A Variety of Outreach Visualizations

Outreach is a hot topic in the library world, and one that the Library Research Service (LRS) has incorporated into the Public Library Annual Report (PLAR) since 2015. In the PLAR outreach is described as an event, but not a program, which engages the public outside the library facilities. This is an event where library staff provide printed, verbal, and/or visual information about the library’s resources and services. The PLAR asks Colorado public libraries two questions about outreach: How many individuals are exposed to the library? And, how many individuals are directly engaged with the library throughout the year? Before diving into this data, it’s important to acknowledge that there are much more comprehensive ways to measure the impact of library outreach services, and these questions don’t even begin to capture all the ways libraries engage and serve communities outside of library buildings. Although counting the number of people exposed to or engaged by the library beyond its walls does not address the benefits that discovering the library can have on individuals and families, tracking this information can at least tell us how outreach efforts are progressing from year to year in regards to how many people are being reached.

This March post presents three different ways this readily available outreach data can be visualized and discusses the scenarios that best fit each visualization type. Instead of using different data to show multiple versions of one chart type, this post uses the same data to briefly introduce three different types of charts. Future posts will engage with each type of chart in more detail. In the visualizations below both pieces of PLAR outreach data are combined into one chart, so befittingly, the first type of chart we will look at is called a combination chart…

Continue reading this post on LRS.org and check out more posts on research in a library context from Library Research Service.


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