Thank You, Survey Takers!

We are grateful to all who took the time to respond to Lit Youngstown’s recent program survey. Congratulations to Julie and Dante for winning gift cards from Belt Publishing in the drawing.

The survey results tell us important things about us and our programs, and about you and your goals and preferences. While you may have filled out a short evaluation after you attended a class or event, this big-picture data is extremely valuable to us.

The survey results fill 29 pages, and include praise and encouragement as well as helpful direction. Here is an overview, along with a few thoughts from the Lit Youngstown team.

Of the 84 respondents, 88% identified as writers. They listed as goals:

Publish Your Work 88%

Build Skills and Develop Craft 73% Connect with Other Writers 72% Write for Personal Pleasure 71%

While 83% say Lit Youngstown is helping writers meet their goals, a consistent suggestion is to host more in-depth workshops, and a critique is that the quality of our workshops is uneven.

To that end, we will initiate a series of writing intensives in 2022, with more time for discussing craft, critique, editing, and publishing. We will also work more closely with teaching artists, some of whom are teaching for the first time, or for the first time outside of an academic setting.

Asked to rate various programs, this percentage said very good or excellent:

Fall Literary Festival, 95% Winter Writing Camp, 91% First Wednesday Readers Series, 87%

Connecting with other writers is a primary goal for 72% of respondents, and 46% said they keep in touch with someone they met at a Lit Youngstown function.

Respondents were pretty evenly divided among income groups:

28% below $25,000 30% between $25,000-$49,999 28% between $50,000-$99,999 19% over $100,000

While 87% said our programs are affordable, 15% were unsure and 3% said no. Only 56% of respondents knew that we offer need-based sponsorships; we can improve our communication, there. Many said they were willing to pay more, and many said the only reason they are able to attend is low price. We add here a thank you to those who have volunteered to sponsor a writer in need. Know that it really makes a difference.

We were surprised to learn that 11% of respondents were unable to attend an event or program because of lack of transportation. Only 4% named lack of technology a barrier, but we realize this major flaw in the survey (that it was online).

We agree that the website is hard to navigate, and a new website is currently under construction. We’re looking forward to a roll-out soon.

Our respondents identify as predominately white (91%), female (73%) and over 55 (45%). We love our core group of participants, and are working to build the community and increase diversity and inclusion. The 2021 Fall Literary Festival planning committee, for example, includes members diverse in age, gender, race and ethnicity, socioeconomic status and writing experience. This will be the most diverse Fall Literary Festival we have hosted, and we are thrilled.

Surprising to us was that 22% of respondents identify as disabled. We appreciate the suggestions for making programming more accessible, such as chairs for overweight participants, mobility support between buildings at YSU, and continued online formatting for some programs. We will follow through on these suggestions, and will also, for the first time, include ASL interpretation at our Fall Literary Festival evening events.

We thank our lucky stars every day that we get to work with such creative, insightful, congenial, kind and generous people.

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