Evaluating Storytime

It has been a couple weeks since I wrote Goodbye Friends, a post all about goodbyeing with style and Lindsey and I have settled into new locations and programs. As it is want to do, time has smoothed the transition and I am able to look back now with a clear eye and a less fiery heart. The result of this new found maturity? A quick look at evaluating storytime and incorporating this feedback. Because while goodbyeing sucks, getting solid feedback on your programs and knowing they’re improving is the silver lining.

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With Lindsey’s help I created a small feedback form and distributed it to families after the three regular programs I was running. I’m not going to lie, the results were definitely underwhelming, with check marks in mostly the right places and little comments about wanting more storytimes. Here are my Sample Evaluation Forms. Feel free to use and adapt as you find useful! At one program I talked about the feedback form and at the end everyone fled and I chickened out on chasing them down. There you have it, full disclosure!  But, things I learned from this process:

  • Because of varying levels of English in my community it would have been helpful to go over the feedback form before asking families to fill it out. It might also work to do “verbal version” if you have a relationship with the family and fill out a form based on the conversation that takes place. One of my personal goals is definitely to get better at gathering evidence (especially anecdotal) of library success.
  • When I waited until the last session to ask for feedback I got a mix of new families, families that needed to go or Grandpas who were filling in. Next time I will ask for feedback across a couple sessions to catch as many people as possible.

Most importantly as I looked for how other people evaluate their storytimes I found a couple cool ideas. At the Edmonton Public Library storytime-goers have the option of giving feedback online at any point in time. I like the flexibility and ongoing nature of this. Does anyone else have an online form? Do tell!

The second resource I found comes from Library Aware and while it is quite lengthy, I found it a good place to start thinking about what I wanted to evaluate and how. PLUS #4 has a couple cool ways of asking for feedback from kids, which I loved. Again, I am wondering do any of you lovely folks do this?

The last thing I have realized lately is that you don’t have to wait for major earth changing events to evaluate. We are surrounded by amazing professionals who are honest about the success of their programs and are not afraid to shake things up, and thank goodness- write about it! Angie of the amazing blog Fat Girl Reading wrote this post about rebooting a program that had lost its shine. So helpful! Also Sara who is behind Bryce Don’t Play recently talked about how important it is to evaluate your crowd right then-and-there and adapt your program to best meet developmental needs through differentiated instruction. Because she is a wizard she makes it sound doable and provides delightful memes along the way. Yay!

That about sums up my thoughts on program evaluation and all the wonderful people who are rocking out in a best practice kinda way. As per usual I would love to hear your thoughts, how you do it and anything this post made you think about!

3 thoughts on “Evaluating Storytime

  1. I wanted to let you know that the “giving feedback online” link is no longer functional. I’m a little disappointed. I was interested in seeing what it looked like and evaluating if it was something I could do. Thanks for the post and the other resources!

    1. Hi Mary- thanks so much for pointing this out! I went back to the site and found the survey now at this link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/FYZY5JX but if that doesn’t work it can be found at the bottom of the Contact EPL (Edmonton Public Library) page. Hope this helps and in the meantime I shall change the link in the post!

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