1. Survey Patrons

The first step in planning involves asking your patrons what kinds of arts instruction they are interested in. Using a Library Patron Survey — or informal methods, such as coffee and conversation — you will be able to determine their preferred arts discipline.

Feedback from your patrons is essential, as it will determine the subject matter, the type of teaching artist you hire and will inform the kind of classroom space and supplies required.

Questions to use when surveying patrons about creative aging program preferences.
Example of a simple patron survey

In all likelihood you and your colleagues will have an inkling regarding the discipline patrons would prefer. However, it is critical to confirm your hunch. You may be surprised to learn that whereas you thought they would like to learn ballroom dancing, they might actually prefer poetry or sculpting. Without patron feedback you run the risk of offering a program to which few will respond.

As we explore the library service need/wants opportunities for populations age 50+, we’ll want to learn more by asking great questions.  This is a large segment of our population but well worth the time to learn about who they (or in my case, who we) are.
— Julie Woodward, Idaho Commission for Libraries

Tip:

If at all possible, survey some older adults who are not current library patrons. This could be done through distribution of your survey via an agency that works with older adults (your local senior center for example), through an off-site focus group, and/or through a targeted online survey.

Tools:

Resources:

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