Feedback in the Library

Feedback Forms for Kids

Awhile back, I was sitting in a youth services staff meeting and we were talking about when was a good time to have a Saturday program. There was hesitance over hosting it in the afternoon because it was assumed it was a difficult time for families to bring their children. While the mini-debate ensued, I sat back wondering how we determine what is a good time vs. a bad time for caregivers and their children, especially since each patron’s individual schedule is very different from the next. Do we solely rely on past program experience to determine these specifics? Sometimes past experience can be dated because, lets face it, times change. But if we don’t ask our patrons when we should be available to them, how will we ever know?

That’s when I decided to start leaving out comment cards at programs.

The inaugural Read Across Lawrence for Kids event was a great opportunity to test drive comment cards for kids. It was the first time we implemented this type of expansive, month-long intensive program, and any feedback would be helpful for future planning. At the first Read Across Lawrence for Kids event last year, I left out our library’s event-specific comment cards which our adult services programming coordinator created a couple of years ago. They look like this:

comment card

Only one person filled one out, and it was an adult. I love hearing from caregivers, but I also wanted to hear from the kids. So, I created these:

RAL Kids Comment

Last year’s comment forms not only included information about dates and times that attendees (ages 8-13) were available, but also asked about what they liked about the event, how did they hear about the program, and this year’s forms also included if they have any suggestions for future library programs. The larger print and colorful emoticons gave the comment cards the kick in the pants they needed to be more kid-friendly. The results showed. I had scores of feedback forms turned in, and once the entire monthly program was over, I bound it in a binder and read each one. I made notes specific to the best times kids were available and how they heard about the program. When the time came to start working on this year’s program earlier this year, I pulled the binder of comment forms out out and consulted it regularly throughout the planning process.

This is what this year’s forms looked like:

Feedback Form for Library Kids

I added the question: “Do you have ideas for events at the library? What are they?” in this year’s form and received a lot of really great ideas!

Paper feedback forms are easy because the’re available at the events attended. Ideally, I’d love to have a feedback form for kids on the library’s kids page so that kids can submit feedback and program ideas anytime. Feedback forms would be a great inclusion for storytime as well. The kid-friendly forms are less of a time commitment for parents to fill out when they have little ones they’re trying to keep track of. I’d like to incorporate some type of standard, one-for-all kid comment form in the future. I found the Read Across Lawrence for Kids comment forms to be extremely handy in implementing programming, and it gives the kids and their caregivers the power to provide input in the services we customize for them.

Do you have feedback forms in your library? How do you document or survey the needs of your patrons?



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