You’re providing access, but are you demonstrating the impact of technology collections for children? Outcome measures show how your technology services and programs are making a difference in your community.
Children are coming home with Chromebooks or other laptops through their districts’ 1:1 program.
At a high level this seems like it will solve accessibility issues, but doesn’t consider that many rural areas don’t have access to reliable internet service and some children won’t be able to use the device at home.
To address this disparity, Yolo County Library (YCL) applied for and received a County grant to lend out Chromebooks and WiFi hotspots at all seven library branches. Each branch provides access to five Chromebooks and five Hotspots for library-card holders regardless of age.
YCL created a survey, based on PLA Project Outcome’s Digital Learning outcomes which will help us understand what people are using the devices for and what we can do to meet their digital learning needs. A preliminary review of the surveys made me smile. One young person said, “It allowed me to keep contact with my mom after football practice to pick me up. I don’t have a phone only an iPod so it helped me call her through Facebook.”
A survey goes out with each Chromebook and/or Hotspot. Circulation staff collect them upon return and send them to the Tech Team to store, enter, and compile the data. Sharing the positive feedback is a great way to keep staff motivated.
We have had some difficulty with damaged Chromebooks –lost power cords, smoke damage, and cases that are so dirty that they need washing. Based on this experience, the Tech Team and Circulation Team made some last minute changes. The Chromebooks now have a label that explains 1) how to avoid damaging the item and 2) damage results in a suspension from using the device in the future.
Currently, we are tracking the use of these devices and collecting feedback from the public and staff. This data will inform our decision about how to expand the program. Thanks to Project Outcome, the data will also tell a great story to our County administration, library supporters, our staff, and our communities.