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Case-Study Analysis


The following work will identify and describe the Local Author Collection with the Williamson County Public Library in Franklin, Tennessee. This collection will serve as a case study for the Tennessee Collection of the Art Circle Public Library in Crossville, Tennessee, which is currently under evaluation for potential dismantlement and reintegration into the larger collections for the Art Circle Public Library. The two collections will be compared and then discussed in terms of their user-centered evaluation processes.

4.1 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.

A basic search for special collections in Tennessee libraries brings back far more University results than public library results; further digging with more precise terms leads to several public libraries, such as the Detroit Public Library, the Chicago Public Library, and the Seattle Public Library. Apparently, having specialized collections is usually the purview of facilities far larger than the ACPL.

For the purposes of this case study, a public library in the state of Tennessee with special collection concerning Tennessee is preferred. Williamson County Public Library (WCPL), south of Nashville, Tennessee, has six special collections, two of which would be analogous to the ACPL's Tennessee Collection (Williamson County Public Library, 2015). Those are the Local Author and Local History collections; of these, this case study will focus on the Local Author collection. As with the previous examples, this library is considerably larger than the ACPL, boasting 456,000 items (Williamson County Public Library, 2015) to the ACPL's 65,200 (Breeding, 2015). Further, the WCPL does not allow any items from its special collections to circulate (Williamson County Public Library, 2013): the ACPL's Tennessee Collection does house some reference materials, but most of the collection is available for circulation (J. Houston, personal communication, March 20, 2015).

The WCPL's Local Author collection is, as mentioned, non-circulating; requirements for a local author to include their work in this collection include two copies of the book so that one can be signed and kept in the collection and the other put in normal circulation (Williamson County Public Library, 2013). "Local author" is defined, for the purposes of the collection, a published author that has lived in Williamson County for at least one year, or previously lived in Williamson County. These requirements are found on the library's website, as well as information from two brochures celebrating Williamson county authors and the history of the WCPL's Local Author collection (Williamson County Public Library, 2013).

At this time, no user-centered evaluation strategies are mentioned in the available materials and the author's attempts to contact the library have not yet been answered; this section will be updated when such answers arrive.

4.2 For the PL under case-study, describe how the library represents, manages, and provides services related to your selected service/program.

WCPL advertises this service via the internet and presumably through materials distributed through the library itself; again, this information will be updated as soon as possible (Williamson County Public Library, 2013). The collection is managed by the staff and updated regularly as new authors are added to the collection. The collection does not circulate, so the chances of theft and loss are greatly reduced from the general collection (Williamson County Public Library, 2013).

The Local Author collection was begun in 1979, when the mother of a local author provided a donation to the library. This donation provided the means for the WCPL to identify local authors and remove their books to a non-circulating collection, and then begin to research and solicit works from new authors. A full list of authors and full title index are available for patrons to search, and the collection itself is available to browse and use on-site. Currently, the staff manages additions to and requests regarding the collection (Williamson County Public Library, 2013).

4.3 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.

This particular service is a collection with the objective of preserving the literary history of Williamson County (Williamson County Public Library, 2013). It serves this function very well, using library staff, library budget and processing resources, and resources donated by authors in order to further this objective. There are no user activities associated with the collection that have not been previously mentioned: it is a growing, but non-circulating collection (Williamson County Public Library, 2013). Users, as far as can be determined, do not have much of a role in evaluating the collection; it is there for preservation and in-house use rather than being an interactive service.

4.1 Analyze the effectiveness of the case-study PL in providing the services under study.

The primary service of this collection, as stated in section 4.3, is to preserve the literary history of Williamson County. To this end, a collection of local authors' works, housed in a non-circulating collection, is very effective at the goal of preservation (Williamson County Public Library, 2013). People can browse and explore the collection, and obtain materials they wish to check out from the main collection if they are available. The non-circulation policy enforces the preservation aspect; materials are not easily lost or destroyed by patrons when they are not permitted to leave the library (Williamson County Public Library, 2013).

4.5 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.

The Local Author collection for the WCPL bears many similarities with the Tennessee Collection at the ACPL. Both are collections that deal with authors from Tennessee; the WCPL limits their scope to only authors from that particular county (Williamson County Public Library, 2013), while the ACPL includes authors from all over the state. The ACPL's collection is broader, it includes books written about Tennessee as well as by Tennessee authors (J. Houston, personal communication, March 20, 2015).

The Local Author collection of the WCPL is narrower in scope and therefore more focused than the Tennessee collection, which suffers from a great deal of collection overlap- there are books in the Tennessee collection that would be housed all over the ACPL (J. Houston, personal communication, March 20, 2015). Most of these are adult fiction or non-fiction, with a very few from Children's, Oversized, and Large Print. These books are difficult to organize within the Tennessee collection, very difficult to find for anyone who might be looking for them on the regular shelves, and nearly impossible for a normal patron to discover by browsing (J. Houston, personal communication, March 20, 2015). The more narrow focus, requirement of a book for the regular collection, and more active curation at the WCPL make it more sustainable and less floundering than the collection at the ACPL.

4.6 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?

In studying the WCPL and their Local Author collection, the author has come to the conclusion that user-centered assessment is far more common and useful when it comes to interactive programs and services than standing collections. The users of the Tennessee collection are few and far between, and the materials unfocused. The user-centered assessment of the Tennessee collection will likely focus on how much potential value the patrons of the ACPL see in continuing the collection, as well as any useful feedback on its current use.


Breeding, M. (2015, March 6). Art Circle Public Library. Retrieved from
Chicago Public Library. (2015). Special collections, Harold Washington library center. Retrieved from
Detroit Public Library. (2015). Special collections. Retrieved from
Seattle Public Library. (2015). Library collections: Special collections. Retrieved from
Williamson County Public Library. (2013, November 20). Local authors, about the collection. Retrieved from
Williamson County Public Library. (2015, March 3). Special collections. Retrieved from

Spring 2015

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