North Carolina Public Library Data

Resources for Evaluation and Assessment

Project Outcome (Free)

Project Outcome is a tool developed by the Public Library Association to help libraries show the impact of their services and programs on their communities by providing easy to use survey templates and analysis tools. Template surveys allow libraries to gather outcome-based data in the following areas: civic engagement, digital inclusion, early childhood literacy, economic development, education and lifelong learning, job skills, and summer reading.

Edge Initiative ($)

The Edge Initiative is a toolkit to help libraries assess their public access technology infrastructure and services against nationally recognized benchmarks. The toolkit includes an assessment, recommendations and planning tools, resources to help implement changes, training and communication tools. The state Library of NC offered the Edge Toolkit to all NC public libraries in 2014 and 2015.

IMPACT Survey ($)

Impact Survey is a surveying tool developed by the University of Washington Information School to gather data on how patrons use and value public library technology services. The survey asks patrons how they use services such as public computers, wireless networs, online resources, digital literacy training and outcome oriented use in the areas of education, employment, health, eGovernment, civic engagement, eCommerce and social inclusion. SLNC offered IMPACT survey to all public libraries in 2014.

Public Library Data Service Statistical Report (PLDS) (Free)

Public Library Data Service Statistical Report is conducted by the Public Library Association and includes US and Canadian libraries. The PLDS collects information from public libraries including finance, collections, services, and annual use figures. The survey also has an annual "hot topics" section which as included youth services, public library facilities and young adult services. All NC public library data collected as part of the Public Library survey is migrated into the PLDS tool to all easier participation from NC libraries. Libraries that wish to participate still need to login to the PLDS to answer additional questions and submit data to be included. Participants receive a free copy of the annual report and raw data files can be purchsed.

Public Library Survey (free, required)

The Public Library Survey is a federal data collection administered locally by state library agencies and reported to the Institute of Museum and Library Services. The survey asks libraries to report on finances, staffing, collections, programs, technology and use. Participation in the survey is a requirement of State Aid regulations for NC public libaries. NC survey data is available on the SLNC website.

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This PowerPoint template was created to celebrate National Library Week 2016 and ALA's Libraries Transform campaign.

PowerPoint template on workforce development and NC public libraries (2013-2014 data). This flyer was created for Library Legislative Day 2014.

These patron survey templates were created by the Library Research Service, a part of the the State Library of Colorado. Before using any survey template, read all questions carefully to make sure they apply to your library.

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Resources for Data Analysis

Library Community Survey Tutorial

From the State Library of New York, this online tutorial guides you through the steps of planning and conducting a community survey. Explore the Community Survey Tutorial.

Sample Size Calculator

The Sample Size Calculator is a free tool created by Creative Research Systems survey software. You can use it to determine how many people you need to interview in order to get results that reflect the target population as precisely as needed. You can also find the level of precision you have in an existing sample.

Google Fusion Tables and Google Chart Tool

Google Fusion Tables are a free Google product that allows you to either use your own Google Drive spreadsheets or use any other public data set in Google Tables to easily visualize data in dynamic online maps and charts. Google Chart Tool is another free Google tool that takes zero technical skills. This tool allows you to create many types of charts and embed them in webpages, email, or send a link.

Open Refine (formerly Google Refine)

Open Refine (formerly known as Google Refine) is a powerful tool for cleaning up messy spreadsheets of data, transforming data from one format to another, or extending data with web services. It is a standalone desktop application that must be downloaded to your computer.

Data Wrangler

Data Wrangler is a free interactive tool developed at Stanford University to assist in data cleaning and transformation. The goal of the tool is to allow you to spend less time fighting with your data and more time learning from it. Explore Data Wrangler here.

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Tools for Exploring Library-Related Data

National Public Library Chart Maker

This Excel tool was created by the State Library of Connecticut. Select a library from a dropdown menu and see 40+ charts comparing annual survey data from your library to libraries of similar size in your state and the nation.
Download tool (2013 data)
Download tool (2011 data)
Download tool (2010 data)

Library inflation calculator

This calculator takes data about past and current library money (revenue, State Aid, etc.) and adjusts for inflation by converting the historic data to the most current year's data. It also calculates the percentage difference between the inflation-adjusted values and calculates per capita revenue. Use the calculator now.

Wolfram alpha

Wolfram Alpha introduces a new way to get knowledge and answers by performing dynamic computations on vast collections of built-in data. Among other data, Wolfram Alpha contains all of the IMLS annual public library survey data. Type "robeson county library AND duplin county library" to see side-by-side data reporting from the most recent IMLS survey. Go to site.

Google public data search

This tool contains data from several national datasets. It allows you to easily dig into data at a national, regional, or state level, as well as to splice data on various indicators. The tool produces longitudinal interactive charts. Explore Google public data search now.

Public Library Finder

The Census bureau provides a free tool to search for data about any public library in the United States. You can search for branches, bookmobiles, or central libraries. Results show all annual public library statistics about that library from the most recent data available. Use the Public Library Finder now.

Compare libraries (IMLS tool)

This interactive tool allows you to select a particular library (for example, the one you work at) and compare it to other libraries around the nation based on a number of criteria. For example, how does your library compare to other libraries in the same region of the country with similar expenditures per capita? Use the tool here.

Rich Blocks Poor Blocks

This interactive mapping site takes data from the US Census Bureau's 2007 through 2011 American Community Survey to map income data on income and rent in American, block by block. Data can be displayed by street address, zip code, census tract number, or city, and comparisons to state medians are also shown. Explore Rich Blocks Poor Blocks now.


Login required: access for library staff only. Contact if you would like access. LibPAS is a web-based service that provides advanced reporting for library performance metrics and data. Login to LibPAS now!

Mapping America (NYT)

Input your city or zipcode and explore visual maps of population growth and decline, income, education racial and ethnic concentrations and patterns of housing development. The New York Times created "Mapping America: Every City, Every Block" using 2010 American Community Data from the Census Bureau. Explore your area now!

Data Ferret

Data Ferrett is a data analysis and extraction tool built by the U.S. Census Bureau to explore all datasets on the DataWeb, including U.S. community, economic, and geographic data from various census programs.

Digital Inclusion interactive map

The Digital Inclusion project makes available an amazing interactive map that overlays demographic, health, economic, and education data with public library survey data. Select a branch library to see data about the community it serves, or draw custom map areas to get data about a particular neighborhood.

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