Community Needs Assessment


  • Save a copy of this report to work on, leaving a blank copy to use again in the future.
  • Throughout the report, look for the yellow highlighted material and change it to your library’s information. Remove the highlight by selecting the yellow text, finding the “Text Highlight Color” tool in the font toolbar on the Home tab, and select “No Color.”
  • In the narrative sections, first add your initial thoughts, then later, go back and enhance these sections.
  • Before completing your report, remove any sections that you did not use.
  • After you have completed your report, adjust where the page breaks are so that tables are not broken up and there are no dangling lines from sections.

Demographic Profile


  • Go to . Scroll down to menu at bottom of the page. Under Find Data, select QuickFacts.
  • In the QuickFacts search box, type in your state and select the correct option that comes up.
  • In the search box, type in your county, and select the correct option that comes up. Repeat for your city/town.
  • You now have a table with comparison data for your city/town, county, and state.
  • Fill in the Table 1, using Population estimates base, April 1, 2010, (V2016), Population estimates, July 1, 2016, (V2016), and Population percent change.

Projected Population in 5 Years



  • On the main American Fact Finder page for your city/town, select Veterans from the left menu.
  • Enter the number of veterans in your city/town.

Race and Ethnicity

  • In the same American Fact Finder table as above for age, scroll down to Race: Race Alone or in combination with one or more other races.
  • Fill in percentages in tables 3 and 4.


  • American Fact Finder-Community Facts for your community.
  • In the left menu, choose Origins and Language,
  • In your city/town window, select Language Spoken at Home.
  • Find the percent of those that Speak a language other than English.
  • Using the same census table, fill in your report table 5 the percent of other languages spoken for your city/town and county.


  • For your city or town: American Fact Finder Community Facts.
  • In the left menu select Housing.
  • , select Occupancy Characteristics.
  • Fill out the percentage information for types of households and presence of children.


  • Largest employers: Call your local Chamber of Commerce to find the three largest employers in your city/town.
  • Top industries: American Fact Finder-Business and Industry-Industry by Sex and Median Earnings. Find the top five industries by total number of employed.
  • Unemployment rate.


  • Go to QuickFacts (with your city/town, county, and state added to the table)
  • Scroll down to Income and Poverty.
  • Find median household income, per capita income, and persons in poverty for your city/town, county, and state.


  • QuickFacts-Education
  • Find high school graduates, percent of persons age 25 or older
  • Find bachelor’s degree or higher, percent of persons age 25 or older


Top Health Concerns


  • American Fact Finder-Income-Selected Economic Characteristics
  • Find the percentage of the civilian noninstitutionalized population of the city/town without health insurance.

Physical Fitness

Health Care Organizations

  • List the health care organizations in your community: hospitals, clinics, rehabilitation hospitals and services, hospices, and other.

Community Profile


  • Add the libraries that exist in your COUNTY.


  • List all the schools located in your city/town and/or county. For schools, you may add the school system and not individual schools (e.g., El Reno Public Schools).
  • Don’t forget the dependent school districts.

Social Service Providers

  • List the number of social services in your area. If you have a large community, estimate these numbers.

Community Organizations

  • Estimate the number and types of these organizations in your community.

Cultural Organizations

  • List the organizations in your city/town.

Government Offices

  • List the government offices (city, county, state, federal, tribal) in your community.
  • Examples are City Hall, County Courthouse, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Tribal headquarters, Social Security office.

Library profile

Annual Report Statistics

Use your ODL annual report data to create your library profile.

Use Bibliostat Connect online to create graphs and tables about your library services from past annual report data.

SWOT Analysis (Optional)

You may include your library’s SWOT (strengths, weakness, opportunities, threats) analysis (see the Workbook).

Community Survey (optional)

A community survey is critical to your needs assessment. It is the only way to find out what your patrons and the public at large think about the library and how they use the library. The Oklahoma Department of Libraries has recently purchased the Impact Survey for all Oklahoma non-system libraries, and the systems have purchased their own subscriptions. Please use this wonderful tool while it is available! Impact delivers excellent reports that you can add directly to your community needs assessment.

Add the results of your community survey(s). Include a narrative that explains the results and their significance. Show that you understand the survey results and what they mean for the library.

Focus Groups and Stakeholder Interviews (optional)

Focus groups and stakeholder interviews give you the opportunity to ask questions in person and receive detailed responses. This type of deeper feedback from valued library users and community partners will provide very useful information about the library. It is important to include non-library users to discover why they don’t use the library and what resources they use instead of the library.

You don’t need a transcript of these recorded interviews, but group the comments by topic (ex: facilities, programs, marketing, children’s services, computers and internet, etc.) or by strengths and weaknesses or by age group served (children, teens, adults, seniors). Under each topic give examples of comments that represent the findings.

Library Trend Analysis

A literature review of national library trends focusing on technology and the digital divide is included in the report, with resources.


Conclude each major section of your assessment (Demographics, Community Information, Library Usage, Community Survey Results, Focus Groups, Library Trends) with a narrative of the results. Summarize each sub-section with one or two sentences (or more depending on the significance of the results). Address how each sub-section impacts the library. You aren’t detailing plans for the future here (that will go in your strategic or long-range plan), but it is appropriate to note how your findings in the assessment can impact library services and resources.


The relatively young population in Craven County (particularly those under 5 years of age) supports the need for strong children’s programs and collections in the Craven County libraries. Public libraries have an important role to play in helping young children build the skills needed to succeed in school, and this is especially true in a county that ranks 10th in the state in the percentage of its population under 5 years of age.

The population of Craven County is better educated and wealthier relative to the state as a whole, and both better educated and wealthier populations tend to be heavier library users. Consequently, demand for library services in Craven County is likely to be strong.

Community Needs Assessment for the Public Libraries of Craven County, 2013. RB Software & Consulting, Inc.


Finish the assessment with a conclusion, repeating significant findings and their impacts on the library. Explain how the assessment will be used: to create a five-year long range plan? To apply for a grant?


Include Edge assessment and action plan, Impact and other survey questions and results, focus group and stakeholder interview questions and answers.


Feel free to add good quality photographs of your library and library happenings in the introduction.

If the assessment is being undertaken prior to a facilities expansion, add a section on the library facilities with details about the building, the site, and the issues.