Rebecca Jones, Managing Partner, Dysart & Jones Associates
If any type of library wants to understand its patrons’ information behaviors and preferences, how its community views library services, or where there are potential partnerships within the community environment, it should consider using focus groups. “Guided group conversations” offer libraries an incredible wealth of information about their clients, their services, and their evolving environment. This talk discusses the design of effective focus groups, from identifying participants to developing insightful questions and prompters, facilitating the group dynamics and dialogue, ways to use online environments, personas, and other techniques to get and keep a meaningful and directed discussion going and on topic. Information mined from focus groups and online conversations are critical in planning services, changes, and any library's future.