To gain public support, get people to participate in the process

Once a noiseless place of sound-absorbing books and solitude, the libraries of today are vibrant gathering places, featuring music, classes, civic and cultural engagement, and technology.

As the Eugene Public Library began to envision its own future, they turned to us here at Turell Group to gain insights into people’s perspectives about the library’s current offerings, programming, and facilities and what they want to see established, expanded or improved.

Our scope of work included graphic design, creative development, research and data analysis, along with a report that described our findings, outlining information that the library can use to establish priorities and chart a clear path toward developing a strategic plan for the future of the library system.

Craft Center

Crear Capítulo

The objective

Our objective was not only to collect and summarize the data, but also to make the information-gathering process dynamic, to inspire participation and to better understand the community’s needs and priorities, as well as any gaps related to the library.

LaVena Nohrenberg, User Experience Manager at the Eugene Public Library, said it was important to start off on the right foot by working with an agency that specializes in research.

“Working with Turell Group was wonderful! From the beginning, we felt like they understood what we were trying to achieve and were dedicated partners in the project,” she said. “Everyone we interacted with was very kind and helpful.”

Eugene Public Library

The solution

To kick off the public outreach campaign, we designed a fun, friendly wordmark, “Craft Our Next Chapter.” We then created a bookmark, posters, sandwich boards with a QR code that linked to the survey, along with assets for social media, email and digital screens. We also designed a fun, collaborative mural that people could color by hand using a key to visually represent their priorities related to technology, community space, services and more.

“The wordmark and collateral were key to the success of the campaign,” said Nohrenberg. “A bookmark was the perfect choice for us!”

We provided library staff several ideas for activities and events that would inspire people to engage in the information-gathering process and trained library staff to implement and conduct the community outreach in ways that would attract and encourage people to participate without introducing their own biases. We also recommended ways to connect with our Spanish-speaking community. These direct outreach efforts netted 1,095 initial responses.

We then developed an online survey to gather even more data and to allow people to respond to the information gathered during the direct outreach phase. This survey was offered in both English and Spanish and was completed by 4,133 participants.

Key to the success

What do you want at your library

A Eugene Public Library adventure

Craft Center Bookmarks

Take our online survey

What's Most Important to You?

The results

By encouraging people to share what was most important to them, such as services, offerings and the use of space at the library’s branches, we learned some important things.

Among the results, respondents told us they wanted quiet areas for study or silent reading (34%), creation areas (33%), outlets to charge personal devices (26%) and remote work or learning areas (21%).

By drilling down and analyzing the data more closely, however, we learned that specific groups could benefit from remote work or learning areas nearly twice as much as the average person surveyed (minority respondents: 47%, ages 18-54: 40%, and Bethel Branch patrons: 37%).

People also told us how they wanted the library to use designated spaces for children and teens and what they would like to see in terms of library programming, such as events, classes, speakers and art displays.

In addition to physical space, respondents shared how they would like to see the library expand online, and in the form of micro-sites throughout the community. Requests for more online services included the ability to renew library cards online and access more eBooks and audiobooks.

“This research provided us with information from a large number of people. The cross reference analysis was especially helpful. The data was specific enough to help guide our future planning,” said Nohrenberg. “Everything, from the collateral to the reports, were excellent. The most valuable piece is the data, which we can now use to create a strategic plan that will meet and respond to our community’s needs.”

Eugene Public Library

34% quiet areas

26% outlets to charge devices

33% creation areas

21% remote work and learning areas

Need help with your research or community outreach?

From online surveying to in-person intercept surveys and focus groups, Turell Group has extensive experience collecting and analyzing data for a variety of public, nonprofit and for-profit organizations. To get started, contact us.