Project Design

The NILPPA: Phase I research used a range of research methods, including surveys, interviews, conferences, discussion forums, reviews, and reports, to gather national data from many different library sectors. Participants in this process were ALA PPO staff, the NewKnowledge research team, a core research team of six library professionals, a national advisory team consisting of 20 additional library and allied field professionals, and over two thousand3 library workers around the U.S. currently responsible for programming. Resources included a broad review of university curricula, as well as a sampling of library job listings and position descriptions. Researchers drew on findings of such related projects as Project Outcome, WebJunction, the University of Washington Impact Study, Measures that Matter, Programming Librarian, the Pew Library Typology, and others. Blog posts on the NILPPA website have highlighted the project’s core questions and preliminary findings, and presentations at professional meetings have provided ongoing updates.

Throughout the project, researchers used rigorous approaches to data collection and analysis that incorporated a variety of opinions. The team deployed and redeployed surveys to assure inclusive representation of library types and to test for validity of terms and findings. The advisory and core research teams reviewed all findings and augmented the study through their own research and experience. The results from this first phase will shape the ongoing research design with an eye toward our aim of advancing public programming in all library types across the country.

Performance at a program about the Dust Bowl at Pasadena (Calif.) Public Library

Performance at a program about the Dust Bowl at Pasadena (Calif.) Public Library


3. Across all research activities, 2,245 library workers participated in the studies. We tried to reach as many unique library workers as possible both to include the maximum number of voices and to reduce burden. However, individuals may have participated in multiple research activities. Above, we use the approximate number (2,000) as a conservative estimate of unique participants.

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