Identification of the PL Users
Sarah A. Foster
University of Tennessee, Knoxville
The Leesburg Public Library is located in Central Florida in downtown Leesburg. According to the 2010 U.S. Census the community consists of 20,117 individuals (Unites States Census Bureau, 2010). The 2013 estimated population for Leesburg is 21,142 (United States Census Bureau, 2013). That estimate does not include seasonal residents who reside in the area. The library is a part of a County System which serves 297,052 Lake County residents, according to the 2010 U.S. Census (Unites States Census Bureau, 2010). The estimated population for 2013 is 308,034 (United States Census Bureau, 2013). In all according to the city budget of 2014 the library serves directly 21,500 Lake County library card holders who registered at Leesburg Public Library (City of Leesburg, 2014, p.221). Registered borrowers include those living in Leesburg, other cities of Lake County, and seasonal residents from other States. This assignment will break down and analyze the library users and 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.
The Leesburg Public library adult service does not collect detailed demographic analysis of the user base. To understand the users and potential users detailed demographics, analysis was derived from the estimation of the Adult Services Supervisor's experience. The Adult Services Supervisor has worked within the adult services with collection development, adult programming, and reference for the last five years (Adult Services Supervisor, personal communication, February 12, 2015)
According to the Adult Services Supervisor (personal communication, February 12, 2015) the primary users of adult services are Caucasian retired seniors. To best analyze their use, percentages were applied to various adult services that are prominently used by this demographic user group. The adult services can be broken down into twelve separate services: stacks, reference services, eBooks, technology classes, Genealogy, book club, computers, study rooms, social services, adult literacy program, online services, and other technology services such as scanner, printer, and copier. This demographic group prominently uses eight out of twelve of the services offered by adult services. For adult services, Caucasian seniors fill about 70% of technology classes, 100% of book club, 50% of computer use, 90% of genealogy research, 60% of stacks and reference help, and for social services 100% use SHINE which assist with Medicare, and 80% use ACCESS Florida which assist with food stamps, Medicaid, and temporary cash.
The Leesburg Public Library's adult services secondary users are working adults and older students. Older students are individuals returning to college or getting a degree later in life, late 20's or older. These users primarily use only four out of twelve services offered. Although they are about 50% of the user base, they primarily use the adult services study rooms, computers, adult literacy program, and other technology services such as copier, scanner, and printer. The adult literacy program is offered by the County, who recruits volunteers from the Lake County's community. This service is for tutoring individuals over eighteen with learning to read, write, learn English, study for GED, study for naturalization test, and other educational needs such as tests for job placement (Adult Services Supervisor, personal communication, February 12, 2015).
The Leesburg Public Library's adult services tertiary users are those who call, or irregular users that come for a specific one time purpose. Most of these users are unseen making their demographics unquantifiable because of their remote use of services. They make up about 10% of adult services use, using most prominently four out of twelve adult services which are: reference, eBooks, online services, and other technology services. Each of these services can either be remotely accessed by phone or computer, except for other technology. Infrequent users come to the library often to use printers, copiers, and a scanner for faxing because of inaccessibility to these devices from home. Online services include the library's eBooks, databases, and "Ask-A-Librarian" a Florida statewide reference service that is offered by public libraries reference librarians via online chat services. Reference services can also be accessed remotely by phone or email to the Leesburg Public Library directly (Adult Services Supervisor, personal communication, February 12, 2015).
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.
D. Mathews has been the Adult Services Supervisor for approximately two years and before that an Adult Services Library Assistant serving a total of five consecutive years in the adult services at Leesburg Public Library. Her current supervisory role puts her over two reference librarians, two adult services library assistants, and one part-time library assistant. Her duties include collection development for non-fiction and eBooks, adult services programming, spokeswoman for adult services, collection and analyzation of adult services statistics, and reference librarian. Including actively serving our current users, she presents programs outside the library to potential users such as college classes and local clubs on services offered by the library. She can be best contacted by work email (Adult Services Supervisor, personal communication, February 12, 2015).
C. Procko is the library's Support Services Manager. She supervises over the customer service/circulation staff, processing staff, pages, volunteers, and is second in command over the library when the director is not present. The Support Services Manager accumulates the library's statistics, supervises circulation, handles all patron complaints, manages building maintenance and online service's needs, and monitors library meeting room usage. She is typically one of the first faces many patrons see at the customer service desk which also serves as circulation. Along with her library duties she is also fluent in Spanish and is one of the three staff members that are first called upon for translations. She can be best contacted by work email (Support Services Manager, personal communication, February 12, 2015)
S. Hubbard is a current user, former full time employee of the Leesburg Public Library, and still serves as temporary staff for ten hours a week. He is currently seeking full time work, while doing various self-employed jobs such as online survey taking, and selling books online. As a father of a two year old he frequently brings his child to the youth programs, and checks out books and digital video devices for him. Mr. Hubbard also uses the library for printing, online employment and auto-mechanic databases, Wi-Fi, and purchasing of books from the bookstore to resell online. The best way to best contact him would be by email (S. Hubbard, personal communication, February 11, 2015).
A. Foster is a current remote user, part time loader at Home Depot, certified Music Teacher, and has a Lake County Library card. He is currently looking for full time work in Florida, Tennessee, and Alabama. Mr. Foster's wife is an employee of the Leesburg Public Library. He remotely, through his wife and online, uses the library for printing, checking out DVDs, online employment databases, and OverDrive. The OverDrive database, is where the library purchases and stores online eBooks, audiobooks, and streaming video. He can be best contacted by email (A. Foster, personal communication, February 11, 2015).
R. Peace is a current user and a potential user for eBook services. She is a mother of three girls middle school and older, and a former stay at home mom who did homeschooling. When homeschooling she actively used the home school programs and library for books. She still currently uses the library to check out books for herself and family. Her use of the library for programs has slowed. Interest has been expressed to add OverDrive to her tablet. The best way of contacting her is by phone (R. Peace, personal communication, February 8, 2015).
K. Means is a current user for her work and a potential user for personal use. Ms. Means is in her mid 20's and single, with a GED. She currently works as a nanny, substitute teacher, and an after school care provider for a school that serves Kindergarten to twelfth grade. Ms. Means has used the library infrequently for youth programs and checking out materials for the children she nannies. She is an avid reader and TV watcher. She eventually wants to return to school to get a degree in cosmetology. The library can offer her access to eBooks, streaming video, adult programs, reference materials on returning to school, and books. She can be contacted by phone (K. Means, personal communication, February 11, 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?
This demographic analysis of Leesburg, Florida was gathered from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Fact Finder (n.d.).
Age levels and groups, genders:
According to the 2010 Census (United States Census Bureau, 2010) the median age for Leesburg, Florida is 40.7 years old. Out of the 20,117 total population 4,665 are under the age of eighteen, 1,774 are between the ages eighteen to twenty-four years old, 4,491 are twenty-five to forty-four years old, 4,639 are forty-five to sixty-four years old, and 4,589 are sixty-five years and older. 9,205 or 45.8% of the total population is male with a median age of 38.1 years old. 10,912 or 54.2% of the population is female with a median age of 43.3 years old. The adult services mainly serves individuals eighteen years and older. According to the provided statistics Leesburg Public Library has a potential community user base of 15,493, individuals 18 years and older, or approximately 77% of the total population. Our highest user base would be individuals forty-five to sixty-four years old. This demographic group fits within the predicted secondary and part of primary users. Although the primary users age demographic, sixty-five and older, is the second highest for potential community users.
According to the American Community Survey 5 year estimate for 2009-2013 (United States Census Bureau, 2009-2013), 13,869 individuals live in Leesburg that are twenty-five years or older. Out of those the percentages of persons with a high school degree or higher are 84.1%. The percentage of persons with a bachelor's degree or higher is 17.9%. Approximately 16% of individuals twenty-five years of age or older have less than a high school degree. A population of 2,061 are eighteen to twenty-four years of age. Out of those 32.4% have less than a high school graduate degree, 67.6% have a high school degree or higher, and 1.3% have a bachelor's degree or higher. Although a prominent amount of individuals over the age of eighteen have obtained a high school degree or higher in the city of Leesburg 16% of twenty-five and older, and 32.4% of eighteen to twenty-four year olds will eventually seek or need the County's Adult literacy program services to help prepare for the GED or further their personal learning. The library is a needed learning center to assist individuals in furthering their education and personal skills through technology classes, and lifelong learning programs.
According to the American Community Survey 5 year estimate for 2009-2013 (United States Census Bureau, 2009-2013), the city of Leesburg has a total of 8,406 households with a median income of $33,698. 5,217 are family households with a median income of $42,081. 3,270 are non-family households with a median income of $25,635. Per capita, meaning per individual in the studied group, there is a median income of $19,409. An estimated 3,554 collect Social Security, 2,012 collect retirement, 617 collect supplemental Social Security income, 157 collect temporary cash assistance income, and 1,657 collect food stamps. These statistics show the need for the library's continued alliance with non-profit organizations such as SHINE, ACCESS Florida, and Safe Link wireless which assist the community in receiving government assistance. The library has the responsibility to use the taxpayer's money wisely in order to provide the community with the resources needed to help support them, through access to materials to lend, technology, programming, and classes.
According to the 2010 Census (United States Census Bureau, 2010), Leesburg, Florida contains a total population of 20,117 individuals. 19,576 or 97.3% of those claimed having one race which includes: 12,774 white or 63.5%, 5,666 African American or 28.2%, 70 American Indian and Alaska Native or .3%, 342 Asian or 1.7%, 45 Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander or 0.2 %, and 679 claimed "some other race" or 3.4%. 541 individuals claimed two or more races at 2.7%. 1,805 or 9% claim Hispanic or Latino as their race. The Leesburg Public library's top three racial demographics are White, African American, and Hispanic or Latino. Through personal communication with the Adult Services Supervisor (personal communication, February 12, 2015), it was discovered that the library reaches the highest percentage of the city's racial demographic, Whites, as the primary user group. Analysis should be done to see if the library is also meeting the needs of African Americans and Hispanic or Latinos in the community. The library already provides services to the 9% Hispanic or Latino racial demographic through books and reference materials written in Spanish. The library also provides the Adult Literacy Program and guidance to other organizations in the community to learn English. The library staff includes a total of three full time employees one in each department who speak Spanish fluently.
According to the American Community Survey 5 year estimate for 2009-2013 (United States Census Bureau, 2009-2013) the civilian employed population of individuals 16 years and older is 7,363 or an estimated 50%. Out of the 50% employed 1,958 are in management, business, science, and arts occupations. These occupations include 878 in management, business, and financial; 123 in computer, engineering, and science; 509 in education, legal, community service, arts, and media; and 448 as healthcare practitioners and technical occupations. Demands of this group are met through library technology classes, promotion of small business through cooperative programing, how to start a small business programming, a once a month craft group, the literary arts festival, bookfest, and access to Value Line financial publications (Adult Services Supervisor, personal communication, February 12, 2015). Out of the total employed, 2,339 are in service occupations including: 363 as health care support, 166 as protective service, 670 as food preparation and serving, 758 building and grounds maintenance, and 382 as personal care and service occupations. These groups are served through programming on eye care, brain care, mental health care, dietary programs, planting a garden, raising chickens, and cooking classes. The library also provides study guides for firefighters, and nursing (Adult Services Supervisor, personal communication, February 12, 2015). 1,894 out of the total employed population are in sales and office occupations. 436 are in natural resources, construction, and maintenance occupations. 736 are in production, transportation, and material moving occupations. These groups are served through availability of certification test review materials online. The library also offers the ARRC, Auto Repair Reference Center, Database which provides a variety of car manuals and basic car maintenance guides. In addition to a variety of books, reference materials, and study guides within the library the library website has a list of recommended internet links to guide patrons on topics such as: arts and entertainment, business, consumer information, education, government, house and garden, law, medicine and health, science and weather, and technology (City of Leesburg, 2015).
Only 50% of individuals over sixteen in Leesburg, Florida have jobs, meaning that 50% of the community is either retired, unable to work, or unemployed. The library meets the demand of this group by providing technology classes, programs, and adult literacy program to teach job skills. Many jobs now require basic computer skills, typing word documents, and creating excel documents. These skills are all offered through the library's technology classes. The library provides access to twenty computers regularly with internet access to library databases such as AtoZ, and Employ Florida. AtoZ is a database of businesses across the US, supplying contact information and job openings. Employ Florida is a website that provides a list of available jobs and applications within Florida. The library also continues its partnership with ACCESS Florida a non-profit organization that provides assistance with applying for and maintaining food stamps, temporary cash, and Medicaid (Adult Services Supervisor, personal communication, February 12, 2015).
Downtown Leesburg regularly has over a 100 events a year that are managed and produced by the Leesburg Partnership. The Leesburg Partnership was established in 1994 to rebuild Downtown Leesburg through outreach, promotion of retailers and special events, economic restructuring, and design appeal. Regular annual events that are produced by the Leesburg Partnership include Saturday Morning Market, monthly Food Truck and Flick Night, Spring Fish Fry in April, Mardi Gras in February, Leesburg Bikefest in April, 4th of July celebration, Craft Beer, Wine, and Food Festival in November, Christmas Parade in December, and Christmas Stroll in December (Leesburg Partnership, Inc., 2004). This impacts the amount of parking the library can offer to users, which reduces attendance to programs and classes. It can positively and negatively impact door count numbers. Regular patrons go to the city events for entertainment purposes and potential users coming to the city event use the library for quick needs such as restroom, rest, computers, and curiosity (Support Services Manager, personal communication, February 12, 2014).
Cultural opportunities can be found in Leesburg at city events, library programs, historical museum, and library genealogy special collection. The city hosts events such as the Martin Luther King Jr. Parade, and Literary Arts Festival (Leesburg Partnership, Inc., 2004). Library programs include Marjory Stoneman Douglass, Beatrix Potter: A Woman Ahead of her Time, Confederate Nursing, West Indian cooking, and Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune. The library also provides an extensive special collection of local history and genealogical information, and additional genealogical books, microfilm, CD's, databases, and classes. Leesburg also has a museum and Heritage Society which meets monthly and offers local history programs in the library. The library is one of the main contributors and supporters of cultural awareness and opportunities for the community. It is an archives and preserver of Leesburg cities history by preserving the local newspaper, collecting local obituaries, and indexing local historian's articles in the local newspaper on Leesburg history (Adult Services Supervisor, personal communication, February 12, 2015).
Civic Interest and problems:
Civic interest in Leesburg includes the parks and recreations programs such as: basketball, baseball, softball, tennis lessons, dog obedience school, adult soccer, road runners, and marina (City of Leesburg, 2015). Library programs such as health, small business, cooking, author events, concerts, and technology classes (Lake County Library System, 2015).
Community problems include a need for government assistance with Medicare, Medicaid, temporary cash, food assistance, and free cellphones. According to the City Commission meeting on January 26, 2015, Commissioners are concerned by the lack of awareness of gang violence in the community, abandoned homes not being cared for, assistance for individuals in the community in obvious need of help, and better communications between departments (Purvis, 2015, p. 9-11) .
The library addresses the issue of community need for government assistance by providing access to internet, computers, and a scanner to register and submit documentation to ACCESS Florida the online portal for the Department of Children and Families. The library also provides study rooms and library space for volunteers from ACCESS Florida, SHINE (volunteer program for Department of Elder Affairs), and Safe Link Wireless (government program to provide free cell phones and minutes) (Adult Services Supervisor, personal communication, February 12, 2015).
According to AtoZ Databases (2015) an electronic database of businesses, organizations, and individuals, there are approximately fifty-eight churches in the city of Leesburg. Church denominations include Church of God, Church of the Living God, Baptist, Nazarene, Church of Christ, Latter-Day Saints, Methodist, Seventh - day Adventist, Presbyterian, Community Church, Lutheran, Science, Pentecostal, Catholic, Episcopal, and various other divisions. Religion statistics for Leesburg city show that 39.7% of the population is affiliated with a religious congregation. There are four significant religious adherents in Leesburg which are: 31% Southern Baptist, 23% Catholic, 12% United Methodist, 6% Presbyterian, and 28% claimed other (City-Data.com, 2015).
The library is directly affected by religious groups such as the Latter Day Saints, Jehovah Witnesses, and Catholics. Latter Day Saints missionaries come into the library regularly to use the internet and minister to patrons that they have met outside the library. Jehovah Witnesses are allowed to set up outside the library with religious text as long as they do not block the path into the library. One regular user of the Catholic faith, on his own free will, blessed the library when it first opened. The library is affected by each of these incidences, although freedom of religion cannot be hindered, it is the library's responsibility to ensure the safety of all users and may request that religious individuals stop if others feel directly harassed after personally requesting to not be bothered (Adult Services Supervisor, personal communication, February 12, 2015).
The collection developer of the religious materials in the library tries to maintain as many various religious and sects texts as possible in various formats. This is especially true of texts of larger factions and as many smaller factions as possible that are deemed valuable to the community and budget will allow (Reference Librarian, personal communication, February 12, 2015). The library also subscribes to religious periodicals such as Christian Source Monitor Weekly, Florida Catholic, and Christian Musician. The library uses and advertises services such as microfilm from the Latter Day Saints and ESL classes from the Catholic Church (Adult Services Supervisor, personal communication, February 12, 2015). This requires the library to have a partnership and understanding of trust with these religious institutions in order to best serve the community.
Clubs and organizations:
There are several clubs and organizations that use the library for meeting rooms. The library rents out meeting room space to the organizations at a low cost. The meetings rooms contain chairs, tables, podium, projector, and a laptop that can be provided if necessary. This demand requires the library to stay up to date on projector and computer technology. This includes making sure that an internet signal is reliable, which is not always possible with an outdated County contract. According to the events calendar (Lake County Library System, 2015) the library provided rooms to government assistance organizations such as AARP, Shine, and ACCESS Florida; community support organizations such as Be Free Lake, Partners Investing in People, and Tee Foundation; County and City member meetings such as Library Advisory meeting, Lake County Library System, National Social Workers of Lake and Sumter County, and Florida Trail Association; historical groups such as Leesburg Heritage Society, and United Daughters of the Confederacy; political organizations such as Greater Leesburg Democratic Club, and Lake County Democratic Veterans Caucus; and special interest groups such as the craft club, and book club.
2.4 Provide a "SWOT" analysis of the community/users in terms of how they shape the nature of services in the PL?
The community strengths include an estimated population of 21,142 individuals, according to the 2013 estimation of 2010 Census (United States Census Bureau, 2013). To meet the demands of the larger community the library was moved in 2007, doubling the size and adding facilities for public use. The library is located in downtown Leesburg near City Hall, Social Security, Utilities Department, Beacon College, the local recreation park, and is a stop for the public transportation system. The users of the public library are very active and vocal about the library services, which provide the library staff an understanding of their needs. These needs included an addition in 2014 of additional handicap zoned parking places at the front of the library property. In addition to the Census statistics the library also attracts a large percentage of seasonal residents who increase library served numbers by applying for out of state library cards, using library services, and attending programs. The library adapts to the seasonal increase by providing library staff at the "Ask-Me-First" desk located at the front doors from opening until noon to greet and answer initial questions about the library's services (Support Services Manager, February 12, 2015).
The community has many organizations and individuals who take advantage of the library's meeting room facilities which include two meeting rooms, board room, technology lab, four study rooms, and story room. In February of 2014, fifteen organizations and clubs reserved the use of these facilities from Genealogy groups, Government volunteer services, City and County Department meetings, local community support foundations, Democratic clubs, Florida Trail Association, and National Social Workers of Lake and Sumter County (Lake County Library System, 2015). The genealogy groups use the meeting rooms once a month and many of their meetings are open to the public. The library caters to their needs by allowing flyers to be posted about their meetings, providing frequent genealogy programming, staffing a genealogy expert for assistance in the library and for library advocacy at genealogy meetings, providing a wide range but in depth genealogy collection, and maintaining certification with the Latter-Day Saints Familysearch organization in order to receive and hold the microfilm and microfiche collection for patron use (Adult Services Supervisor, personal communication, February 12, 2015).
The community actively supports the library by volunteering their services to shelve books, assist in genealogy, assist in processing, participating as tutors in the adult literacy program, or becoming Friends of the Library who raise funds for the library and manage the library's bookstore. The library receives frequent community donations of books, DVDs, audio CDs, records, and puzzles to be considered for library collection or to be sold in the bookstore for monetary support (Support Services Manager, personal communication, February 12, 2015).
The community weaknesses include lack of consistency in attendance to technology classes after registering. Technology classes require registration because the library's technology lab only provides seating with computers for twelve. Classes quickly fill up weeks in advanced with a full wait list. Those registered to attend are sent a reminder email and phone call a day before the event to ensure attendance. Frequently classes will be half or three-fourths full, although many were turned away or registered for a later class because it was expected to have full attendance (Adult Services Supervisor, personal communication, February 12, 2015).
Although the library has a high number of volunteers' inconsistency is found between those who register to assist and those who consistently assist. Often the library will get volunteer interest but a lack of commitment to arrive or be consistent. The adult literacy program offered by the county is tutored by volunteers of the community. Many will register but not commit to a learner or commit and not show up on time. Also learners who register to be tutored inconsistently communicate with tutors that they will be unable to attend their learning sessions (Reference Librarian, personal communication, February 12, 2015).
Users require a high demand of computer assistance because of lack of computer literacy and interest to learn. With limited staff and funding to provide more hours to temporary staff this directly affects the amount of time that can be devoted to one-on-one computer and technology assistance. Library staff is unable to keep up with the high volume of computer assistance needs required when all twenty to thirty-six computers are full (Reference Librarian, personal communication, February 12, 2015).
The community has the opportunity use the library more advantageously. The library is located in a prime location in the community with ease of access and parking. It also includes a cafe for meals. It is a center for technology with computers, projectors, internet, copiers, scanners, and printers. Meeting room space is provided for organizations, agencies, and businesses to conduct meetings or advertise their services through programming (Adult Services Supervisor, personal communication, February 12, 2015).
Beacon College, across the street from the library, is one such organization that could benefit from the library resources. Although Beacon College has a small library, Leesburg Public Library has more services and larger collection of materials to offer. Teachers could use library events, databases, and resources to further student education. The library's basic computer courses, adult literacy program, and meeting rooms can help assist students who need assistance with tutoring (Adult Services Supervisor, personal communication, February 12, 2015).
Unemployed, low income, ESL, and GED and below education level individuals can find assistance at the library with technology classes, adult literacy program, library staff assistance with resume and basic computer needs, employment databases, volunteer government assistance programs, and several other services (Adult Services Supervisor, personal communication, February 12, 2015).
"The library's threats are loss of funding, adversely affecting staff, hours, facility maintenance, collection, and programming; loss of interest and low use by younger generations, especially Millennials; and not adapting quickly enough to change (Adult Services Supervisor, personal communication, February 12, 2015)."
A loss of library funding would be a direct threat to the community of Leesburg. Several organizations and individuals rely on the usage of the library services to carry out their needs or to find assistance. Without funding the library will not be able to meet the demands of the community and to maintain facilities and operations.
As the library continues to not be able to adapt quickly enough to changes such as internet usage and technology advancements fewer of the community are able to rely on library services for their needs.
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.
According to the Support Services Manager (personal communication, February 12, 2015) who compiles each department's statics, the library measures success through monthly statistics that can be compared to the library's previous stats and to stats from other libraries in the Lake County Library System. The statistics include check outs, check ins, self-checks, program attendance, reference questions asked and answered, door count, class attendance, and general comments, concerns and suggestions from patrons. Along with monthly statistics the library also does twice a year in depth weekly statistics and once a year a Library Snapshot. Library Snapshot is when a detailed analysis of what the library offers and patron satisfaction is recorded for one day. Analysis includes in addition to monthly statistics, customer comments from surveys, pictures, how much time was spent assisting patrons, and a count of how many individuals used particular services such as computers and self-checkout. Weekly statistics can include recording how long staff takes assisting patrons, and recording the amount of usage of materials and services every hour. This is recorded through counting how many different types of materials have been used in house, and counting patrons using computers, genealogy, and accessing Wi-Fi through personal electronic devices.
Library mission success:
According to the Leesburg Public Library Policy manual the library's mission is, "Enriching our community with service excellence to provide information, recreation and life-long learning opportunities (City of Leesburg, 2012, pg.1)" The Support Services Manager stated (personal communication, February 12, 2015) that, "In general we are successful in our mission to provide service to our user community. As we follow trends we can sense our slow periods, our not so successful programs, how well our "advertising" is working and how we can target certain populations to better serve them."
Library services success:
The Support Services Manager stated (personal communication, February 12, 2015), "I would say our "extra offerings" really put the cherry on top of our great service to the community. Having a fax/scan machine, our Helping Hands Tuesdays, tax help, voter's registration and polling place in addition to the focused data bases are all offerings that create a sense of well-being, caring and usefulness in our community. Even something as simple as our water test kits and bus routes brochures bring people into the library and provide a valuable service."
What does not work for our community is the lack of publicizing events for individuals without the internet. The library has a Facebook, twitter, personalized web page with events calendar, and events are posted on the city's and county's calendar. Outside of the newspaper, lake front TV, and advertising events within the library there are no other non-web based advertisements. There are several community businesses, communities, community centers, and Beacon College where library events could also be posted to inform more individuals of programs, services, and technology classes (Adult Services Supervisor, personal communication, February 12, 2015).
Lack of internet stability also hinders the services within the library. Staff struggles to meet the demand of reference questions and circulation in a timely manner. Community users, whether using a meeting room or computers within the library, complain often about the internet being slow, and being unable to get to email or download documents. Computers will freeze often causing users to lose documents and time sensitive materials. Technology based programs, community services, and classes have also been affected, when only a portion or all of a program or class is unable to connect to the internet (Reference Librarian, personal communication, February 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?
The Leesburg Public Library does regular library-centric evaluations. According to Matthews (2007, p.5), "The library-centric view has an eternal or operations viewpoint. The focus of evaluation efforts is on process, functions, and services." The Support Services Manager (personal communication, February 12, 2015) gave an example of this when she stated that the library's statistics include check outs, check ins, self-checks, program attendance, reference questions asked and answered, door count, class attendance, and general comments, concerns and suggestions from patrons. Although these statistics have shown the library's weaknesses and strengths it has not provided a voice to the community, outside of "general comments, concerns and suggestions".
The Leesburg Public Library mission is, "Enriching our community with service excellence to provide information, recreation and life-long learning opportunities (City of Leesburg, 2012, pg.1)." In order for the library to know it has achieved "service excellence" it must evaluate this from the user. A customer-centric evaluation helps "determine the extent to which the library is or is not meeting the customer's expectations (Matthews, 2007, p.6)." A user-centered evaluation can help determine the library's, "users expectations, materials are useful, customer service is satisfactory, ease of use, environment is comfortable, return use, accuracy of services, expertise of services, completeness, dependability, ease of access, and benefit obtained (Matthews, 2007, p. 7)".
Currently, program evaluations consist of a likert scale of satisfaction and where the user found out about the program. Through user centered evaluation the library could also determine if the program was useful to user purpose, interest in more programs on same topic, if more or less advanced class is needed, and if there will be repeat use by the user or user peers. The library will have the opportunity to follow up with more programs to meet user needs, or provide materials to fill gaps.
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City of Leesburg. (2015). Recommended Internet Links. Retrieved from http://www.leesburgflorida.gov/index.aspx?page=204.
City of Leesburg. (2015). Recreation. Retrieved from http://www.leesburgflorida.gov/index.aspx?page=1488.
Lake County Library System. (2015). [Interactive calendar of Lake County Library events]. Evanced event calendar. Retrieved from http://mylakelibrary.evanced.info/signup/EventCalendar.aspx?lib=1006
Leesburg Partnership, Inc. (1994-2004). Leesburg Partnership. Retrieved from http://leesburgpartnership.com/.
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