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WLA 2009: "Library Services for the Homeless Population in Wisconsin"

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on Thursday, October 22, 2009 in WLA Blog Archive
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Library Services for the Homeless Population in Wisconsin: Findings of a StudyTimothy Blomquist, UW-Milwaukee SOIS Sponsored by WLA Outreach Services Section Research for his Masters thesis Conducted survey April-May 2008 388 public libraries - sent survey 260 responses - 67% response rate, 1 invalid 16 questions questionnaire - had definitionsHe got the impression that people aren't aware of the issues Statistics2.5-3.5 million people homeless annually (in U.S.) - 39% children 700,000-2 million each night 12 million have experienced homelessness at some point (7%+ of population) 600,000 families with 1.35 million children experience homelessness each year Definitions vary - without permanent or adequate shelter Really, it's not just lacking a place to sleep - lacking storage for belongings, pulled away from friends/ family/ school/ support WI ServicePoint Homeless Management Information System Causative factors: Veterans, roommate/family conflict, eviction, low/no income, domestic violence, criminal history, addiction, institutional discharge, physical/mental disabilities, can't find affordable housing,...

WLA 2008: Constructing Questionnaires and Questions: It's Harder Than it Seems

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on Wednesday, November 05, 2008 in WLA Blog Archive
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This presentation by Thomas D. Walker (UW Milwaukee) covered the fundamentals of questionnaire construction.Surveys are instruments to gather data for empirical analysis.Some questionnaires can accidentally turn into "fishing expeditions", and ask too many questions.There are three crucial tasks:sampling the populationdetermining the medium - f2f 1 to 1, in groups, written formdesigning the questionnaireAdvantages to written Questionnaires:more cost effective than interviews, especially with large sample sizes or large regionsmost cost effective medium for large numbers of questionscan be easier to analyze, depending on the construction of the questions; some aspects can be automated (#2 pencil)are a familiar mediumcan reduce bias associated with oral questionnairescan be less instusive than oral surveys (more anonymous)Disadvantages to written questionnaires:lower response rates (equals lower confidence levels)questions are usually very focused -- no elaborations are possible ("well yes, but ..." qualified answers aren't possible)no visual cues (no body language observable by interviewer)hard to know who's fillig it outmay...

WAAL 2008: User Surveys: Cost-effective Marketing Strategies

Posted by Lisa Strand
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on Thursday, April 17, 2008 in WLA Blog Archive
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Larry Duerr and Dolores Skowronek, Alverno CollegeCost-effective Marketing StrategiesBoth of us are on campus library marketing committeePrevious committee members were more interested in promoting internally through bulletin boards, etc.International Encyclopedia of Information and Library Science: "Marketing represents an organized way of offering library services cost-effectively and efficiently, baesd upon user interests, communication methods, imaginative design of service and products, and feedback that improves what the library is doing."Rather than pulling an idea out of a hat and saying, "let's try this" - we needed data on our usersLast time we'd gathered data like this was 10 years agoInfo we wanted to gather: frequency of library use, demographics, reality of student tech proficiency vs. their self-assessment, satisfaction level with libraryData gathering & statistical analysisProbability sampling - better option but requires more understanding of statistics, and more funds - everyone has same chance of being surveyed - yields statistically measurable resultsNon-probability sampling -...

WAAL 2008: Web Site and Online Database Accessibility...

Posted by Lisa Strand
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on Thursday, April 17, 2008 in WLA Blog Archive
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Web Site and Online Database Accessibility at Academic Libraries: A Critical Overview of the Recent Research and Policy DevelopmentsAxel SchmetzkeAxel started by showing us a short video about using a screen reader to read online documents and surf the web."For people with print/sensory disabilities, the digitization of information offer unprecedented opportunities..." but we need to do it right. The accessibility of online stuff depends on its design.Common barriers to web page accessibility:images and maps without ALTtables used for layoutscrolling/blinking elementsno meaningful link textpoor contrast between text and backgroundno "skip navigation" linkWCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) and Section 508 (federal requirements) are the standard "rules" for making online stuff accessible. 508 is becoming more widely used because vendors are motivated to meet federal requirements and many states (including WI) are adopting 508 as their standard.Reasons for an accessible online environment:Ethics -- it's the right thing to doEconomics -- it makes sense from...

WLA 2007: Applying Survey Methodology in the Real World

Posted by Lisa Strand
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on Wednesday, October 17, 2007 in WLA Blog Archive
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Applying Survey Methodology in the Real Worlda presentation by Thomas Walker, Associate Dean, UW-Milwaukee, SOISIntroduction to surveys:What are they?How to plan a surveyHow to collect dataSamplingQuestionnairesI. What are surveys?a formalized method of gathering info about a group of people through a samplea carefully chosen sample can be used to project results to a larger populationSurveys are not...collected from 100% of a populationcollected entirely from a self-selected groupcollected from a group just because that "sample" is easy to get data fromData gathered systematically:standardized proceduresnot data from individuals -- should be anonymousdata should form a composite profile of the wholeLibrary surveys:usually to assist in the planning processassess community needsassess community perceptions of...- what libraries are- what libraries should beSurveys and methods of collection:telephonemailin-person at the library or other locationweb site or emailwhile methods of data collection can be used to describe the type of survey, methods should not be the main reason a...