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An introduction to school librarianship
An introduction to school librarianship

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2 Using feedback from your stakeholders

Analytics from your LMS, library footfall data, and analytics from your social media and website were all mentioned in the previous section as useful and important evidence to obtain to demonstrate the value of your library. When compiling reports though, it is important to collect both quantitative and qualitative evidence, that is to say, evidence which can be expressed in numbers and evidence which can be expressed in words. For example, the number of students who requested a certain book would be considered quantitative whereas their opinions of that book would be qualitative. Although it may be tempting to focus solely on concrete statistical data when reviewing your service, qualitative information has an important role to play. Qualitative evidence can reveal information that can’t be expressed in numbers. This can be the anecdotal evidence that Sarah mentioned in Video 1 in Section 1, which helps to convey a sense of personality in your reports, and helps to bring your library to life in a way that statistics alone cannot. Striking an appropriate balance between the two is therefore key to a successful report.

As well as gathering quantitative data from social media, footfall data, and reports from your LMS, it is also wise to obtain feedback from your library's stakeholders. This might involve using a suggestions box or gleaning anecdotal information from conversations with staff and students. It is also worth making an effort to record impromptu comments in a Word document or Excel spreadsheet. Doing so is easy and ensures compliments and criticisms are not forgotten or ignored. Online surveys also offer a quick way to gather anonymised feedback. Many of these are free and easy to use, making them popular with both staff and students. Other ways of gathering feedback include organising focus groups, circulating physical questionnaires, attending subject departmental meetings, or consulting the student council. Choosing just one or two of these methods will provide you with useful information that can give you an insight into what colleagues and students value in your library and what they would like you to develop or improve.

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Video 2
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You should now complete Activity 2, which asks you to reflect on how the feedback you gather from stakeholders affects your approach at work. Then, in the next section, you will look at how both the quantitative and qualitative evidence you have collected can be used to compile your annual report and reflect on your performance.

Activity 2

Timing: Allow approximately 20 minutes

Provide two examples of how you gather feedback from students and other library stakeholders. How do these influence your work and the library’s provision?

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Discussion

Reflecting on your answers, do you think there are any areas for improvement? For example, are you using a mix of traditional and digital methods of gathering feedback? Or do you focus solely on one particular approach? Do you regularly implement recommendations made by stakeholders? And if so, how do you demonstrate this to your library’s users, your line manager, and the Senior Leadership Team? To reflect further on how you could refine your use of feedback, complete the second part of the activity below.

Is there any other method of gathering feedback which you do not currently use? What benefit(s) might this offer you?

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