Before developing research tools, this research framework must articulate the assumptions and theories to be tested. They might include the following:
- Libraries today are committed to providing public programs as a core service and a means to identify and assist people in meeting critical needs;
- Programming will place libraries more at the center of their communities;
- Libraries are increasingly barometers of emerging community needs;
- Library programmers should learn and demonstrate a set of agreed-upon core competencies; and
- Libraries need specific tools and practices to listen and respond to community needs.
Each of these assumptions can be followed by the critical questions that must be answered in order to validate that these assumptions are correct. These questions will, in turn, contribute to evidence required at the heart of the research. For example, the statement, “Programming will place libraries more at the center of their communities,” suggests numerous questions:
- What are some of the current relationships between program content and community needs that are being effectively addressed?
- How are libraries “listening” to their communities?
- How are audiences segmented to address emerging issues?
- Who else is at the center of the community?
- How are library programs changing to meet emerging needs?
- What are the most effective research tools or instruments to gather this information?
Why do you, or why does your library, think programming is worthwhile?
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