The Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners is conducting a statewide survey to better understand who uses Massachusetts public libraries, and why they use them.
“For the MBLC to better support public libraries across the Commonwealth, we need to know who visits our libraries, why they visit them, and what users’ current and future expectations and desires are” said MBLC Building Specialist Lauren Stara. “The MBLC is undertaking a major study of cooperative borrowing and use patterns of Massachusetts public libraries, especially in-person visits by people that live in other Massachusetts cities and towns.”
This project is the first of its kind in Massachusetts. Its goal is to get a broad overview of who is going to which library for what reason. Reasons may include specific programs, facilities, proximity to a workplace, parking, among others. This information can assist in identifying regional patterns, and developing service models for sustainable library services in all communities both large and small.
The results of the survey have implications for the Massachusetts Public Library Construction Program (MPLCP). The findings may help shape library design and function for future construction project. The MBLC recently announced $67 million worth of library construction grants through the MPLCP. More information about the grants can be found here.
The 8-10 minute survey asks patrons about which library or libraries they visit regularly and what they do there. The survey is being offered in English, Spanish, and Chinese to reach the broadest audience possible. It is open through September 8, 2017, and is available to take both online and in person.
Surveys can be found at https://tinyurl.com/mblcsurvey, and paper copies can be found at libraries around the Commonwealth. Participants in the survey are eligible to win an iPad as a prize, and the drawing for the iPad will take place at the end of the summer.
The survey was developed and will be analyzed in partnership with the firm Sasaki. Founded in Boston, the firm now works internationally addressing the issues of architecture, interior design, planning, urban design, landscape architecture, strategic planning, graphic design, and civil engineering. They have a proven track record in understanding the library ecosystem, how user expectations are evolving, and how library services are changing to meet these expectations.
The Board of Library Commissioners (mass.gov/mblc) is the agency of state government with the statutory authority and responsibility to organize, develop, coordinate and improve library services throughout the Commonwealth. The Board advises municipalities and library trustees on the operation and maintenance of public libraries, including construction and renovation. It administers state and federal grant programs for libraries and promotes cooperation among all types of libraries through regional library systems and automated resource sharing. It also works to ensure that all residents of the Commonwealth, regardless of their geographic location, social or economic status, age, level of physical or intellectual ability or cultural background, have access to essential new electronic information technologies and significant electronic databases.