Setting Goals to Improve Createch

M3 Day

Marika Staloch and her team at Libraries worked hard this year to set measurable goals and targets to improve programming at Createch, using quality data collected from the YPQA and attendance data from the Sprockets Shared Database. But how do you measure a goal like "increasing teen sense of belonging?" Read about their journey through the Sprockets quality improvement cycle and how they're going to measure success at Createch! 

Submitted by Marika Staloch, Saint Paul Public Libraries

The City of Saint Paul and Bloomberg’s What Works Cities are looking at what data we collect in order to tell the story about the work currently being done in Saint Paul and to improve our service performance. Our goal with this work is to focus on the patron’s experience, have transparency and accountability with our data, and make data-based decisions. By tracking data, we are better able to target innovation opportunities and continually improve our programs. For this project I focused on data collected for Createch.  

My presentation on our findings are here.

Createch is a tinkering space for teens in Saint Paul to hang out, mess around, and geek out with technology. I have found it difficult to identify measurable goals for Createch. We do have clearly defined goals for Createch, but they include things like ‘fostering a culture that prioritizes equity, inclusion, and youth leadership,’ and ‘provide access to tools, technology, and people that support learning, self-expression, creativity, critical thinking, and innovation.’

What helped me was when we were given an allowance to defining our goals before worrying about whether the goals were measurable. (For further reading on measuring difficult-to-measure youth work goals, I recommend Sara Ryan’s article in Young Adult Library Services (YALS) Spring 2016 publication "Tell the Story: Use outcomes to show the difference your program makes.”)

Luckily, Createch had been through the Sprocket’s M3 (Making Meaning from Multiple Datasets) and the Activator Improvement Cycle and had created a solid improvement plan.  Through an iterative process, we identified our goals, and broke those goals down into sub-goals (and, if needed, we broke the sub-goals into 'activities’). These smaller sub-goals illuminated a way to measure each of our large goals. For example, one of our large goals is ‘Teens feel a sense of belonging in Createch’ and a subgoal of that is to ‘Increase repeat visitors to Createch’.  


Subgoal #1

Key Performance Measure



Teens feel a sense of belonging in Createch

Increase repeat visitors to Createch.

CitySpan: Number of teens visiting Createch Studio 2 or more times over a six-month period.

Increase/maintain high numbers of repeats over time

Nov & May (biannually)

Next, we identified our target and our key performance indicators. What number or attribute did we hope to attain, and how would we measure that? How would we recognize success when we had it?  We kept asking ourselves, 'If this target is met, would it illustrate that we met our goal?  For these, we realized we could rely heavily on data already collected with YPQA and Sprocket’s shared database CitySpan. So following that same example, we determined that we would use Sprocket’s shared database CitySpan attendance data to track teens visiting Createch Studio two or more times over a six-month period.  

Once we pulled the data, we made it visual to share out to staff and key supporters of Createch. Createch staff now baseline data to see trends over time.  Our target has shifted since we visualized the data.  Though we would like to see teens come to Createch more than 2 times, our hope is to increase youth coming multiple times, especially at 5-9 and 10+ times.

In all, we learned that collecting data will make Createch stronger.  Createch staff now have clear goals on how to improve service to teens, and a timeline to execute our goals.  We plan to meet biannually (November and May) in addition to our M3 day to to revisit the data and make plans for the upcoming months.

Createch’s entire Goal Tree can be found here.