Part 4: Case Study Analysis
Abstract: This project will focus on the Nashville Public Library system (NPL) in the Nashville-Davidson County area, serving around 650,000 residents of which 330,000 have library cards. The project will analyze and assess the Studio NPL service of the library system, which functions as a teen center. The overall project will focus on the number and quality of services provided by Studio NPL as a part of the NPL system. This third section compares Studio to another urban teen services center, the 2nd Floor, in Chattanooga Public Libraries.
4 Case-Study Analysis (10 Points)
1 Identify one other PL that provides similar services to the one you propose to assess/evaluate at your PL. Describe, analyze, and provide feedback about the efforts being made at the case-study PL with regard to the selected service and user-centered assessment/evaluation strategies.
The Chattanooga Public Library system services the 171,297 citizens of the Chattanooga and Hamilton County area, of which 93, 546 are registered users of the library (TSLA, 2013). The Chattanooga system has a fully fleshed out teen program that currently provides numerous technology stations for the tween and teen demographic, including 3D printing, an arcade, a photo booth, an art station, and a study area among numerous other services (2nd Floor, 2015). These activities and programs are developed in the interest of providing an educational service to the community. Justin Hoenke, a teen librarian in Chattanooga outlines the aim of the 2nd Floor service: "It is never about what we want to put into the 2nd Floor at that moment in time. It is always about what they want the 2nd Floor to be. We just listen, do our jobs, and make that happen for them (J. Hoenke, personal communication, March, 20, 2015)."
Notably, Mr. Hoenke also outlines that the service is made for not just the twelve to eighteen demographic but for the caregivers as well, stating that: "I've seen 3 year olds 3D print with their parents helping them out. That's the kind of thing that we want to see (J. Hoenke, personal communication, March, 20, 2015)." From this, it is easier to see that the users of the 2nd Floor system are invited to explore and create either on their own or with their family as a group, the goal to build an open atmosphere for the community. There is also an effort to be open and engaging with the community for whatever their needs are, in the words of another librarian, Megan Emery: "We strive to provide a wide variety of walk up experiences that patrons or nonpatrons can access independently or with the assistance of a librarian should they need it." (personal communication, March 29, 2015)
This service is at one of the four branches in the Chattanooga system, in a 14,000 square foot space on the aptly named second floor of the building and sees over one hundred users per day (J. Hoenke, personal communication, March, 20, 2015). Currently, the numbers do drive their feedback strategies, but also use focus groups as well as individual discussions to gather more definitive responses. Megan Emery describes how there are focus group sessions quarterly and comment card stations in multiple places (M. Emery, personal communication, March, 29, 2015).
2 For the PL under case-study, describe how the library represents, manages, and provides services related to your selected service/program.
The social media aspect of the 2nd Floor is further fleshed out in the Chattanooga system, as they possess their own individual social media accounts rather than being a part of the Chattanooga Public Libraries social media pages. Therefore, their advertising is more based on directly reaching out to the target demographic of young adults and can engage more specifically than broader social media strategies. The information about the staff is a simple bio and social media links to engage with the community as well as simple descriptions of the activities and events of 2nd Floor (2nd Floor, 2015). Megan Emery, a librarian also in the 2nd Floor area, described one of the appeal elements of acquiring items: "Under our search tab on our front page here's a link that leads you to a page where a patron can request the purchase of materials. So long as it is in print (and not outrageously priced - think multiple hundreds or thousands of dollars) we will purchase it and the patron who requested it will be the first to borrow it!" (M. Emery, March 29, 2015)
Based off of the information provided on their website, the services are more complete than the initial description appears and directly relates to teens current interests. When asked about a listing of the services provided, Mr. Hoenke gave a detailed list: "We try to give everyone using the 2nd Floor a chance to dabble in a bunch of different things. Right now, we have a 3D printer, Minecraft stations, a video game arcade, button makers, record players, and the traditional library materials and services (J. Hoenke, personal communication, March, 20, 2015)." Further, the services are more diverse and contain more events and stations for teens to use. Mr. Hoenke described that teens are not using the space in a traditional way: "The 2nd Floor is a destination location and not really a 'traditional library space'. People get their material elsewhere...they have them sent to various locations to pick up as holds (J. Hoenke, personal communication, March, 20, 2015)." The space according to Mr. Hoenke is much less likely to see books but more likely to see tablets and laptops.
3 Discuss how your case-study PL represents elements about the service being studied in relation to its scope and objectives, activities, and resources. Also, examine the role of the users in assessing/evaluating the service.
When consulting the strategic plan of the Chattanooga Public Library system from 2012, 2nd Floor falls under two major areas of focus: Programs and Technology. According to the strategic plan, one of the many priorities is to build a "tween center" that is mentioned as one of goals, from which 2nd Floor likely emerged. In the technology criteria, one goal is to "Offer tools for content creation (Strategic Plan Summary, 2012)." The 2nd Floor is most likely going to receive further attention to fulfill these strategic goals. No information was able to be located on how 2nd Floor is to fit definitively into this role, but as an arm of the Chattanooga system, the technology and artistic emphasis will give attention to outreach to the young adult demographic. A drawback of the system is that there is not any definitive mission or goals page to understand the services and how they fit into the community (About the Library, 2015).
According to Mr. Hoenke, the amount of outreach is dependent on being proactive when users are in the 2nd Floor area: "We do a lot of 'on the fly' feedback gathering. We talk to people. That is the most important thing...Those casual conversations that we have help plant the seed for new things to come (J. Hoenke, personal communication, March, 20, 2015)." This informal feedback method mixed with the formal method of focus groups provides the base by which the staff of 2nd Floor make determinations on what should be involved in the service. Mr. Hoenke also provides the goal in mind of the staff on a daily basis: "We also aim to be exactly what our community needs us to be at that given moment. A huge part of that is understand and listening to your community (J. Hoenke, personal communication, March, 20, 2015)."
4 Analyze the effectiveness of the case-study PL in providing the services under study.
Justin Hoenke outlines the services provided by 2nd Floor: "We try to give everyone using the 2nd Floor a chance to dabble in a bunch of different things. Right now, we have a 3D printer, Minecraft stations, a video game arcade, button makers, record players, and the traditional library materials and services (J. Hoenke, personal communication, March, 20, 2015)." From this, it is possible to assess the numerous services that are available and provide feedback based off of social media responses. Based off of the social media feedback from CPL's feeds, the amount of feedback and attendance of events and classes is well maintained and on the rise overall. The events run consistently and are fully staffed, with volunteers being hired on as staff in a limited capacity to help provide customer service in the area (J. Hoenke, personal communication, March, 20, 2015).
The remaining feedback comes from the teens, who appear engaged with events based on social media postings. The numbers on daily attendance are on the rise according to Mr. Hoenke and the use of the facility is growing due to the outreach in the community, allowing the program to grow further through word of mouth (J. Hoenke, personal communication, March, 20, 2015). At the writing of this assignment, there is no specific count given as to how many outreach events have occurred and how many individual feedback requests there are, but this feedback is still taken into consideration according to Mr. Hoenke to observe the trends of what the patrons wish to see. Further, Megan Emery described the type of librarian they wish to see in their libraries: "Be the librarian who is always around, playing what they're playing, making what they're making, a real part of their world within the library" (personal communication, March 29, 2015)."
5 Provide similarities and differences between the PL example in your case-study and your collaborating PL. You should find information about the available services at the case-study PL on the web and also contact (email, phone, visit) people working at the PL to gather information.
When considering the similarities and differences of Studio and 2nd Floor, one advantage that Chattanooga possesses is that the Studio system is still under development and has the potential to further change over time rather than the already established 2nd Floor service. Some of the patterns of development however, have to remain similar to provide effective education to the populace, especially the young adult demographic. This mindset would include both provide teen services that engage the teen community with educational and entertainment activities to provide an individual space for teens. Both are meant to be able to express the artistic and technological potential of the young adult population and engage the patrons in learning. From this, there is a divergence simply because of the ability for Studio to invest in itself in the long term through different technology packages to be made available.
Meanwhile there are still large differences that come from the relative youth of the Studio system in multiple aspects. In the social media world, 2nd Floor gives a major effort in reaching out to the young adult demographic in order to interact with the young adult population when they are away from the facility. Further, the 2nd Floor system has a clear outline on their portion of the Chattanooga web page as to what is available at the facility. One key advantage that Studio NPL has comes from their size: Studio is able to move around and service multiple groups of patrons in the area rather than at a single location. However, systems around the state and the region are deciding how to engage teens, for example the Memphis Public Library also is planning a teen services sector, but in the single branch format rather than the Studio format (L. Goggans, 2015).
6 What did you learn about user-centered assessment/evaluation and services being studied at the case-study PL in the context of your collaborating PL?
To recall Justin Hoenke's words regarding individual outreach, he states that the daily emphasis is on: "Having casual conversations with people when you are helping them find a book. Talk to them when they use our button maker. Those casual conversations that we have help plant the seed for new things to come" (J. Hoenke, personal communication, March, 20, 2015). These informal methods of feedback are ways to get more genuine responses by the patrons and can allow for the collection of larger data samples over time than a focus group would. The goals expressed by Mr. Hoenke emphasize the idea of providing services that are based off of what the patrons have desired rather than what the staff believes that the patrons want.
This can be taken back to the context of Studio by understanding the ways in which Nashville Public Library obtains formal feedback from its users in order to make selection determinations for events and technology. Currently, Studio relies on surveys and formal feedback in order to make determinations on the materials provided. Having successful informal strategies in mind can improve the potential for the Studio system to accept a wide range of feedback both in its current state and as it develops.
About the Library. (n.d.). Retrieved March 22, 2015, from http://chattlibrary.org/about
Goggans, L. (2015, February 12). Teen Learning Lab to Open in Benjamin Hooks Library.Memphis Flyer.
Strategic Planning Summary. Lecture conducted from Bridge Consulting, Chattanooga, TN. 2012, September 18. Obtained from: http://chattlibrary.org/sites/default/files/chattlibrary-stratplan.pdf
Tennessee Department of State: Tennessee State Library and Archives. (n.d.). Retrieved March 22, 2015, from http://www.tennessee.gov/tsla/lps/statistics/statistics.htm
The 2nd Floor. (n.d.). Retrieved March 22, 2015, from http://chattlibrary.org/content/2nd-floor
Contact K.C. Williams451 Communications Building, 1345 Circle Park Drive, Knoxville, TN 37996-0341