The County of Lambton is an upper-tier municipal government in southwestern Ontario that is responsible for delivering cultural services to its 126,000 residents. Lambton County’s Cultural Services division needed to better understand what programs and services its citizens want and need at its network of 25 library branches, as well as the Oil Museum of Canada National Historic Site, Lambton Heritage Museum, Lambton County Archives and the Judith and Norman Alix Art Gallery.

What We Did

  • A statistically valid telephone survey of a random and representative sample of N=1,001 adult county residents
  • An online public engagement survey that garnered nearly 1,400 responses, mainly from those who use these amenities regularly
  • Six focus groups with county residents, segmented by community (including those living in Sarnia and more rural areas), as well as by how often residents visit these amenities.


The initial impetus for this project was to better understand residents’ preferences for opening hours at these amenities and the extent to which these affect how often residents visit and how satisfied they are with the experience. Using a regression (or driver) analysis, the Probe team determined the quality and variety of programming – not operating hours – is what really affects how satisfied Lambton residents are with their local library branches, museums and art gallery.

By doing focus groups – which provided the “why” to go alongside the “what” of the survey results – we also learned that the county’s key challenge is communication. Simply put, residents want to know more about what is happening at these cultural amenities and want to be engaged through activities, events and programs.

Through this research, Probe developed a series of conclusions and strategic recommendations focused on additional communications and event marketing, as well as enhancing programming and customer service excellence at these amenities.