Online survey tool helps Madison Public Library better serve community needs

Saturday, July 28, 2007 - 7:47am

Libraries have long been at the forefront when it comes to responding to the information needs of the communities they serve, but keeping pace with rapidly changing library-user needs is a challenge. Ever resourceful, the Madison Public Library has turned to a service called "Counting Opinions"-which does just that.

Collecting personal and immediate feedback from library patrons is critical to providing the kinds of services people want and need, and helps ensure that the quality of programs and services remains as high as possible.

"Serving community residents is the goal of libraries," said Barbara Dimick, director of the Madison Public Library. "We can do this much more effectively and efficiently when we hear directly from those who use the library-whether they use the library every day, or just once in a while."

Using a service called "Counting Opinions," which is made available through a cooperative venture with the South Central Library System, the Madison Public Library is collecting feedback that will be used to help identify areas where it can improve services and better meet community needs. Not just a one-time survey available for a limited time, library users can complete this ongoing survey multiple times; even after every library visit, if you'd like.

"We believe this is a very important component of our survey, because every visit is a different experience," Barbara Dimick said. "As a library user you may seek different services or resources on subsequent visits, or attend programs in different service areas. We want to hear about all your experiences with programs, collections, and our facility. And rest assured, we are listening!"

Library users can choose from two online surveys; a short one that takes about seven minutes and longer one that takes about 15 minutes. The short one is also available as a print survey at all library locations. There is no need to answer all the questions, especially if one doesn't apply to your recent library experience, and all responses are anonymous.

To take the survey, visit


  • Tana Elias608-266-4953