Survey schedules


How often do you use (or recommend using) “immediate” surveys to gather feedback about recurring programs?

Do most libraries use “follow up” surveys for each program surveyed? If not, how do you determine which programs warrant a follow up with survey respondents?

Thank you so much,

Good question. I have not heard of any standard best practices on frequency of surveying. At Jacksonville Public Library, for our early literacy programs and maker programs we will take two full months of the year – one in spring and one in fall – and conduct surveys at every program offered throughout the system during that period. For computer/tech classes and general adult programs (the latter of which usually do not repeat), we are conducting surveys at the end of every event.

Hope this is helpful.


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Hi Amy,

All of the programmers in our library district sit down about once a year to strategically plan the surveys we will all do. For example, I plan our Adult programs, and our high time for those is Spring and Fall, so I will plan to do “Education & Lifelong Learning” surveys for those programs during those seasons. Other departments, such as our Youth Services, will plan to do the early education survey for their Summer Reading season. The goal of sitting down together is to make sure that we aren’t offering the same surveys all the time (the public would get frustrated!), and that we’re spreading out what type of person would get a survey at different types of the year. We don’t want to over-saturate the pool of people taking our surveys, so we spread out the survey types throughout the year.

We haven’t used the “follow up” surveys very much because we would need to collect contact information for the attendees, and we just haven’t taken on that task yet. The majority of our surveys are immediate.

Hope that helps!

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Hi Amy!

At Sno-Isle Libraries, though immediate surveys are available to all programming staff to use at their discretion, we have a schedule for those programs that we are collecting immediate survey date for to contribute to organizational outcomes for our strategic service plans. For some program areas, that will be every program in a series (Write Now, publishing/writing series) or it will be all the programs in a service area for a selected time period (all preschool storytimes for a week in the Spring and a week in the fall).

We do NOT do follow-up surveys for every program. We do collect email addresses and send follow-up surveys for those programs where we feel we expect to see or can get a better measure of the outcomes for attendees after a program takes place. For example, our goal is to send follow-up surveys for digital literacy programs within two weeks of the program occurrence but with business services programs, the follow-up survey schedule is 6 months, 12 months, and 18 months.

Like @srausch, we feel the need to be deliberate with the big picture of survey schedules. We are also getting to the point at which we think survey outcomes are validated with repetition and we can make decisions about what NOT to survey any more. And we still have a lot to learn and develop!! To date, we’ve had a sporadic implementation, but every year we’re getting better and more targeted.

Stay in touch if you’d like to talk more! ~Christa

Thank you to everyone who has responded and to anyone who may yet respond! :grinning:

It helps to hear what others are doing and why. My library began using Project Outcome surveys in 2017, but this is all rather new to me. I truly appreciate your willingness to share what you have found works for your library, patrons, and staff.