In May 2018, the Massachusetts Library System hosted the Research Institute for Public Libraries. Fifty librarians attended the institute with the goal of building research into their activities. Interested to learn more about how the institute has benefitted our members this past year, I reached out to Jessi Finnie, the Director of the Scituate Town Library. In this interview, Jessi will tell you about how she integrated what she learned at RIPL into her workflow and strategic planning process.
Reflecting on the Research Institute for Public Libraries (RIPL), what did you think about your experience?
Jessi Finnie: Overall, I was pleased with my experience at RIPL and left with more tools in my tool belt to manage our library’s Strategic Planning process.
What are the most useful tools and resources you learned about at the RIPL?
While I already knew how to pull census data, RIPL highlighted tools within FactFinder such as using the advanced search feature to compare data between towns. We also learned of a number of smaller and more niche databases that could provide helpful data such as “Kid’s Count” and some of the information to be found from the Centers for Disease Control.
Learning about new resources is always helpful, but one of my biggest takeaways from the session was simplifying and maximizing my presentation data. We discussed the pros and cons of various types of charts and graphs, and learned a bit about how people respond to these visual tools. I think data analysis comes naturally to many librarians, but presenting data in an impactful way can be a bit more challenging. Continue reading