Exploring Public Libraries Survey Data for Peer Comparisons

Exploring Public Libraries Survey Data for Peer Comparisons

August 15, 2024, 12:30-2:00 Eastern/11:30-1:00 Central/10:30-12:00 Mountain/9:30-11:00 Pacific


This session will be recorded, and the recording, slides, and any resources shared will be available on this webpage within two business days of the webinar.

Using library data to benchmark your library to its peers is easier than you think! This 90-minute session will provide hands-on guidance on how to access federal data tools and use guided templates to help organize data for planning and assessment.

We will show you how to access and analyze freely available data on your library, your library peers, and your community using Public Libraries Survey (PLS) data and the Library Search and Compare tool and point to other resources such as the US Census Bureau’s American Community Survey tool to complement and contextualize the library data that you find. You will dive into these data resources by working with a scenario based on your own library or a library that is familiar to you.

 In this session, you will:

  1. Identify your library peers across a range of key metrics from the PLS using the Library Search and Compare Tool.
  2. Identify your library’s context and community’s needs using other PLS analysis and Census data.
  3. Practice critical thinking as you analyze library data.

This session is part of the 12 Months to Better Library Data Webinar Series, made possible by funding from the Mellon Foundation.


Dan Hensley
Coordinator of Staff Training and Development, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh

Dan Hensley is a librarian with over 15 years of experience designing, implementing, and evaluating library services for adults. As a member of the Public Library Association’s Measurement, Evaluation, and Assessment Committee, he has co-presented several webinars and conference sessions on using data to evaluate and improve public library service. Prior to starting his current role as Coordinator of Staff Training and Development at Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh (PA), he was CLP’s Adult Services Coordinator. Dan received his MLIS from the University of Pittsburgh.

Marisa Pelczar
Program Analyst, Institute of Museums and Library Services

Marisa Pelczar serves as a Program Analyst at the Institute of Museum and Library Services, managing the Public Libraries Survey (PLS) and State Library Administrative Agency (SLAA) Survey, including developing the Library Search & Compare Tool, PLS Benchmarking Tables, and the new SLAA Survey Comparison Tool. She holds a PhD in Education Policy from Vanderbilt University.