The Elusive Library Non-User: How Can Libraries Find Out What Non-Users Want?

PLA 2012 Conference Webinar Series imagePeople who visit the library infrequently—or those who don’t visit at all—present a special challenge to public library staff.  It’s hard to identify why they don’t use the library, because they typically ignore surveys or focus groups. And without knowing what their needs are, it’s difficult to know what services and programs will attract them. Don’t give up! This on-demand webinar offers some basic techniques that can be used to gain insights about non-users and help you draw them into the library.

This archived webinar was originally presented November 7, 2012, as part of the "PLA Conference Webinar Series: Three Top Programs from PLA 2012."

Running time: 1 hour, 2 minutes

Learning Outcomes

At the conclusion of this on-demand webinar, participants will:

  • Learn about research techniques that can be used to encourage participation by non/infrequent users
  • Know what types of questions to ask this demographic that will provide usable feedback

Who Should Attend

Public library staff, including those who may be responsible for communications/publicity and adult programming.


Donna FletcherDonna Fletcher is president of Donna E. Fletcher Consulting Inc., which she founded in 1991. Prior to that, she worked at Leo Burnett Advertising in Chicago planning strategies and developing advertising for Kellogg's, Pillsbury (General Mills) and Noxell (Procter and Gamble). She has served on the Highland Park Public Library Board of Trustees, including two years as president.


Paula M. Singer, PhDPaula M. Singer, PhD, is owner and CEO of The Singer Group, a management consulting firm she founded in 1983. Paula has effectively directed a wide range of projects for clients in the public, private and non-profit sectors including succession planning, strategic planning, executive coaching, executive recruitment, compensation, classification, and organization development studies. She has also been honored as one of Maryland 's Top 100 Women in 1997, 1999 and 2001 and is co-author of several books published by ALA.




This on-demand webinar is available 24/7 for viewing at your convenience. You'll have access to this on-demand webinar for one year from date of purchase.


  • $28 each (less 10% discount for ALA/PLA members)


  • $119 each (less 10% discount for ALA/PLA members)

If access to this on-demand webinar will be shared with multiple people—viewing either on an individual basis or gathered together in a single location—then the group rate applies.

This on-demand webinar is intended for the sole use of the purchaser, whether an individual or group. Redistribution or rebroadcast to another individual or group other than the purchaser is prohibited. Thank you for your cooperation.

How to Register

Please note: As ALA transitions to a new, centralized eLearning site, this on-demand webinar is temporarily unavailable for purchase. If you’d like to purchase access to this on-demand webinar, please contact PLA at and we will follow up with you when this product is available on the new eLearning site.

Tech Requirements

To playback this on-demand webinar you should have either the latest version of Flash running on your computer, or use a browser with native HTML5 support. Please use the most up-to-date version available of Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Opera, or Internet Explorer. A fast Internet connection and computer is recommended.

We suggest that groups, especially larger groups, plan ahead to use an LCD/LED projector in the room to project the webinar recording. Groups will also want to have speakers capable of amplifying the webinar audio for the entire room.

Credits or CEUs

PLA does not award credit hours, or CEUs, for its on-demand webinars and cannot verify participation.


If you have questions or problems accessing a recording, send a message to, or call 800-545-2433 ext. 5PLA.