Evaluating ACT public library community engagement through program delivery

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Abstract

A research study was conducted by researchers from the Schools of Information and Communication Studies and Education at Charles Sturt University in December 2019 to assess the impact and engagement of ACT public libraries with people in the community. Two programs offered by ACT Libraries were selected for this project: Storytime and Giggle & Wiggle. From the literature researched prior to the start of the project, four key community engagement and impact domains were identified and investigated: social, cultural, educational, and economic. A qualitative interview protocol was designed along with a quantitative component to capture information relevant to the objectives of this study.

Data collection involved two groups of participants: (1) parents and carers of children attending Storytime and Giggle& Wiggle, and the (2) librarians group comprising of library staff members responsible for the delivery of these programs. Qualitative and quantitative data collected were analysed using thematic and statistical analysis techniques.

This report presents some of the key findings and highlights key differences in how the two programs were perceived by the library staff as opposed to the program participants. Program success was perceived by librarians in terms of numbers, while program participants perceived success when the programs were deemed to be fun, educational, engaging, non-repetitive, and economically viable. Findings are discussed and aligned with the four study domains (social, cultural, educational, and environmental) in this report.

Key recommendations to enhance community engagement are that libraries need to ensure that program content is targeted to the age groups expected to attend, and the songs/activities and the crafts successfully blend and flow with each other. For this to happen successfully, a blend of staff experience and continuity in program hosting will greatly help. The all-inclusive and diversely embracing nature of libraries and programs should also be made broadly evident to attract all segments of community.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 05 Aug 2022

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