.
- On-line consultations – all workshop participants will be able to consult via blog and forum with Polish and Norwegian experts including the Association of Polish Librarians and The Norwegian Archive, Library and Museum Authority. Consultations will last for 12 months from the beginning of works on strategies through their implementation.
- Work visit in Norway – the aim of the visit is to expose representatives of voivodeship libraries to Norwegian libraries’ methods of strategy implementation. During the visits to libraries and other cultural places, meetings with their managers and many other activities, the participants will get to know different methods of needs assessment and the creation, promotion and evaluation of attractive cultural offers.
- A course book of strategic planning for cultural institutions – 4000 copies of the course book will be prepared by Malopolski Instytut Kultury (Malopolski Institute of Culture); the course book will contain a detailed description – step be step – of the process of strategy development and examples of innovative activities run by libraries in Poland and Norway.
- A conference summing up the project – a conference will be organized for the project’s participants, representatives of the most important cultural institutions, central and regional authorities and media. It will be a occasion to present strategies of the public voivodeship libraries and the course book of strategic planning.