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Abstract

Throughout the spring semester, the author will be doing a case study analysis of the Kingsport Public Library and focusing on their Time for Two’s storytime for two-year-olds. The results will be published via web in seven parts: the public library context,identification of the public library users, service to assess/evaluate, case study analysis, developing an evaluation action plan, collecting and analyzing data, and user centered assessment/evaluation in public library services. For this assignment, the author identified primary, secondary, and tertiary groups and examined demographics for the library's community.

2.1 Being specific, identify three segments of the user community interacting or likely to be interacting with the PL and its services. Rank and label these segments as primary, secondary, and tertiary according to the intensity of use as well as the number of actual and potential users. If possible, do this separately for various services that the PL offers. To do this you must estimate the number of likely users in each segment for each service.

Kingsport Public Library has a variety of users both from Kingsport City and the surrounding counties of Hawkins and Sullivan in TN and Scott County in VA. As of July 2014, KPL has 30,000 registered adult borrows and 5,465 registered juvenile borrowers (Whittaker, H, Personal Communication, February 11, 2015). To identify primary, secondary, and tertiary users, statistics from July 2013- June 2014 year were evaluated. The primary, secondary, and tertiary users were identified by the author as internet users, those asking reference questions, and program attendees.

Primary User Group: Internet Users

KPL had 34,775 internet users for 2013-2014. Of these 34,775 users, 6,067 were wireless users. With a library card, users are allowed one hour of computer time per day per card on library owned computers. If bringing a personal device with wireless internet capabilities, time is unlimited and a library card is not required (Kingsport Public Library, 2014). With 19.6% of the population living below poverty, it is not surprising that internet has the highest use as many residents may not be able to afford internet in their home (U.S. Census Bureau, 2012). KPL has 24 public internet workstations, which include two in Youth Services, and three in the Teen area (Kingsport Public Library, 2014). The internet users vary in age from young children, with a signed parent permission form, to senior citizens. Usage is not broken down into specific categories or for what the internet is used, if it’s for job searching, checking Facebook, or completing homework.

Secondary User Group: Asking Reference Questions

The second largest statistic in the year end report was the number of reference questions asked at 17,772 (Kingsport Public Library, 2014). This statistic is not broken down any further and includes questions asked in the Reference department, at the main circulation desk, in Youth Services, and in the Archives. Those asking the questions are as varied as Kingsport’s population. While it may seem obvious that people come to a library to ask questions, it does reveal that patrons are not simply searching online for their answers. They are coming to the library seeking answers, which means that KPL needs to have a trained, polite, dedicated staff to field the thousands of questions they receive on a yearly basis. While this is true for most, if not all, libraries with this volume of questions a dedicated and trained staff is essential.

Tertiary User Group: Program Attendees

KPL had 521 programs with a total attendance of 11,801. This numbers includes 9,530 juvenile program attendees, 614 teen attendees, and 1,497 adult attendees. These numbers also include summer reading programs with the juveniles and teens, which includes a community wide, off-site program at a local elementary school as part of a week long festival the city throws annually (Kingsport Public Library, 2014). The programs cover everything from storytime for the children, to robotics for the teens, to job workshops and gardening seminars for the adults. A library card is not required for program attendance and most programs do not need require registration.

2.2 Identify at least one contact person (more is better) in the PL who is knowledgeable about both your library setting and those people likely to be interested in the PL. Identify at least two (more is better) contact persons who represent users or potential users of the PL.

The author’s main contact for this paper has been Helen Whittaker, the library director of the Kingsport Public Library. Helen oversees the administration function of the library. She compiles monthly reports, year end reports, and reports to the library board and the board of Mayor and Aldermen with requests for library funding, renovations, and the plan for the library expansion (Whittaker, H, Personal Communication, February 4, 2015).

A second contact person is Kyndra Jones. Kyndra has worked at the library for seventeen when she started a library page. She has worked at the circulation as a page and a library assistant before moving to work in Youth Services where she has worked for thirteen years. She has done weekly storytime for the past thirteen years and currently does programming for both the Time for Two’s Storytime and Preschool Storytime for three to five year olds.

Three users and potential users were identified, but preferred their names to be changed for this paper.

Vida Winter uses KPL for two main functions: audiobook and ebooks. Vida used to drive almost thirty-five minutes to community college, and as an avid reader her whole life, adapted easily to listening to audiobooks. Winter’s budget is tight and does not allow for audiobook purchasing, and she regularly checks out audiobooks from the library to make the commute to school more enjoyable. She recently purchased a Kindle after deciding it was time to own less physical books to save space in her new place. Winter had checked out ebooks before from the library using the Overdrive app and read them on her phone, but with the purchase of the Kindle, she now intends to do much of her reading in a ebook format. She would check out the digital audiobooks available, but isn’t a fan of much of the offerings, and her car stereo does not always work with her auxiliary cord with her phone to listen seamlessly. Winter does not usually use the library for its physical book collection because she works at a bookstore and can check out books from there (Winter, V, Personal Communication, Februray 10, 2015).

Kendra Sorenson uses KPL mainly for its physical audiobooks. Kendra drives almost an hour to and from work every day. She checks out both kids and adult audiobooks, but currently does not use the digital audiobooks because she does not have a way to listen to them in her car. She also checks out audiobooks from other libraries. Her visit times to KPL vary depending on her work schedule and if she finds what she wants at another library (Sorenson, K, Personal Communication, February 6, 2015).

Eleanor Douglas does not yet use the library for herself or her son. She works at the same bookstore as Winter and can check any book she wishes to read from there. She has a one-year-old son and prefers to buy his books instead of checking them out. Once he is older, Eleanor will consider bringing him to the library’s storytime as her work schedule allows. If the library had a lapsit program for babies under two years, she would likely already be a user (Douglas, E, Personal Communication, February 13, 2015).

2.3 Provide a demographic analysis of the PL users and community in terms of: educational level, household income, racial/ethnic make-up, occupation, age levels and groups, gender, community habits, cultural opportunities, civic interests and problems, religious institutions, clubs and organizations, etc. How does each of these variables impact the PL and its services?

Educational Level

Kingsport city has a well-educated population. Of the population, 87% have a high school degree or higher, which is higher than the state’s 84%. 25.9% of the population has a bachelor’s degree or higher, which is higher than the state’s at 23.8% (U.S. Census Bureau, 2013). While those are decent rates, it does mean that a little under 75% of the population has little to no college education. With a large population with no college degree, it means KPL does not need to focus a large part of its budget on specialized research materials and can focus more on continual learning through programs, databases, and physical collections more suited for high school graduates.

Household Income

In 2009-2013, the median household income was $39,221, which is lower than the state”s at $44,298. During the same time period, the persons living below the poverty level was 19.6%, which is higher than the state’s at 17.6% (U.S. Census Bureau, 2013). In 2011, the largest number of households, around 380, made between $10,00-$15,000 for the year. The income distribution in Kingsport is wide from below $10,000 with a little over 210 households to upwards of $200,000 with less than 50 households (city-data.com, 2012). With a poverty rate nearing 20%, patrons of the KPL are likely to need access to more basic items, like public Internet computers and physical books. With a higher poverty level, and a large percentage of households making below the median income, households may not access to Internet at home to access the library’s digital components or spending money to buy their own books. It also indicates that fundraising at the local level may be difficult, as many library users will not have income to donate.

It also helps to show the benefit of free programs, as a lower-income base will mean that many students are not able to participate in extra-circulars through their school because of the cost. By the library offering free youth programs after school, lower income children will have a similar opportunity as their more financially well off peers.

Racial/Ethnic Make-Up

Kingsport city is rather homogeneous. 91.9% of the population is white. 4.1% is African-American alone, .3% are American Indian and Alaskian Native alone, 1% are Asian alone, 1.8% are Two or more races, and 2.1% are Hispanic or Latino. Foreign-born persons represent 2.1% of the population (U.S. Census Bureau, 2013). While the city is overwhelmingly white, this does not mean that minority groups should not be represented in the library’s collection. If anything, it creates a need for more diverse books because those patrons who want to know about different cultures do not have the luxury of easily finding those voices and experiences in their community.

Occupation

The most common industry is manufacturing at 25%. The second is retail at 13% and the third is construction at 10%. The rest of the occupations reported are health care and social assistance (8%), Accommodation and food services (7%), Other services, except public administration (4%), and Transportation and warehousing (4%) (City-data.com, 2012).

The most common occupations are Other production occupations including supervisors (7%), Other management occupations except farmers and farm managers (5%), Other sales and related workers including supervisors (5%), Electrical equipment mechanics and other installation, maintenance, and repair occupations including supervisors (4%), Building and grounds cleaning and maintenance occupations (4%), Sales representatives, services, wholesale, and manufacturing (4%), and Retail sales workers, except cashiers (4%) (city-data.com, 2012).

With a large amount of patrons working in manufacturing as opposed to something like working at a university, patrons are more likely to want popular materials or the history of the large manufacturers in town as opposed to academic research.

Age Levels and Groups

In Kingsport, 5.8% of the population is under five years and 21% are under 18 years. 20.8% of the population is 65 years and older, so the remaining approximately 47.6% fall between age 18 and age 64. There are 4,912 veterans living in Kingsport (U.S. Census Bureau, 2013). Kingsport encompasses three different zip codes: 37660, 37664, and 37665 (Kingsport Chamber of Commerce, n.d.). Across these three zip codes, two sets of group appear in all three: Hometown Retired (Downscale mature without kids) and Mobility Blues (Downscale middle age without kids). The most common for the 37665 zip code is Family Thrifts (Lower Mid Younger with kids) (claritas.com, n.d.).

With over a fourth of population being under 18, KPL should have a variety of materials and programs dedicated to youth. However, with the largest percentage being over 18 and under 65, the materials and programs should reflect that also. Youth Services has one floor of a five floor building with the rest of the floors dedicated to patrons above 18. This proportion of library space is close to the same percentage of the population.

Gender

Kingsport has a population of 24, 568 (46.4%) males and 28,394 (53.6%) females (city-data.com, 2012). Though there are more females than males, the difference is close enough that materials should reflect a broad array of materials for both genders.

Religious Institutions

The percentage of religious adherents is 52.2%. Of those adherents, 44% are Southern Baptist Convention, 22% are United Methodist Church, 7% are Christian Churches and Churches of Christ, 7% are Presbyterian Church (USA), and 19% are Other (city-data.com, 2012). With over half the population adhering to a religion, it would be feasible for KPL to have a large collection of religious books. These religious books should not be in one religion. While Southern Baptist is the largest percentage, the third biggest group is other religions that are not specified. It also leaves 47.8% of the population not adhering to religion and both the materials and programs should reflect this.

Other Community Characteristics

Kingsport City offers a variety of leisure activities and visitors and residents alike. Bay Mountain Park and Planetarium is 3,000 acre nature reserve that offers nature and hiking trails, a rope obstacle course, a planetarium, a freshwater aquarium, barge rides, and a solar observatory. There is the Greenbelt, which is nine mile, linear paved path park. Kingsport also has a walking heritage trail downtown that is 1.8 miles and stops at historic landmarks. Part of Warrior’s Path State park is within city limits and has walking and hiking trails and a pier for boats and fishing. There are also three historic places: Allandale mansion, Netherland Inn, and The Exchange Place. Kingsport also has an aquatic center with indoor and outdoor facilities (Visit Kingsport, n.d.).

Kingsport also offers two disc golf courses, a bowling lane, a skate park, two public tennis courts, and a splash pad. There is a sculpture walk in downtown Kingsport along with a variety of local antique stores, restaurants, and boutiques. Kingsport is within a days drive of 70% of the United States population and was ranked as one of the best places for golfers to live in the U.S. by Golf Digest magazine. The Crazy 8's Road Race holds world records for both men and women 8-k races and was ranked as one of the top five road races in the South by Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine. The historic Daniel Boone Trail started in Kingsport and has a nine-day festival in the summer called Fun Fest, which over 180,000 people attend annually (Visit Kingsport, n.d.).

2.4 Provide a “SWOT” analysis of the community/users in terms of how they shape the nature of services in the PL?

Strengths:

One of the strengths is that approximately 67% of Kingsport”s population have a library card (Kingsport Public Library, 2014). While this does leave a decent percentage who do not, it does prove that citizens are utilizing the library. With the number of reference questions asked, it shows that the library is still a place patrons come to seeking information. Another strength is the library’s programs for all ages, which is inline with their mission and vision statement. With the recent move of the Teen area and the new interactive area for kids, KPL now offers items patrons do not regularly have access to at any other facility.

Weaknesses:

Some of the weaknesses the library face include not having computers up to date, not complying with American Disability Act standards in all parts of the library, and an old building. Many patrons wish to be able to pay fines with a debit or card in the library as well as online, but currently the library only accepts cash and check in the building. KPL is also failing to meet several state standards. The building is old and has not had any major renovations since 1992. The library is fortunate to have one large auditorium for all the programs, but having one does limit the amount of programs that can be done as the auditorium must be available (Kingsport Public Library, 2014). With a large program attendance, better space for more programs would increase the visibility of the library along with its perceived value.

Opportunities:

KPL is already active on Facebook to post announcement about programs, changes in hours, changes in the library, and on a separate Facebook page specifically for teens. KPL has a Twitter, but does not use it very often and generally uses it for information instead of interacting with patrons and other Twitter users (Kingsport Public Library, 2014). KPL does not currently have a Instagram for sharing photos of programs or changes inside the library as departments are moved around. While their social media presence is decent and linked to on their website, Instagram would reach a different demographic and would be especially beneficial for Teen programs. It would encourage the teens to take their own pictures of programs and tag the library’s account in their pictures.

If the funds are approved, there is an opportunity for the library to expand and create a new wing across the back on the city park the library is beside. A new wing would provide the space the library needs for more physical items, more staff, more dedicated areas, and a dedicated storytime room, freeing up the auditorium for more adult programs.

Threats:

A threat facing KPL is a lack of space and funds to meet the growing need of its community. Many patrons ask for more specific programming, like programs for homeschool students, storytime for children under age two, Lego programs for all ages, but the library does not have the space or funds to meet these needs and isn’t likely too in the near future (Jones, K, Personal Communication, February 4, 2015). Though moving the teen area has opened more spaces for more opportunities, it does create a more pressing need for a teen librarian. The adult circulation staff is currently managing the YA book, but as it is when anyone is in charge of a new area, it creates a learning curve to know the materials.

2.5 How does the PL measure success? How successful is the PL in its mission and in providing services to its user community? What works (and does not work) in providing services to various users? Please be specific.

KPL measure success with statistics, like program attendance and building attendance, and with outcomes measures. KPL does a formal annual voluntary survey that is available both online and in paper form in the building to rate patron satisfaction. There is also a comment box at the main circulation desk for compliments and complaints (Whittaker, H, Personal Communication, February 4, 2015). Teen Programs are evaluated using statistics too, but are also discussed at Teen Advisory Group meetings and on a more informal basis by Youth Services staff. Several of the teen program attendees are Teen Volunteers, which provides an opportunity obtain feedback about the programs without forcing the teens to sit down and fill out a form (Jones, K, Personal Communication, February 4, 2015).

The mission of the Kingsport Public Library is “to grow and develop with the community to meet the people”s cultural, educational, and informational needs in a welcoming setting that supports lifelong learning” (Kingsport Public Library, 2011).

For Teen programs, staff discovered that offering food and a door prize drawing helps to draw a crowd in. Any sort of contest with a small prize also boosts attendance. Varying programs leads to better attendance, like partnering with the 4-H of Sullivan County to provide a Teen Tech Club that feature Lego Mindstorms and other STEM activities boost attendance. For Teens, offering the programs after school, around 3:30-4:00, both hurts and helps attendance. Many teens do after school activities like sports and bands and those obligations can cut into attendance (Jones, K, Personal Communication, 5 February, 2015).

Author Signing and Saturday movie showings have not worked in the past. Author signings typically have a low attendance rate despite KPL advertising about the event. This is likely due to the fact that many of the authors are local and aren”t well-known or write books that do not have a wide appeal. The free movies the library used to be on Saturday afternoons and offered free popcorn along with watching the movie on a projection screen in the auditorium. KPL no longer shows movie because the decision was made not to renew the movie license because it was not cost effective (Whittaker, H, Personal Communication, Februray 12, 2015).

2.6 How might user-centered assessment/evaluation from its users help the PL organization be more successful in regard to specific services?

In regards to adult programming, user-centered assessment could be beneficial in identifying what program the adults would like to see. If they are already at a program having a brief survey at the end asking why they came today, what they liked, what they didn”t like, and what they would like to see in the future would help identify needs the library may not know about. It gives staff time and the means to evaluate what worked and identify what may be done in the future.

A specific user assessment of the building, perhaps even with idea of what is to be done in the new building, would help the library see what the patrons like and dislike about the facilities and if any of their concerns overlap with the library has already identified as concerns. There may be things about the building that many patrons wish to see improved that are not yet identified.

For storytimes, a brief survey given to the parents and caregivers could help identify a want the librarians may not know about especially with program that already well attended. Though the parents do not complain and usually compliment Kyndra on a great job, even a successful program can benefit from evaluation to see if the users want or need something they aren’t expressing.

References

Claritas.com (n.d.). Zip Code Look Up. Retrieved from http://www.claritas.com/MyBestSegments/Default.jsp?ID=20&menuOption=ziplookup&pageName=ZIP%2BCode%2BLookup#.

City-data.com (2012). Kingsport, TN. Retrieved from http://www.city-data.com/city/Kingsport-Tennessee.html.

Kingsport Chamber of Commerce (n.d.). Retrieved from www.kingsportchamber.org.

Kingsport Public Library. (2014). Kingsport Public Library 2013-2014. (Unpublished document).

United States Census Bureau. (2013). State & County Quick Facts: Kingsport (city), Tennessee. Retrieved from http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/47/4739560.html.

Visit Kingsport (n.d.). Facts and Stats. Retrieved from http://www.visitkingsport.com/about-kingsport/facts-stats.html.

Spring 2015

Contact K.C. Williams

451 Communications Building, 1345 Circle Park Drive, Knoxville, TN 37996-0341

Phone:865-974-2148
Fax:865-974-4967
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