As part of its wider review of services, Derby City Council appointed Enventure Research to undertake a two-stage public consultation regarding the future of its Library Services. The Council required statistically valid and detailed research to provide an overall picture of current service usage, opinions on options for the future and the future needs of key demographic groups. The consultation was open to everyone who lived and worked in Derby, including those who worked or volunteered for the library service.
Phase 1: Research Methods
The first stage of the research involved a combined quantitative and qualitative methodology. A questionnaire was designed in partnership between Derby City Council and Enventure Research, which covered topics including Library Service usage, the importance of reading and accessing books, feedback on the draft vision for the Library Service, opinions on potential future service delivery models, attitudes towards the core and supplementary offer at libraries and other ideas for reducing the cost of the service. A background consultation was provided along with the questionnaire to give respondents information about the Council’s financial position and the proposals for alternative service delivery models.
The survey was hosted online over a twelve-week period and promoted widely by the Council. Email invitations were sent to all those registered on the Derby Libraries database and paper copies were distributed to libraries across the city. Respondents were offered the option to complete the survey in Polish, Punjabi or Urdu, or to request a large print copy. In total, 4,990 responses were received.
In addition to the survey, a series of focus groups and in depth telephone interviews took place to provide added insight into the findings. Three focus groups were attended by between eight and ten participants, stratified by life stage and recruited via the survey. These participants were broadly representative of the wider population of Derby in terms of gender, age and ethnicity. Another three groups were held with schoolchildren and a dedicated group for library staff also took place. All focus groups were moderated by Enventure Research’s experienced team.
Phase 1: Results and Benefits to the Client
The Phase 1 findings were used by the Council to help draw up four options for the future of the Library Service.
The report for the first phase of the research has been published online and can be found here.
Phase 2: Research Methods
In order to determine which of the four options proposed was most appropriate, the Council wished to undertake a second round of public consultation to explore public views on the options and the likely impact on use of library services, reading habits and internet use. It also wished to garner opinions on the relocation of city centre lending services, interest in volunteering and alternative ideas for cost savings from within the service. The Council required statistically valid research to provide an overall picture of support and opposition for each option, and the impact of each for key demographic groups.
A quantitative methodology was chosen for this research in order to provide statistical validity, robustness and representativeness. The survey took the form of a paper and online survey, which was designed in partnership between Derby City Council and Enventure Research. Topics covered included libraries used in the last twelve months and preferred library, views on moving the city centre lending library services, views on each proposed option and the impact of each on use of library services, reading habits and internet usage, views on community-run libraries, willingness to volunteer and other ideas for reducing the cost of the Library Service. Key demographic information was also collected to allow the comparison of views across different subgroups.
A background consultation document was developed to give respondents information about the Council’s financial position and the options for service delivery being considered. Respondents were asked to read this document before completing the survey.
The survey was hosted online and was promoted widely via the Council website and social media channels, on library computers, on posters displayed in public libraries and other Council buildings, and on flyers distributed at libraries and other places in Derby. An email was also sent to all those registered on the Derby Libraries database and registered on the Derby City Council Citizens’ Panel inviting them to take part and providing them with a direct link to participate. Reminder emails were sent to those who had not responded to earlier mailings to encourage them to participate.
In addition to the online survey, paper copies of the questionnaire and consultation document were distributed to libraries across the city. These were provided with prepaid envelopes for respondents to return their completed questionnaires back to Enventure Research. The survey was available in English, Urdu, Slovak, Polish and Punjabi online and in paper format (including a large print version), on request from a library.
Phase 2: Results and Benefits to the Client
The survey was live from 19 September 2016 to 14 December 2016. During this time, 4,378 responses were received, providing a robust sample size for analysis. A total of 2,696 responses (62%) were received online and 1,682 responses (38%) were received in paper format.
Enventure Research undertook data entry of all paper questionnaires and provided comprehensive analysis and reporting on all responses, including coding of all open responses. A detailed research report was provided to the Council, which will be used to support the Council’s decision-making about the best way forward for the Library Service.
“Nothing was too much trouble – they certainly understand the concept of customer service. Happy to recommend Enventure Research.”
David Potton, Head of Library Services, Derby City Council
To find out more about this, and other similar projects, please contact us – we would be happy to help!