Beginning this week through Friday, August 29, the Webster Parish Library will conduct an online survey to assess how library technological services make a positive impact on patrons' lives. WPL Director Beverly Hammett said the results will help the library improve technological services and communicate the value of providing free access to computers and the Internet within the Webster Parish community.
"Identifying how people use the library's computers will help us determine how to allocate resources and money," Hammett said. "That way we can focus on providing services that are being used by patrons and eliminate those that aren't."
Hammett added that library patrons who participate in the study can enter to win a $50 business gift card.
"After completing the survey, patrons will be able to enter the drawing online," she said. "The winner will be randomly selected and announced on Friday, September 5."
The Impact Survey is the result of a successful nationwide research initiative from the University of Washington with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. In 2009, the University of Washington Information School conducted "Opportunity for All: How the American Public Benefits from Internet Access at U.S. Libraries" (impact.ischool.uw.edu), which was the first large-scale investigation of how and why U.S. library patrons use library computers and Internet access libraries, and how it impacts their lives.
"Our computers were used 67,000 times last year, but that doesn't tell you about the people who use them," Hammett said. "People who might have realized their dream to go to school, but did it online because they have a full-time job...or people who were able to find a good job to support their family right here in Webster Parish, even though their employer's home office might be two states away. The ever increasing speed of technological innovation and evolution demands that we continually reassess and examine new ways to be of service to our community. That's why public feedback is so important to us."
The survey is anonymous, available in English and Spanish, and usually takes 10 to 15 minutes to complete. To participate in the Impact Survey, visit the Webster Parish Library website (www.websterparishlibrary.org) or from the public computers at any branch.