Survey says The Library is a great place to be

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I get hit up to complete a survey at least once a week. Sometimes, there is an incentive to participate, while other times, they appeal to my desire to help them do their job better. I am selective about which ones I agree to, not just because I’m finicky about where I spend my time. I just don’t put a lot of stock in them.

That probably surprises you. After all, we just published a community-wide library use survey last month. What’s more, it was my pet project. I’ll explain why we asked you to complete our Library Survey 2020 in a bit, but first I’ll explain my semi-aversion to using surveys for market research.

The ultimate reason for my distrust of survey results is that it is impossible to know how skewed they are. But, you can bet that they are skewed. You only get a segment of the population; the type of people who fill out surveys or love/hate you enough to be moved to speak up. Even well-intentioned respondents may not provide accurate data. I know for myself, that sometimes my responses to questions have more to do with my current mood or my self-induced pressure to answer a certain way than the objectivity the surveyor is hoping for. I also don’t believe in conducting a survey for the sake of conducting a survey. It has to drive us to move the needle in some aspect of our service to patrons and the community at large. Also, it is a ton of work.

It continues to be as I attempt to distill the data down into a bite-sized document that will interpret meaningful information for the right audiences. I can understand why organizations plead with me (and other consumers) to take their surveys. It is a worthwhile endeavor. While the participating respondents may not adequately represent the overall population, they do represent a cross- section of our community.

In some cases, the data we obtained from the survey closely mirrored available statistics from our digital and other analytics. Other times, not so much. For example, our statistics show that about the same number of DVDs are checked out as books every month. The survey results tilted heavily toward books. My interpretation is that the typical family can binge watch eigh movies faster than they can read eight books. Whatever the reason, I learned through the aggregated responses and individual comments that access to books — print books — is vitally important to people in our community. That is not revealed in circulation statistics.

I’m currently working on compiling the data from our Library Survey 2020 and will publish it on our website by the end of February. For now, I can share a few interesting tidbits.

• Survey population: East Bonner County; about 37,000 people

• Respondents: 219

• Platforms advertised: 9, including outreach to homebound patrons.

• People value The Library most for the access to books, DVD selection, and a welcoming space to spend time.

• People don’t just grab what they want and go. They like “being” at The Library. Amazon can’t compete with that.

• Of the 19 types of digital resources listed, most people only knew about two of them (eBooks and eaudiobooks). We’ve got some promoting to do, folks.

• Physical books are in no danger of becoming obsolete.

• We have a 94% customer service approval rating

• Most people want us to update them on notices and services applicable to their preferences via email. We’ll still use signage, social media, our website, ads, articles, and this wonderful column space (thanks, Daily Bee!) to keep you informed. Email is coming. We had a shake-up with our service provider and are changing things a bit. Stay tuned.

• People want The Library to be quieter.

• People want The Library to be less quiet.

• There were lots of brilliant suggestions for classes, events, and initiatives. Consider reserving one of our community rooms (both branches have this option) to host your own class. That is what the community rooms are for! Contact me directly for more information.

We learned so much from your responses to our survey, and your comments are always welcome. Some of your comments have helped us to look at things from a different perspective, possibly making some simple changes to improve services or access. Some comments were not as positive, but candid. Those are helpful too. We want to hear anything that can help us improve.

There were many, many expressions of praise and gratitude for various aspects of our library, especially our staff. And, to you, our staff say, “Right back at you.” February is National Library Lovers Month. If you missed your opportunity to show some library love in our survey, you can show the love by exploring and trying out a different service, platform, or genre other than the ones you are accustomed to. Ask a librarian for recommendations and then share some library love and appreciation next time you see them.

The following classes and events take place at the Sandpoint Library, 1407 Cedar Street, unless otherwise noted.

East Bonner County Library District schedule

• Fridays — Explore virtual reality (reserve sessions), 10 a.m.-12 p.m.; reserve a 15-minute session in the VR room at on the event listing. Information: Contact the Tech Desk, 208-263-6930, ext.1251.

• Fridays — M.A.C. (Manga/Anime Club) for Teens, 3-5 p.m., Room 102. Celebrate fandom at The Library. Read, write, and watch your favorite manga and anime with other enthusiasts. Information, 208-263-6930, ext. 1245; or

• Saturdays — Explore virtual reality (reserve sessions), 2-4 p.m.; reserve a 15-minute session in the VR room at on the event listing. Information: Contact the Tech Desk 208-263-6930, ext.1251.

• Saturday, Feb. 15 — Board Game Day, 2-4 p.m. at the Clark Fork branch library. Enjoy a fun day at The Library with friends and family. Play a variety of board games from the selection provided or bring your own to share. Free and open to all ages. Information: 208-266-1321.

• Monday, Feb. 17 — Closed for Presidents’ Day.

• Tuesdays — Mother Goose, 10 a.m., in Karen’s Room. Stories and singing for babies and toddlers 0-3 years old and their caregivers with stay and play until 10:40 a.m. Information: 208-263-6930, ext. 1211; or

• Tuesdays ­— Preschool Story Time, 11 a.m. in Karen’s Room. Stories and crafts for kids and their caregivers. Information: 208-263-6930, ext. 1211; or

• Tuesdays — Explore virtual reality (drop-in sessions); 3-6 p.m., drop-in 15-minute sessions. First come, first served. All ages welcome. Under 18 must accompany parent consent form. Under 10 must be accompanied by parent/legal guardian. Information: Contact the Tech Desk, 208-263-6930, ext.1251.

• Tuesday, Feb. 18 — Robot Day, 3:30 p.m. in Karen’s Room. Play and learn with kamigamis and Edison robots. Information: 208-263-6930, ext. 1211.

• Wednesdays — Clark Fork Mother Goose, 10:30 a.m. at the Clark Fork branch library. Stories, rhymes, and music for toddlers and their caregivers followed by 20 minutes of play time. Information: 208-266-1321.

• Wednesdays — Storytime, 11:30 a.m. at the Clark Fork branch library. Stories, music, and crafts geared to ages 3-6. All welcome. Information: 208-266-1321.

• Wednesday, Feb. 19 — Barrette craft, 2 p.m. at the Clark Fork branch library. Make a free craft to take home. Decorate barrettes with beads, feathers, buttons, or ribbon. Supplies provided. Geared to ages 8-14, all welcome. Information: 266-1321.

• Wednesdays — Teen Lounge Passive Pop-Up Programs, 4 p.m. in the Rotary Teen Lounge. Teen-driven art, engineering, robots, and science projects and workshops as space allows. Information: 208-263-6930, ext. 1245; or

• Wednesday, Feb. 19 — Science Café: Understanding Genetically-Modified Organisms (GMOs), 5:30 p.m. in the Innovia Foundation Community Room B. Dr. Joe Kuhl, associate professor with the Department of Plant Sciences at the University of Idaho, will present a short introduction of genetically-modified organisms, commonly known as GMOs. An interactive discussion about the science of GMOs, how they are developed and used, and common misinformation on the subject. Not a discussion about policy. Join in the discussion with an open and curious mind. Information: 208-265-2665.

• Thursday, Feb. 20 — Puppet Tales, 10:30 a.m. in Karen’s Room. Come listen to puppet, cutting, and drawing stories. All welcome! Information: 208-263-6930, ext. 1211; or

• Thursdays in February — Girls Who Code, 4-5 p.m., in the VR Room. In this 10-week program using immersive activities, you and your team will build a Girls Who Code project to solve a real-world problem. For additional information on Girls Who Code, visit their website at

• Kids and Families Winter Reading Challenge — Register at Information: 208-263-6930, ext. 1211; or

• Teen Winter Reading Challenge — Runs through Feb 29. Fun new format and great prizes. Visit for more information and to register. Information: 208-263-6930, ext. 1245; or

• Rotary Teen Lounge — Open to seventh-12th graders from any school/homeschool; Tuesdays-Thursdays, 2-6 p.m., and Fridays, 2-5 p.m. Information:, or 208-263-6930, ext. 1245.

• StoryWalk — Pages from a children’s book are posted along a trail for a fun, family experience. Through February, enjoy “Baking Day at Grandma’s,” by Anika Denise at Dover City Park and “Cat Knit,” by Jacob Grant at McNearney Park. Read, connect, and get outside at a StoryWalk, a partnership of The Library, Kaniksu Land Trust, city of Dover, and city of Ponderay. For more information, visit

Marcy Timblin is in charge of public relations, marketing & community development for the East Bonner County Library District. She can be reached at 208-208- 208-208-263-6930, ext. 1204.

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