Impact Survey

see how the impact survey can help you with EdgeImpact Survey is an online survey tool designed specifically for public libraries so they can better understand their communities and how people use their public technology resources and services.

Impact lets you provide access to the survey directly from your public access terminals, and also provides a URL for your survey so that you can promote and gather feedback from remote users.

Impact helps you communicate the value of your library services to local leaders and funders through hard data about community members’ access to online resources about employment, health, eGovernment, education, and more. Use Impact to demonstrate how your library contributes to your community in these vital areas! The Impact Survey website has more on the creation of this tool and how it works.

Watch the Oklahoma Webinar on the Impact Survey


Stacey Wedlake, Research and Communications Coordinator with the US Impact Study with Impact presented a webinar for Oklahoma public libraries on August 4. In the webinar, Stacey provides an introduction to the survey and explains how to register and set-up surveys.

View and print Powerpoint presentation from webinar.





Using the Impact Survey in Oklahoma

The Oklahoma Department of Libraries has purchased a statewide license for all public libraries to conduct surveys as part of the Edge initiative. Oklahoma’s license terminates on December 1, 2018, and libraries can do more than one survey during this period.

Click “sign up” to register.

When registering your Oklahoma public library and you are asked to choose the group you are associated with, select the “Oklahoma Public Library Director Council.” This will help ODL gather statewide statistics on how Oklahomans are using their libraries’ public access technology services.

When prompted for the type of survey to conduct for your library, select “Patron technology use” (as opposed to “Access at a glance”).

Systems and larger libraries should run the survey for at least two weeks. Smaller libraries should run the survey for four weeks.

Good response rates are:

  • Small libraries, under 10,000 population: 40 to 50 responses
  • Large libraries and systems: 2,000 responses
  • Other libraries: 200 to 300 responses

Results should not be considered “representative responses.” They are simply real customers using your services.

The survey typically takes a participant four to six minutes to complete.

The survey meets accessibility requirements and can be displayed and taken on tablets and smart phones.

Libraries wishing to ask an additional question or two for their own benefit may set their exit page to a survey developed locally, via Survey Monkey or some other service.

Several types of reports will be ready for download from your Impact dashboard the day after the survey’s completion. While the survey is being conducted, public libraries can monitor participation via the dashboard. Likewise, ODL will have access to a statewide dashboard and will have access to results.


Impact and Patron Privacy

The Impact Survey does not collect any personally identifiable information from patrons. Impact allows the University of Washington Information School (where Impact was developed with the support of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation) to identify the responses that come from your library but will not record any other information related to the patron, even if she/he is logged into their library account.


Tips for getting customers to take the Impact Survey

  • Load the survey on the home page of library’s website. Make the library website the home page for each browser on your public computers. Patrons will then see the Impact Survey when they go online.
  • Offer chances for incentives like prizes, reduced fines, free prints, and free (used) books for those who take the survey.
  • Provide printed versions of the survey for those not on computers.
  • If your library does not have a library website, you can still administer the Impact Survey electronically by setting the homepage on your computers to the survey link.
  • Post flyers, one-pagers, or posters near the computers and in other high-traffic areas of the library to help generate survey awareness and participation among patrons. The Impact tool will provide you with some custom flyers to help you promote the survey.
  • Use the promotion tool from within the Impact Survey to create custom flyers, emails, press releases, and more.

If you have an library website and you need assistance getting your Impact Survey link on your website, please contact Amy Brandley, Edge Consultant, or Melissa Askew, ODL Website Project Coordinator.


Impact and Edge

Impact helps public libraries improve their level of accomplishment on the Edge benchmarks. Presented together, Edge and Impact Survey results give libraries a stronger case to make with local leaders about the value of the library in addressing community needs.

The Impact Survey provides resources and information for activities that Edge assesses:

  • Using the Impact Survey fulfills Edge requirements for conducting needs assessment and patron surveys (Edge benchmarks 4.2, 4.3 & 6.2)
    • 4.2 The library gathers feedback from the community about its public technology needs.
      • b. Questions about community technology are included in a library-sponsored needs assessment survey
    • 4.3 The library surveys its patrons about technology use in strategic purpose areas.
      • The library surveys patrons annually about public technology use and outcomes in the following purpose areas:
        • a. Workforce development
        • b. eGovernment
        • c. Education
        • d. Health and wellness
    • 6.2 The library conducts surveys to gather feedback about library technology.
      • The following questions are included in an annual survey:
        • a. Patron satisfaction with library technology
        • b. Personal importance of library technology
        • c. Importance of library technology to others in the community
  • Impact Survey data contributes to the evaluation of digital literacy programs (Edge benchmark 4.4)
    • 4.4 The library evaluates its technology programs and services
      • a. The effectiveness of digital literacy programs and services is evaluated annually.
  • Impact Survey data provides materials to use while building relationships with key stakeholders (Edge benchmarks 4.1. & 5.1)
    • 4.1 The library has leaders who maintain ongoing relationships with community leaders.
    • 5.1 The library develops and maintains partnerships that amplify the library’s reach, avoid duplication of effort, aid the library in planning or advocacy, or are otherwise mutually beneficial.

Watch this Impact webinar recording and learn ways that information collected in Impact can help libraries complete the Edge Assessment.


Library Development Resources