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IS554 Public Library Management and Services

IS 554 User-Centered Assessment/Evaluation in PL Services

Joann Irby Instructor Dr. K. C. Williams

Based on your interactions and analysis of the collaboration with your PL throughout the semester, examine user-centered issues as they impact and were impacted by the following (at lease 100-150 words for each bulleted point listed below) (Broadly in the context of; your PL and in relation to the select service that you assessed/evaluated). Identify and justify each as liberation or limiting factor and provide evidence as justification of you response):

Library governance

Cordova Public Library is managed by a board of trustees that meet once a month. There is a website that gives information about the board members and their names, when they meet, contact information, scheduled agenda, standing policy, bylaws, and procedures for persons wanting to address the library’s board for what every reason. CPL considers this website to be most helpful to their users seeking information about how the library works and to meet the needs of the community. This paper will discuss different areas that affects how CPL provides services to their community. The library cannot operate without good organization, managerial strength, and open-mindedness, but the governing of CPL have chosen these characteristics and set high standards for excellence within their library system.

Library identity (Mission, vision, strategic aims, etc.)

The public library’s identity helps provide understanding to how the library function and operate. Cordova Public Library (CPL) is one of seventeen branches of Memphis Public Library and Information Center in the city of Memphis. The mission for all the Memphis Public libraries are to satisfy the customer’s need to know, to improve and enrich lives of the users through information and education ( In addition to, “The objectives of the Memphis Public Library are to select, organize, preserve, and to make freely and easily available to the people of the community printed and other materials which will aid them in the pursuit of education, information, research, and the creative use of leisure time,”(Memphis Public Library, 2015).

Information gained from users’ surveys and other strategic plans helped develop goals for CPL. Here are some of the strategic plans goals listed: (1) All Memphians have access to increase technology, learning knowledge and economy. (2) CPL make a difference in people’s lives. (3) CPL communicates as leadership roles that are valued by the public. (4) CPL purpose is to help users’ to accelerate, find jobs, and fight against literacy. Mr. Williams, Branch Manager of CPL stated that their vision is that the library will continue to provide services for the patrons such as popular books, bestsellers, story time, summer reading programs, e-books, CDs, audio books, videos, and book talks. The director’s vision and the library’s mission relate to the overall results of the surveys which meets the needs of the users of the library.

Community analysis and needs assessment

Community analysis and needs assessment are vital to the library administration and were the dominant factors of the evaluation. The purpose of the last user-survey was to determine who use the services, how to improve the services, and who is benefiting from the services. The users evaluations were issues concerning the Early Children Literacy programs at CPL which was very successful with an overwhelming positive result. Over five hundred surveys were mailed to Cordova’s residences and over half returned. It was an inexpensive and quick way to implement assessments information. The survey method used was cost-effective, quick feedback turnover, and it still maintained users’ privacy and anonymity. Mr. Williams, Branch Manager of CPL said that the library administration wanted to know more about user’s opinions about the Early Children Reading Program.

Marketplace dynamics/advertising

Marketing and advertising are areas that many libraries are limited to because of the expense. CPL operates on a limited budget and has to advertise using flyers, newsletters, and a website which is limited to basic information. The website has upcoming announcements, upcoming events, new releases, and allows library users’ to make comments and suggestions. The website also allows users to communicate with library staff, and have access to the on-line catalog (Mr. Williams, Branch Manager). The budget is limited, therefore, CPL users and staff members need to be creative in promoting the library’s services. They printed signs and made fliers to advertise upcoming events that were displayed throughout the library. The staff at CPL has found their advertising to be most effective because it often reaches users and non-users of the library.

Evaluation action plan

It is important for libraries to have an evaluation action plan in order to determine if the service they offer are helping the needs of the users. For this evaluation plan at CPL, it allowed the library employees to focus on the reading services provided for young children. The evaluation plan is important because not having an evaluation plan can lead to poor service and loss of purpose. The evaluation plan at CPL focuses on the opinions and suggestions of the users’ population concerning the Early Reading Literacy Program. The information gathered will go into developing a plan to let the library administration know what needed is to be assessed, how it should be assessed, and why it needs to be assessed.

Assessment and evaluation methods Generally, assessment and evaluation methods deal with the information the library receive from the surveys. The analysis of the Cordova Public Library (CPL) provided information about the users’ opinions and perceptions of the Early Childhood Reading Program. Again, thanks to the CPL staff members for their hard work for creating, administering, and calculating surveys from their library users. The assessment/evaluation was administered in the form of a user-survey which received very high response rates and provided valuable information that could be evaluated quickly. The turnaround time on the assessment/evaluation only took three weeks. The assessment received positive feedback from the Cordova community and the library’s users. The feedback will be used to improve the services of the Children Childhood Reading Program services.

Personnel management:

Personnel management was not a major concern during the assessment/evaluation. At CPL, the staff were the driving force behind the success of the assessment/evaluation. The survey was directed at users’ opinions and ideas about the service of the Early Childhood Literacy Reading Program. The library’s director, Mr. Williams, encourages an atmosphere where communication and ideas are welcomed and respected. He believes that it is important to keep everyone motivated to reach the same goals and visions. Mr. Williams and staff believes it must be known what the users are looking for in order to have a successful program. This assessment/evaluation also allowed library staff to provide input for future program improvement.


Finance was not addressed in the assessment because the Friends of the Library supported the expense of promoting the surveys. However, this was a mail-in survey and the budget was not considered expensive. Of course, finances will be a factor in the results of the analysis to make the necessary improvement needed. The cost was minimal in library staff time, computer service and cost for copies. The Friends of the library allocated money that was spent for the Early Childhood Literacy Program. It also allowed the library to plan more events and activities for future events. The money can be used to develop the reading collections, and buy new books for the services to maintain successful program.

Policy development

Policy development is important for libraries to ensure appropriate operating functions in the community. Policy development also protects the library from litigations and help clarify issues in question. CPL has developed policies for ethical issues, collections managements, circulation, computer usages, and internet use. Mr. Williams, Branch Manager at CPL, has made it clear what is expected of the patrons and what the results would be if policies are violated. One of the main policies at CPL is not to discriminate against anyone’s race, religion, or age. Mr. Williams said that good policies are to ensure the safety and protection of library staff, visitors, and patrons. The library policy for the Early Childhood Literacy Program ensures that children and parents feel safe. However, there are policies that ban patrons from the library, such as if a patron is viewing pornography movies on the internet or requiring that a child is supervised by a parent. These policies are put in place to protect, ensure patrons and staff rights and safety.

Collections and collection management

The area of collection management is based on yearly statistics of materials being checked out of the library by users. This year it was a specific focus on the Early Childhood Literacy Program that collections issues were addressed. The purposes of the user-survey was to assess what resources were being used the most, the least and what resources were wanted. The hope of the survey results was to provide information that would be useful and help the librarians to know how to manage their collections. In additional to that, it is by knowing what books and materials were popular (or unpopular) as well as other resources to display into the library collections. Collection management helps the librarian to know what materials to order that will be useful by the patrons.

Electronic resources and technology assessment

There is a strong demand for electronic resources and technology assessment in order to meet the needs of the patrons. The Cordova Public Library (CPL) provide computer usage to their patrons. CPL has a computer lab with thirty computers for patrons use. These computers are accessible to users of all ages. Each person sign up to use the computer and he or she has two hours of usage unless no one else is waiting to use the computer. The reference staff assist patrons on how to use the computer and with computer questions. It would be helpful to CPL to evaluate their computer resources to find out the needs in the area of their library’s technology. This would ensure the library of the users’ needs are being met and for any technology improvement.

Technical services and reference services

Others functions libraries are striving to meet patrons’ needs are technical services and reference services. It is very important for reference librarians to be knowledgeable about resources in the area of technology on order to meet the patrons’ needs. If the resources are not available in their library, the reference staff should be able to direct the patron in the right direction. In the case of Early Children Literacy Program at Cordova Public Library (CPL), it is important that the library staff be able to provide information to patrons who have concern about the early childhood literacy Program. CPL also has wireless internet available for their patrons.

Library systems and library networks

Library systems and library networks helps libraries to meet the needs of patrons when their library is unable to. Libraries network with other libraries to borrow books and materials for their patrons. If a patron lived on the east side of town and want a book from the west side of town it can be ordered and sent to the patron by the two PL networking together. Library systems and networking can affect how patrons use library services and how they think about the services. CPL is one of seventeen branches of the Memphis Public Library and Information Center. All of the libraries are working together to provide reading materials for patrons that are unavailable at their location.

User instruction and customer services

By providing good customer services, it gives the library’s staff a chance to make a welcoming environment for the users. New users develop their first impressions of the library by how they are treated by staff members. Users will judge the library by how their needs were met and the friendliness of the staff. Customer service includes helping users’ locate materials throughout the library. The staff should provide good customer service that exhibits pleasantness and approachability to their users. Good customer service requires a great deal of the staff time and effort, yet it reinforce patrons’ support and offers opportunities for the community.

Adult and/or youth services

The purpose of this project was to identify the need for changes in the Early Childhood Literacy Program at Cordova Public Library. A survey was used to evaluate a plan for future improvement of the Early Childhood Literacy Program. Nethertheless, CPL provides more services for adults as well as young adults in order to meet the needs of their community. CPL has several programs for adults and teens. Once a year, CPL offers surveys evaluation for adults and teens to make sure they are satisfied with current programs. The high attendance rate of children to the Early Childhood Literacy Program confirms the success of this program. For CPL to properly function, administers and staff need to be aware of all the programs offered at CPL in order to continue improving them.

Technical services and reference services


Memphis Public Library (2015). Retrieved From: Http://

Spring 2015

Contact K.C. Williams

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