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Case Study Analysis

Sarah Foster

University of Tennessee, Knoxville


Abstract

The Leesburg Public Library is located in the city of Leesburg in Lake County, Florida. The library is a part of a larger Lake County Library System. There are eight other book clubs competitors in Lake County which include, seven different Lake County Library System member and branch libraries, and Legacy a Leesburg retirement community book club. Marianne Beck Memorial Library is a member of the Lake County Library System. It is funded by the County and the town of Howey-in-the-Hills. Marianne Beck Memorial Library is located only twenty minutes from the Leesburg Public Library and provides the Top Shelf book club for adults. This assignment will discuss Marianne Beck Memorial Library, Top Shelf book club, and similarities and differences with the Leesburg Public Library's Leesburg Library Literary Guild (LLLG) book club (Adult Services Supervisor, personal communication, March 31, 2015; Director, personal communication, April 4, 2015).

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.

Marianne Beck Memorial Library is located in the town of Howey-in-the-Hills of Lake County Florida. The library is a member of the Lake County Library System. It is funded by the city and county. The library is located twenty minutes from the Leesburg Public Library, which is the collaborating library for the overall study. Marianne Beck Memorial Library is located in a city of 1,139 according to 2013 annual population estimates accumulated by the U.S. Census Bureau (2013). According to the Library Director Marianne Beck Memorial Library has a total of 988 registered Lake County Library card holders (Director, personal communication, April 4, 2015). The library is small with only a square footage of 2,100. It contains a small periodicals section with local history, two rows of shelves for large print, five rows of shelves for fiction, one row of shelves of reference and biography, two rows of shelves for non-fiction, one row of shelves for DVDS, two shelves for young adult, four shelves for children's, two paper book swivel racks, and eight computers. It is run by the Library Director and nineteen community volunteers. The Director of Marianne Beck Memorial Library has been in the position for two years. She started as a volunteer, and a member of the library board for 10 years. She has no formal training in Library Science, and former occupation was a bookstore owner. Learning on the job, she attends library director meetings, user groups, library advisory board meetings, communicates with other libraries, and does a lot research for ideas (Director, personal communication, April 4, 2015).

There are four tables located next to the young adult section where programs, and services are held such as the Top Shelf book club sponsored by the library. The Top Shelf book club is led by the Friends of the Library President. The service is offered in the months of October to June. There are eight regular attendees of the book club, and it is open to all interested adults with no registration required. The regular members are all retired females, half are seasonal residents and half are local residents. User centered assessment of book club services are informal. The President of the Friends of the Library communicates with the Director any concerns stated by members, and there is direct communication between the Director and members of the book club (Director, personal communication, April 4, 2015).

Overall the book club is very successful compared to the size of the library and community. Although accommodations are tight since the members have to have discussions in the open library instead of a quiet space. There is a representative of the library that is responsible for the group and takes the time to lead it. Eight members are reliably dedicated to the book club meeting times and discussions (Director, personal communication, April 4, 2015). According to the Director (personal communication, April 4, 2015),
"The book club members are retired professors, teachers, and librarians. I believe their strength lies in the fact that they bring a different perspective to each discussion. They all have unique backgrounds and educations which leads to very unique questions. The book club gives them the opportunity to gather with like minds, to meet new people and to enrich their lives through reading."

Compared to the Leesburg Public Library's registered and active members, the Top Shelf book club is more successful at their mission to serve the users' needs. The Leesburg Library Literary Guild Chapter 1 has an average attendance of 67% and chapter 2 has an average of 49%, whereas the Top Shelf book club is more consistently at a 100% attendance for meetings. The Marianne Beck Memorial Library is able to provide the book club a facilitator and leader, which is one aspect that the Leesburg Public Library has not been able to do. This also shows Marianne Beck Memorial Libraries success with services since they only have one staff member. They also are using as a facilitator a volunteer who is able to focus her time on just the book club. Compared to the Leesburg Public Library which uses staff to facilitate the book club as part of their library duties (Adult Services Supervisor, personal communication, March 31, 2015; Director, personal communication, April 4, 2015)

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

Represents:

Marianne Beck Memorial Library advertises the Top Shelf book club in several ways. According to the Director (personal communication, April 4, 2015), "The book club is advertised on the City's website, Lake County Library System website, Lake County Government website, Library's webpage, Daily Commercial local newspaper, Lake Sentinel local newspaper, library Facebook page, flyers and bookmarks in the library." The library houses the meetings consistently on the third Tuesday of every month from October to June at noon. It is represented as an open community event that does not require registration. All adults, 18 years old and older, who have read the text for the meeting, can participate in the book club discussion (Director, personal communication, April 4, 2015).

Manages:

The book club is sponsored by the Library, and the Director manages the book club by advertising and providing a consistent time and space for the event. It is also lead by the President of the Friends of the Library. The President of the Friends of the Library leads the group by being an active member, guiding the members as needed through discussion, and communicating the libraries services and book club needs between the members and Director. The members of the book club meet at the beginning of the book club season and each select a book that they would like to read and discuss as a group. Each member then leads the discussion at the book club meetings for the book that they chose. Everyone from the Director of the library to the individual book club members manages the book club at some point (Director, personal communication, April 4, 2015).

Provides:

Overall, the service provided by the Marianne Beck Memorial Library is a time and place for adults from varying backgrounds to meet and discuss a variety of books in a constructive and enjoyable manner. Within that service; the library provides a library space with four tables and chairs, a reserved time on the events calendar for the months of October to June, and a leader and facilitator of the group to help guide discussions. The library Director does not purchase the selected books for the book club but acquires the books from the Lake County Library System. At the end of each meeting the book club members place on hold the next book that they are to read. According to the Director of the library, "twice there have not be enough titles in the system. Book club members have purchased the book then donated it to the library." Advertisement of the service is also provided through websites, social media, newspapers, flyers and special designed bookmarks for each meeting (Director, personal communication, April 4, 2015).

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.

Scope and Objectives:

"The mission of the Marianne Beck Memorial Library is to provide media and services for all the community residents of all ages for personal enrichment, enjoyment and educational needs. The Marianne Beck Memorial Library is committed to supporting a lifelong enjoyment of reading and learning. (Director, personal communication, April 4, 2015)" Book club services align with the mission by providing "personal enrichment and enjoyment" of those involved as they are supported in their "lifelong enjoyment of reading". The book club encourages a variety of readers to expand their personal taste to new genres and discuss what they have enjoyed or learned (Director, personal communication, April 4, 2015).

The Marianne Beck Memorial Library does not have a written objective. The Director has a personal objective for the library to be the center of the community. The book club is a part of that initiative. It is a place for members of the library with a common passion to gather and share ideas. The library is ideal for the user's needs as a common place where they can receive services such as books and a facilitator to keep them focused. Essentially, the library is the center for the book club's community (Director, personal communication, April 4, 2015).

To obtain the Director's objective, there is a long term goal of building a community center on the property where programs, activities, clubs, homeschool groups, and voting can take place. The community building will also house the book club meetings. The Director believes that once the community building is established that there will be an increase in book club participation (Director, personal communication, April 4, 2015).

Activities:

The Marianne Beck Memorial Library provides several services including technology classes, Canasta playing, Quilting club, Homeschooling programs, Game Nights, Author presentations, personal and community improvement programs. All of the activities provided by the library center around one goal which is to bring the community together for a common purpose. The book club is only one of many of such activities provided by the library (Lake County Library System, 2015).

The book club activities include choosing a favorite or popular title to read together as a group. The book chosen is then discussed amongst the members to enjoy each others different insights. Other activities include the promotion of chosen materials through flyers, advertising in websites and newspapers, and book marks. This also increases numbers of materials checked out. On two occasions there have not been enough books in the Lake County Library System to check out and book club members have purchased the item and donated it to the library. Therefore, it also influences the collection development of the library (Director, personal communication, April 4, 2015).

Resources:

Marianne Beck Memorial library represents elements of the book clubs resources through the Lake County Library System's materials and advertisements. Through the Lake County Library System's materials the book club is able to obtain the books required for each club meeting. The event is also posted on the Lake County Library System events calendar, newspapers, Facebook, library, and city's website. In the advertisement it informs the reader about the next book that will be discussed, when, and where. By informing the Lake County community and Howey-in-the-Hills community, the community becomes aware of what books are provided by the library. Marianne Beck Memorial Library is also advertised as a resource that provides book discussion group (Director, personal communication, April 4, 2015).

Users Assessment:

The Director has not taken a formal user assessment of the book club services. Provided that the book club is small, has a library volunteer facilitator, and the Director knows each member personally, she uses informal means to assess the users expectations and satisfaction. Through user communication and the President of the Friends of the library comments on the facilitation of the club, improvements and needs of the club can be quickly met. Book club member's book interest is also taken in consideration as the members chose which books to discuss. Book club member's book selections also influence collection development when they purchase and donate the books to the library's collection (Director, personal communication, April 4, 2015).

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

The Marianne Beck Memorial Library regularly has an attendance of eight members for each meeting, and has consistently gained a member each year. With the community being very transient in nature, consisting mostly of retirees, the Director is unsure or the life span of the group. The Director does expect that the group will increase significantly with a wider variety of users (younger, couples, and males) once the community building is built and there is a larger and quieter place for the club to meet (Director, personal communication, April 4, 2015).

The Director stated (personal communication, April 4, 2015), "I don't think it would be a loss for the community if the library doesn't offer the book club. Although I like it here and it is a great asset." In the town of Howey-in-the-Hills there are four other book clubs that take place in individual's homes. Once the community building is built those book clubs may be interested in using the larger facility or combining with the library's book club (Director, personal communication, April 4, 2015).

The library is a reliable and comfortable meeting place for members. The Director and leader of the book club, President of the Friends of the Library, have built personal relationships with each of the members. The members faithfully attend meetings and support the library by purchasing and donating books when the Lake County Library System is unable to meet book club needs. In the 2014-2015 season, the occurrence of there not being enough books has only happened twice out of eight meetings. Overall, the library is highly effective at providing book club services to a small group. If there were more members the library would not be able to provide a large enough space or enough materials (Director, personal communication, April 4, 2015).

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.

Similarities:

The Leesburg Public Library and Marianne Beck Memorial Library are both member libraries of the Lake County Library System. All Lake County Library System items are available to both libraries. Each library provides a book club service for Lake County Library System card holders. The book clubs consist of female, 50+ years old, retirees of various backgrounds, Lake County and seasonal residents. Both book clubs allow the book club members to choose the books they will be reading. Book club members lead the book club discussions in both libraries. Neither library has formally evaluated the book clubs but both informally evaluate the book clubs through communication and listening of concerns (Adult Services Supervisor, personal communication, March 31, 2015; Director, personal communication, April 4, 2015).

Differences: Book Club membership

The Leesburg Public Library only allows a total of twenty four registered book club members, and the book club discussions and materials are only available to those registered or considering registration (Adult Services Supervisor, personal communication, March 31, 2015). Marianne Beck Memorial Library's book club is available to all interested adults, and registration is not required. Users may join the individual book club discussions as they choose. There are only eight consistent members who attend every meeting (Director, personal communication, April 4, 2015).

Differences: Acquiring resources

The Leesburg Public Library purchases a set of twelve books for the book club services. Whereas, Marianne Beck Memorial Library acquires books that are already available through the Lake County Library System. When there are not enough books in the County System, book club members' purchase their own copy (Director, personal communication, April 4, 2015). The Leesburg Public Library would acquire additional books first from the library's regular (books that are accessible to all patrons) collection in various formats, then OverDrive (ebook) collection, and lastly the broader Lake County Library System collection (Adult Services Supervisor, personal communication, March 31, 2015).

The Leesburg Public Library provides previous season's book club kits to community book clubs and book clubs facilitated by libraries in the Lake County Library System. Book club kits include ten regular print and two large print copies of a selected title. Items within the kit have been assigned in the catalog to check out for thirty days instead of the usual twenty-one day check out. Books in a book club kit are not accessible to individual patrons unless their book club has reserved the kit. This is to ensure that the kit stays intact (Adult Services Supervisor, personal communication, March 31, 2015). The Director of Marianne Beck Memorial Library did not know about this service but will be able to request a whole kit be delivered to the library for book club members to check out (Director, personal communication, April 4, 2015).

Differences: Setting

The Leesburg Public Library is 43,000 square feet, two stories, and provides five rentable meeting room spaces for programs, clubs, and organizations. The LLLG book club meets in the board room that is located on the second floor in the staff area and seats twelve people. This room is secluded from the general public and is a quiet place to conduct meetings. (Adult Service Supervisor, personal communication March 31, 2015)

Marianne Beck Memorial Library is 2,100 square feet, one story, and has no private rooms. The book club meets at four tables located next to the Young Adult section. Although the space is reserved for the book club it is shared with the general public as they peruse the stacks and use the computers. (Director, personal communication, April 4, 2015)

Differences: Management

The LLLG book club is managed by the Adult Services Supervisor who acquires the book club kits, facilitates the organizational meeting and book selection meeting, and schedules the meeting room space. An Adult Services Library Assistant corresponds with the book club members about library events, and book club notices such as availability of books and next meeting through email, phone, and in person. The Adult Services Library Assistant also prepares the meeting room space and informally evaluates the book club needs through communication with members. There is not a library staff member or volunteer that stays with the book club during meetings or leads the book club discussions (Adult Services Supervisor, personal communication, March 31, 2015).

The Top Shelf book club is managed by the Director of the library, who is the only paid staff at Marianne Beck Memorial Library. The book club meetings are facilitated by the President of the Friends of the Library who also volunteers at the library. The facilitator is an active participant in book club meetings, and helps guide book discussions (Director, personal communication, April 4, 2015).

Differences: Advertisement

The Leesburg Public Library does not advertise book club services. Individuals interested in book club services have heard by word of mouth or inquire at the library. This is because there is only a limited amount of space, and only two openings. The Adults Services Supervisor has stated that if the book club was to advertised it would be limited to Facebook and the in house newsletter (Adult Services Supervisor, personal communication, March 31, 2015)

Marianne Beck Memorial Library advertises the book club on four websites, Facebook, two local newspapers, flyers and bookmarks in the library. The book club is open to all adults who come (Director, personal communication, April 4, 2015).

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?

The Leesburg Public Library and Marianne Beck Memorial Library take two different approaches to their book club services. Each take an approach that is manageable compared to local community and user numbers. Although, both libraries only informally assess the book club services through communication and personal contact with book club members. This assessment approach has so far been adequate enough to meet the needs of the users. User needs or issues can be answered or met quickly because of the one-on-one attention provided to the low numbers of users. A formal assessment may find areas of need or ways of improvement that have not been considered. A qualitative assessment will be able to determine if the user feels that the book club services are effective.

The Marianne Beck Memorial Library services have shown to be successful through the high percentage of regular users. This could possibly be explained by the Library providing a volunteer leader for discussions and the times and dates chosen for meetings. Whereas, the Leesburg Public Library's meeting space is more conducive to a discussion group and availability of books are reliable. The Marianne Beck Memorial Library Director is trying to obtain a community building that would be used to conduct book club meetings in, as well as other programs and services (Director, personal communication, April 4, 2015; Adult Services Supervisor, personal communication, March 31, 2015).

The Leesburg Public Library, two years ago, provided the book clubs an Adult Services Library Assistant to lead the book club. The Adult Services Library Assistant attended every meeting, read the book multiple times, researched the author, developed discussion points, and led the group through discussions. Book club members have requested multiple times for similar services to return. At this time the Adult Services Supervisor and current staff do not have the scheduled time to meet these standards. The Marianne Beck Memorial Library provides a volunteer to lead the book club, she reads the books, attends every meeting, and guides discussion when needed but does not provide the discussion. The library similar to Leesburg Public Library has the book club members each choose a book to lead a discussion on. This option changes the role of the library provided leader by reducing the amount of time preparing for the book club, providing the book club members control, but having an overall leader to make decisions. The Leesburg Public Library could also consider asking for a volunteer from the Friends of the Library to assist with book club leadership. This would be a significant job since there are two book clubs and a total of seventeen meetings. It's is appropriate that Marianne Beck Memorial Library provide a volunteer to lead because the Director is the only paid staff member. Leesburg Public Library has five on staff in the Adult Services and twenty-nine on staff overall, making it less appropriate to use a volunteer to run both book clubs (Director, personal communication, April 4, 2015; Adult Services Supervisor, personal communication, March 31, 2015).

References

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.

Town of Howey-in-the-Hills. (n.d.). The Marianne Beck Memorial Library. Retrieved from http://www.howey.org/index.asp?Type=B_DIR&SEC={248A8940-CF6D-44EA-B9C5-3AA174B62A3B}

United States Census Bureau. (2013). Annual Estimates of the Resident Population: April 1,2010 to July 1, 2013. [Data file]. Retrieved from http://factfinder.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?src=CF.

Spring 2015

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