Considering outreach assessment: Strategies, sample scenarios, and a call to action

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How do we measure the impact of our outreach programming? While there is a lot of information about successful outreach activities in the library literature, there is far less documentation of assessment strategies. There may be numerous barriers to conducting assessment, including a lack of time, money, staff, knowledge, and administrative support. Further, many outreach activities are not tied back to institutional missions and event goals, meaning they are disjointed activities that do not reflect particular outcomes. High attendance numbers may show that there was excellent swag and food at an event, but did the event relate back to your missions and goals? In this article, we examine the various kinds of outreach that libraries are doing, sort these activities into six broad categories, explore assorted assessment techniques, and include a small survey about people’s experience and comfort with suggested assessments. Using hypothetical outreach scenarios, we will illustrate how to identify appropriate assessment strategies to evaluate an event’s goals and measure impact. Recognizing there are numerous constraints, we suggest that all library workers engaging in outreach activities should strongly consider incorporating goals-driven assessment in their work.
Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalIn the Library with the Lead Pipe
StatePublished - 2016


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