Telling a good story with data
Updated: Mar 4
Never underestimate the time it takes to find good data, clean it, and explore what the data is telling.
I started the 2018 Tableau #IronViz competition with the broad theme of "books and literature". You could go anywhere with that.
Eventually, I settled on a rich data set about public library systems. There was all sorts of interesting data -- e-book volume, total circulation, operating and capital expenses, branch and central libraries, number of staff ... the list goes on.
But then I asked, "so what"? How do we know if more investment in libraries is contributing to social good? Are bookmobiles still reaching rural kids and making their eyes sparkle in anticipation? What, specifically, should libraries do to improve people's lives?
I found some additional data on 4th grade reading scores over the same time period. We do know that reading, more than just about anything else, is central to future success. I started exploring the relationships between library systems and statewide reading scores, and unearthed a treasure trove of information about the relationships between libraries and improving reading for young learners.
Interested in learning more? Click on the picture above to interactively explore the relationships between libraries and early reading success.