As part of a strategic planning process, the Indianapolis Public Library (IndyPL) is assessing data on current and projected library use. Because IndyPL access is evolving to accommodate new technologies, evaluation includes analysis of how the IndyPL’s services and facilities will meet the needs of all users. IndyPL asked the Indiana University Public Policy Institute (PPI) to provide assistance with this assessment. Data were collected in four ways: online surveys, in-person surveys, facility use analysis, and geographical analysis. This report presents overview maps and analysis of the surveys for the library system as a whole; it also compares survey results with national or other library survey data where questions align.
Since the 1990s, surveys in all disciplines have increasingly moved from being administered face-to-face and by telephone to online surveys in an effort to improve time and cost efficiencies and reach more people. Including an in-person survey in this study’s methodology allowed PPI to identify noteworthy demographic differences between in-person library visitors and patrons surveyed online, and between Indianapolis and national survey (such as Pew) respondents. While demographic data on Indianapolis online respondents often parallel those in national library surveys conducted by phone or online, data on in-person visitors at the branches differ from both Indianapolis online and national responses. A combination of in-person and online survey methods may result in a more accurate picture of IndyPL users and point to considerations for library marketing and outreach.