6 Survey Results: Executive Summary Planning Outreach Activities In this section, respondents were asked to report on how their library plans outreach activities, including timelines, the approval process for events, and when particular situations inhibited a library’s ability to create or continue activities. Twenty-one respondents (37%) stated that they planned activities on an annual basis there were fewer responses for one semester at a time (8, or 14%), and one event at a time (6, or 11%). Twenty-two respondents chose “Other,” illustrating the complexity of planning outreach activities. Many write-in responses said they try to plan on an annual basis but also try to react to unanticipated outreach opportunities and events. One aspect of the planning process that was consistent across most responding institutions was the need for approval for outreach activities. Only five respondents (9%) indicated that outreach activities did not require approval from library managers or administration. Instead, the majority of respondents (43, or 75%) said that they required approval for some, though not all, outreach activities. Nine respondents (16%) said they needed approval for all outreach activities. Respondents indicated that there were several types of activities that usually required administrative approval. These included activities that required funding, advertising, or significant staff time or were high impact or high profile, new or innovative, or aligned with strategic goals. Events involving external audiences or donors also typically required approval. While this illustrates that libraries are giving approval to conduct outreach events and dedicating staff and financial support, requiring approval for events can impact libraries’ ability to respond and act quickly to inquiries or new opportunities. When asked about common constraints that could impact outreach events and how often they were impacted, there was a wide variety of responses. Not surprisingly, most respondents experienced impacts related to timing and scheduling issues, facility constraints, and funding constraints. Ten respondents described “Other Constraints,” including a lack of space, security, and receiving approval for events. While many responded that funding is an issue, this could potentially be tied to the need for administrative approval for events and/or a lack of dedicated outreach funds, as described in other sections. Staffing The survey next explored the roles and responsibilities for leading outreach programs. Much like the allocation of financial resources, defining who will lead and staff outreach illustrates the relative importance of outreach to each library. As expected, the results indicated that the individual who planned the event, managed outreach activities during the event, solicited volunteers, and purchased promotional materials varied greatly. Responsibilities for these tasks most commonly fell to librarians, non-librarian staff, and department heads. Some respondents reported using event planners or having event planning committees in their libraries. In the write-in comments, the most common responses indicated that who worked on outreach events was highly dependent on the event itself and varied from event to event. Many respondents also noted that they had a communications or marketing person or team that provided additional staffing for the planning and oversight of outreach events. In addition to planning events, the survey also aimed to better understand how libraries approached the staffing of outreach events. Staffing seemed to vary greatly by the role of individuals in the organization. Most libraries did not use volunteers, such as members of their Friends group or volunteer members of student organizations to staff outreach. This finding may indicate that there are untapped potential volunteers that libraries have yet to utilize. Instead, library outreach events were typically staffed by full-time library employees. Public services librarians, library communications staff, event planners, and library event committees most frequently staffed event programming. This is unsurprising since 53 respondents (95%) reported having library personnel with outreach responsibilities specifically written into their position descriptions. The majority reported that library liaisons/subject specialist positions included outreach responsibilities. Over half of all respondents (29, or 54%) also reported
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