Lunch at the Library Outcome Statements

California librarians have developed two outcomes for Lunch at the Library programs:

  1. Families know that they can get help and essential resources at the library
  2. Families feel healthy, happy, and safe

These outcomes are designed to leverage the potential of the Lunch at the Library program by focusing the library’s efforts on connecting families with the library’s resources and services and helping families feel welcome and comfortable in the library.


Outcomes-Based Planning

Outcomes evaluation is most effective when it is part of a systematic planning process. Lunch at the Library programs should be tailored toward achieving program outcomes.

Strategies for achieving outcome one include:

  • hand out summer reading information, program schedules, and flyers;
  • sign-up families for summer reading;
  • hand out brochures, bookmarks and other materials containing information about the library, its programs, and resources;
  • talk one-on-one with families about library resources;
  • create a resource table full of library and community information;
  • engage families in literacy programs that are accompanying the meal service; and
  • issue personal invitations to families to come back for library storytimes and other programs.

Strategies for achieving outcome two include:

  • create welcoming environments and ensure that staff and volunteers are friendly and helpful, for example, greet families as they arrive, say goodbye as they leave, and thank kids who throw away their trash;
  • display kids’ art on the wall;
  • talk with families about what they like and don’t like about the program;
  • engage families in programs and participate with them in sporting activities such as basketball and jump rope;
  • present programs focusing on healthy behaviors; and
  • train volunteers in being polite towards families.


Data Collection and Reporting Tools (outcomes and output data)

Lunch at the Library’s evaluation tools help libraries collect valuable data on the impact of their summer meal programs, and help maintain statewide data on California’s public library summer meals programs and summer meal outreach and partnership activities.

The following evaluation tools are available to participating libraries to evaluate specific components of their summer meal programs and partnerships. Survey questions, for reference only, are below. Project staff will distribute online survey link(s) to participating libraries to collect outcomes and output data.

Surveys for Library Staff

Statewide Participation Survey 2020
For all participating libraries to complete at the end of the summer

Program Enhancement Survey 2020
For libraries that offered learning and enrichment programs to complete at the end of the summer

Pop-Up Library Survey 2020
For libraries that took a pop-up program to a community summer meal site to complete at the end of the summer

Youth Development Survey for Library Staff 2020
For libraries that presented a youth development program to complete at the end of the summer

Surveys for Participants

Summer Meals Family Outcomes Survey
Distributed to families (adults, teens and children) who participate in summer meal service

Program Evaluation Survey 2020
Distributed to people who take part in learning and enrichment programs at library summer meal sites

Youth Development Survey for Teen Volunteers 2020
Distributed to the teen volunteers of libraries’ summer meal service


Using Program Data

Use program data — stories, quotes, numbers — to raise awareness of value and impact of the summer meal program.

  • Customize the Infographic template by including local data to highlight the library’s impact.
  • Include information about summer meals in the library’s annual report, and reports to the library foundation, the friends group, and to city council.
  • Promote success stories on the library’s website, in the library, in local media, and to local partners. Make sure the whole community knows about the summer meal program.
  • Let all library staff know about the program’s successes.
  • Use program data to reflect on the summer’s activities and work with staff to improve the program.