It doesn’t matter if it’s a simple storytime or a complex spy camp program, evaluation is a necessary tool to improve library services to children and young adults. Every program I deliver, I do a self-evaluation and an evaluation from the program attendees. I firmly believe that feedback, good and bad, helps me grow as a librarian. It also helps me develop programs that kids and teens want to attend.
We’re busy librarians and once one program is completed, we’re on to the next one! It is important to do the self-evaluation preferably the same day as the program or the day after. That way it is fresh in your heads! I also encourage my co-workers to do the same.
I created a Program Evaluation form for Programmers. I print it out and staple it to all my program outlines and then file them in a binder. This is a great way to keep track of previous programs and what you can change up for next time.
It’s important to be thorough, but also be critical. There’s always room to grow.
Evaluations from Program Participants
Always seek approval from management before you hand out any kind of evaluation form to the public. It should be approved from above before you distribute it from below.
I have a habit of doing one-off programs such as Play Date with a Book. I ran the adult version of this program in February for Valentine’s Day and I regret not putting in survey to see if they actually enjoyed the books I selected!
To get feedback from children and teens, a little bribery does the trick. Here are some simple tips:
- Offer them ballots for a prize or give them some stickers (we always have leftovers from Summer Reading Club!) in exchange for filling out surveys
- KISS – KEEP IT SIMPLE SILLY! Include no more than three questions and make them closed-ended (yes or no) rather than open-ended (sentence style)
- Offer community service hours for participating in surveys
- Open forum works best. Get them to be critical.