‘Shining a Light’: Making the light go further

July 21, 2017

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By Ciaran Mulholland, Associate Director, Ipsos MORI Scotland

On 10 April 2017 the Trust published its Shining a Light report which drew on data collated by Ipsos MORI about how people across the UK and Ireland use public libraries and what they think of them. But what was published was – by necessity – the tip of the iceberg.


The report looked at library use, frequency of use, the importance people place in libraries for the community and for themselves personally, and attitudes towards service development and volunteers. It analysed the answers to these questions by age, gender, whether households had children in them, socio-economic status and working status.


It is possible to break down use and attitudes by other variables. For example, you could look at library use or attitudes towards libraries by survey respondents’ household income, home ownership, newspaper readership, marital status, access to internet, urban/rural, home ownership, ethnicity or educational qualification. Although we should say that not all these variables are collated for each jurisdiction – so whilst you could do a deeper mine on a particular jurisdiction, comparing findings across jurisdictions may not always be possible.


Having conducted the research, Ipsos MORI and the Trust are keen to enable interested practitioners and members of the public conduct further analysis. The Trust has therefore made the SPSS files of the 2011 and 2016 data available to anyone who wants to explore it. (SPSS is a software package used for statistical analysis, often used to analyse the results of a survey.) Individual SPSS files have been created for each jurisdiction the survey was carried out in, allowing analysis of each individual survey.


If you have SPSS and are interested in getting hold of the files to conduct your own further analysis, please contact the Trust at [email protected] To find out more about how to analyse the data, Ipsos MORI Scotland has written a short ‘how to’ which the Trust can share when sending on the files.