I?ll certainly be delighted to offer my suggestions. First, let me
explain my concern with your scenario and how it might compare to your
initial experience to help you avoid a potential disappointment with
your new project:
The DVD on chocolate you so generously contributed to your library?s
collection appeals to a much different audience than would a Bible.
While there are certainly a number of people who are interested in
both issues and who would appreciate such material, the fact remains
that there are far more FREE hardcopy and electronic Bibles about than
there are readily available culinary and recipe tapes and books for
chocolate lovers. Having said that I fear that the comparison you?d
like to make would be one of apples and oranges and the pleasure from
contributing that you are trying to recapture may be doomed from the
outset simply by virtue of the fact that your Bibles will be
appealing, this time, to a very different market element.
Secondly, the number of people to whom your Bibles may appeal is not
necessarily indicative of the measure of your contributions? success.
On one hand you could say, as you did with the chocolate tape, that
x-number of people found the tape desirable. On the other hand you
could theoretically say that only y-number of people found the idea of
viewing your Bible material appealing, but those people, much more so,
found it especially meaningful and informative for their purposes. How
then can we compare what is largely entertainment (or perhaps even
superfluous) to what is commonly viewed as a potentially life altering
text? With this in mind, it is not necessarily the ?number? of
consumers that the true litmus test measures, but the impact the
contribution made ? even if were only to one person. The same would be
true when comparing the chocolate VHS to say, an audio novel in the
opinion of a blind user. While fewer people may check out the audio
novel, the impact it would have on that one person may be especially
significant and far surpass the value of the chocolate VHS in that
regard. In the end, one should not rush to judge his contribution on
numbers alone. It is the CONTRIBUTION then that should give you the
most pleasure despite the number of appreciative or unappreciative
So with that logic out of the way, taken in context however ? and
absent the comparison of the success of your first contribution ?
there are indeed ways to find out how well received your contribution
proves to be in both numbers and feedback. Here are some suggestions:
Make your contribution an ON LOAN donation with the understanding that
you will recall the items in one year. Typically, libraries track the
usage of ?loaned? items with the expectation of providing the data to
Meet with the director or head librarian at the library and
specifically request that they track the usage of the media so you
will know what consumers like. Libraries will usually be enthusiastic
about meeting the requirements of loaned items. Let the staff know
that you are interested in helping stock the library with usable and
popular material and that you will be keeping tabs on what works and
what doesn?t. As certain items tend to fall from the popularity list,
assure them that you will recall them and replace them with more
interesting material. This will allow you to see what works (in terms
of numbers) and what doesn?t and this simple arrangement will benefit
both you and the library.
Ask the library if they have an online database or card file. Some
libraries do. This would enable you to keep up with your contributions
to see if they are checked out or not ? and perhaps even enable you to
know how often.
Ask prospective libraries if they have a usage survey or usability
assessment system in place. If they do they will probably provide you
with periodic the data on your donations. They may even be willing to
provide this to you periodically by email, postal mail or on demand
with a quick telephone call.
Place a permanent card inside the cover of the book or DVD with a
telephone number, an email address or a website address where you can
be contacted. Encourage users to call or send you an email when they
check out the book or movie and provide personal feedback. This will
allow you not only to keep track of numbers but you?ll also get a
first-hand account directly from the consumer about how useful,
meaningful or informative they found the item to be.
Consider donating to academic libraries, electronic libraries, and
libraries that implement web-based library catalogs that typically
track and compile usage data.
Consider (as your brother suggested) donating to smaller county or
city libraries where (believe it or not) everything is not always
automated and computerized. Why? Because in this environment you can
sometimes make arrangements with the primary librarian who may, as a
favor to you in exchange for your generous donation, simply keep an
old fashioned card in the book which can be manually ?punched? or
notated to reflect how frequently and for how long each book or DVD is
checked out. If you plan to relinquish the item to the library
permanently at some point you may be able to arrange for the librarian
to mail you the usage card at the end of a specified period.
I hope you find that my answer exceeds your expectations. If you have
any questions about my research please post a clarification request
prior to rating the answer. Otherwise I welcome your rating and your
final comments and I look forward to working with you again in the
near future. Thank you for bringing your question to us.
Tutuzdad-ga ? Google Answers Researcher
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