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Outcomes-Based Summer Reading: Using Surveys
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California Summer Reading Program

Outcomes Surveys

  • We have designed two surveys for libraries to use for this project:
    • Survey 1 can be used with children, teens, and adults for outcome one and outcome two.
    • Survey 2 can be used with families for outcome one and outcome two.
  • Each survey includes a brief list of questions that have been designed to generate data that will demonstrate the value and impact of your summer reading program. You can use the combined results you receive to demonstrate that your patrons feel part of a community of readers and library users. You can also use responses you receive to individual questions to gather quantitative data about the value of your program, e.g., responses showing that your patrons enjoyed the summer reading program and will return to the library.
  • The surveys are intentionally brief to encourage patrons to respond to them and keep the questions on one page. Libraries are welcome to add their own questions to either survey, but your questions should come after and should not replace the questions designed by the Task Force. We recommend keeping your surveys brief and to one page.
  • Customize the surveys with your library’s logo and local information so that they are legitimate to your patrons.
  • Administer the surveys from the middle of the summer reading program onwards. Ensure that your patrons have had time to participate in the summer reading program before asking them to fill out a survey.
  • Please feel free to collect your survey data however works best for you – either by using paper surveys or placing your survey online. However you collect your data, please remember to submit your results to CLA.
  • Please remember that the surveys are intended to obtain feedback from the person (child, teen, or adult) who took part in the summer reading program. They are not designed to get the parent's view of the child's experience of the summer reading program. Here are some tips on getting feedback using the surveys:
    • [For children] Ask children if they want to fill out the form by themselves or whether they want someone to fill it out for them (in essence, someone to interview them). If they opt for being interviewed, any library staff person or volunteer, including a teen volunteer, may perform that service.
    • [For children] Parents may help younger children fill out the forms as long as they understand that the answers must be the child's own responses.
    • Tell respondents that the library is trying to learn more about how children/teens feel about reading and the library.
    • [if you are using paper surveys], ask respondents to fill out the form and leave it in a designated spot before they leave the library.
  • For outcome one, you should collect at least 100 survey responses. The conventional wisdom in the data-gathering world is that 100 responses for a survey is the magic number for being able to assert that you have reliable results. This is true whether you are using a good sample or surveying the entire population. For the summer reading program surveys, you have two options.
    • Ask each agency to survey the first 100 children and/or teens who “complete” the program. This will give each library fairly reliable results about the participants in that agency.
    • Aim for 100 responses to each survey from the system as a whole, with each agency submitting a percentage of the surveys. For example, if two branches are participating, ask each to return 50 completed surveys to the coordinator. If ten branches are participating, ask each to return 10 completed surveys. In this case, the results will reflect responses for the entire system and will not give you reliable data about individual branches.
  • You may always ADD to the desired number of responses and increase the reliability of the results. But you should not rely on the results from fewer than 100 responses.
  • Collate your results at the end of the summer and submit them to CLA by the designated date.