Please note: This page describes work by New Knowledge Organization Ltd. in evaluating the Libraries Transforming Communities initiative. If you have attended an LTC conference session or utilizing LTC resources and wish to share your feedback, please send us your comments.
In close collaboration with ALA, New Knowledge Organization Ltd. (NewKnowledge), a nonprofit research institute based in New York, N.Y., is serving as the independent evaluator for the Libraries Transforming Communities (LTC) initiative. What we learn from participants in the study will be a valuable contribution to the public library profession.
Evaluation will be an ongoing process through December 2015 and will consist of several methods of data collection and analysis. We’ll focus on understanding the training of public librarians and ALA staff by the Harwood Institute and web-based tools and resources that are being developed as part of the initiative. Research will involve both qualitative and quantitative methods, including surveys, interviews, focus groups and monitoring web use.
Participants are invited to share freely, honestly and openly about their experiences — all data will be anonymized. Through this process, NewKnowledge hopes to describe, as deeply as possible, the collective impact of training libraries and librarians in Harwood’s “turning outward” approach to community engagement. Any questions about NewKnowledge or the specifics of our evaluation plan can be directed to Rebecca Norlander (firstname.lastname@example.org). We greatly appreciate your support of this important work and join with you in your commitment to the project.
NewKnowledge is committed to a pluralist approach to all its work, with a staff of 16 people drawn from a broad range of academic backgrounds, life and work experiences. The team offers each project an array of perspectives that can more effectively explore and develop any project. We have selected the members of our staff whose skills are best suited to the LTC initiative evaluation to lead this project.
John Fraser (LTC evaluation director) is a conservation psychologist, architect and educator. As president and CEO of NewKnowledge, Dr. Fraser’s research focuses on how worldviews impact learning attitudes, motivations and the ability to develop new knowledge in free-choice settings. Dr. Fraser is currently an adjunct faculty member at Hunter College, Columbia University, Canisius College, has appointments as a research scientists at the Earth Institute and Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis, and is associate editor for Curator: the Museum Journal and was a fellow of the Wildlife Conservation Society from 2010 to 2013. Prior to joining NewKnowledge, Dr. Fraser was director of the Institute for Learning Innovation’s New York office from 2008 to 2011. He served as director of public research and evaluation from 2006 to 2008 and director of interpretive programs from 2001 to 2006, both at the Wildlife Conservation Society. Dr. Fraser is currently directing NewKnowledge’s work on ALA PPO’s IMLS funded project, Assessing the National Impact of Library Public Programs
Rebecca Norlander (LTC evaluation strategy and analysis) joined NewKnowledge in 2014 as a researcher with expertise in education and digital communication technologies. Her doctorate in human science includes certification in International Conflict Resolution and Building a Sustainable World, and a specialization in Transformative Social Change. Additionally, her areas of interest and expertise include qualitative research methods, human rights and curriculum design. Dr. Norlander’s past experience includes work with the American Civil Liberties Union, Amnesty International, and Digital Democracy. She is also currently the Regional Representative (NYC) for Human Rights Educators USA. Dr. Norlander is currently working as a key member of the team developing the ALA PPO’s IMLS funded project, Assessing the National Impact of Library Public Programs.
Kate Flinner (LTC communications, data collection, reporting support) currently manages evaluation for the National Network for Ocean & Climate Change Interpretation’s professional development networks evaluation program; nationwide public surveys; visitor surveys; and youth programs connected to the project. She also oversaw summative evaluation of the Model My Watershed program for Stroud Water Research Center with 25 teachers and nearly 1,000 students engaged in parallel quantitative and qualitative pre/post/delayed-post surveys. Ms. Flinner is an experienced educator skilled with scaffolding participant engagement with online data collection tools and coordinating all evaluation when a project is “in the field.” As a writer and editor for NewKnowledge publications and media, she manages communications and evaluation programs, and serves as a Books Editor for Curator: The Museum Journal.