What Are States Asking? The 2.1 Report Has Answers

Measures that Matter Publishes Report on Action Plan Step 2.1 “Review State Added Data Elements”

Measures that Matter Publishes Report on Action Step 2.1 “Review State Added Data Elements”

18 June 2019

From the earliest days of Measures that Matter (MtM), questions have percolated around states’ surveys of their public libraries.  A number of questions typically in those surveys are from the Institute of Museum and Library Services Public Libraries Survey but many states ask additional questions determined to be of interest at the state level.  What is the nature of those additional questions?  How are states using data from those questions?  Are any of those questions asked by multiple states, and should any of them be considered for inclusion in the IMLS Public Libraries Survey?

Image of 2.1 report cover with hyperlink to report page
Click image to go to report.

These questions served as the basis for Measures that Matter Action Plan Step 2.1 “Review State Added Data Elements,” and the work of investigating them was taken up by researchers at Ithaka S+R.  Their report, authored by Melissa Blankstein and Christine Wolff-Eisenberg, and accompanying data set are now available on the Measures that Matter website and will soon be available also at https://www.lrs.org/.   Among the key insights in the report:

  • On average, in their surveys states add 180 additional data elements to the IMLS Public Libraries Survey questions.
  • There is substantial commonality across these elements, especially in the areas of operating expenditure, human resources, services, governance, and operating revenues.
  • Many of the state-added items are components of data elements within the IMLS Public Libraries Survey questions and contribute directly to calculations for data elements within it.
  • Data Coordinators interviewed in nine states reported that they have not made substantial changes to their state’s survey instruments within the last five years and currently have an informal process in place for making changes to their survey.

The report concludes with recommendations for IMLS and State Library Agencies.  These will be reviewed by IMLS and COSLA as well as individual State Library Agencies and, we hope, others engaged in public library data collection.

We encourage your help in continuing the discussion by visiting the MtM website, tweeting @libmeasuresmtr, and sharing information on the MtM listserv.  To join the listserv, complete the request form at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/MtMEmailList.  For more information, email info@cosla.org or measuresthatmatterlib@gmail.com

Measures that Matter is made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services RE-00-16-0181-16.