Say It With Stats!

The next step is finding the evidence to support why your project is needed. The reasons why a community needs a specific library service can be clearly illustrated with real-world statistics. Statistics about a community’s demographics, test scores, economic make-up, and geography are readily available through a myriad of online resources.

Here is a list of great online resources to find specific statistics on demographics, education, health, and more:

The Kids County Data Center, part of the Annie E. Casey Foundation

  • Data related to children and young adults
  • Organized by education, demographics, economic well-being, safety and risk behaviors, family and community, and health
  • Searchable by topic or by geographical location

The Pew Internet and American Life Project

Great Schools

  • Comprehensive overview, ratings, test schools, and reviews of public schools
  • Searchable by zip code, school district, school name, address, or city

U.S. Census

  • 10-year data collection of United States households
  • Demographics, education, economic well-being, and more
  • Searchable by geographic location.
  • American Factfinder:

Additional resources include your school district’s report card and your library’s annual statistical report.  These local reports can be invaluable when stating your case. If statistics are used in the application, be sure to cite their source.

Citing your sources can be simple as, “According to the Kids Count Data Center (a project of the Annie E. Casey Foundation), North Dakota had the highest number of young adults in juvenile detention centers in 2011.” Another example is, “The U. S. Census’ 2013 American Community Survey reports that 45% of adults in Atlanta Georgia who do not have a high school diploma also live in poverty.” This last example supports the need for programs that encourage teens to complete high school.

You do not have to include a wealth of statistics to make your case. One or two statistics can give insight to why your project is needed. Good luck! In next week’s blog post, I will give several suggestions on how to measure the success of your project.

Jaclyn Lewis Anderson is the youth services director at the Madison County Library System.

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