INSC 554: Public Library Management and Services
4. Case-Study Analysis (10 Points)
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.
The Williamsburg Regional Library (WRL) developed a program in partnership with an elementary school, Head Start program and local Human Services to promote reading readiness and going to school readiness. The Head Start Program is a program developed by United States Department of Health and Human Services to provide services to low-income young children and their parents. The community partnership program developed by WRL is aimed to better fulfill the mission of WRL and meet the needs of community members.
4.2 For the PL under case-study, describe how the library represents, manages, and provides services related to your selected service/program.
The program includes a visual literacy program hosted by library staff in both the kindergarten and Head Start Classrooms, family literacy programs, and a week long kinder-camp for the Head Start graduates before school starts, and a parent resource center where parents can circulate items (American Library Association, 2015). The program is funded by library, schools and United States Department of Health and Human Services (ALA, 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.
The goal of the program is to promote reading readiness and going to school readiness for kindergarten students. Since the program is a partnership between Williamsburg Regional Library and Head Start elementary school, the targeted users of the program are kindergarteners.
The program does not involve users in service evaluations. However, feedbacks from users will benefit the future development for both the library and Head Start school. There are some suggestions about possible user assessment methods. First, although both parents and students are users in the program, parents could be the main evaluators of the service. They can compare their children's before and after-performance of the program. Besides, surveys and focus groups can be developed to evaluate the family literacy program. Parents could be asked whether they learned anything helpful in educating their child or whether they look forward to continuing participate literacy program and register their child for the camp and field trip to the library.
4.4 Analyze the effectiveness of the case-study PL in providing the services under study.
Since the program is only provided for a limited time period, the library didn't evaluate its effectiveness. However, compared to the Imagination Library, the program supported by WRL and its partners has several advantages. First, WRL's program strengthens the communication and bonding within the community. A variety of resources have been aggregated to provide services. Since the book from Imagination Library is mailed to children's home, it provides less chance for children and parents to read and enjoy books together, and thus not beneficial for community connections. Second, the Head Start program has been an early childhood education program for a long time and attracted many users (Office of Head Start, 2015). The partnership with the Head Start program enables the WRL to reach out for potential users. Parents and children who didn't use the library before the program are likely to do it when they find out the benefits of the library during the participation of the program. Third, early childhood education demands parents to be aware of its significance as well as to be equipped with the capabilities of facilitating the childhood development when accompanying children. WRL's program allows parents to have more knowledge about children's cognitive skills, children's behaviors and psychology and so on.
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.
Both of the programs evaluated in the case-study library and collaborating public library have a similar goal: to promote school readiness and enhance students' study performance. Besides, they both pay attention to users in low-income families. WRL's program is targeted at children in low-income families. The Dolly Parton's Imagination Library sends books to children in regardless of family income. Third, the users of these two programs are children. Fourth, both of the programs are supported by another institution or foundation other than the public library.
The two programs have several differences. The Imagination Library mails free books to children. Children and parents can enjoy and keep the books. The program provided by the WRL provides training programs and circulation services. The two programs are different in the nature of the services although the missions are similar. Moreover, the Imagination Library service has started from long time ago and will keep reaching out users, while the program provided by the WRL only sustains one year.
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 Dolly Parton's Imagination Library has been on for decades, while the WRL's partnership program is temporary, hence, user-centered assessment have different meanings for the library. For the Imagination Library, the user evaluation enables the program director to reconsider what works and what doesn't, to find out the potential needs of children and parents, to adjust book collections based on users' feedback. The nature of the WRL's partnership program determines that the user-centered assessment would have less impact on the program itself. Due to the time period of the program, many useful suggestions would not help enhance the program qualities. However, the WRL's program would help the library to advertise itself and attract more users in the future.
Williamsburg Regional Library. (N. D.). Retrieved from http://www.wrl.org/about-us/community-partnership-program
Head Start Program. (N. D.). Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Head_Start_Program
American Library Association. (2015). Retrieved from http://www.ala.org/alsc/schoolplcoop#special
U. S. Department of Health & Human Services. (2015). Retrieved from http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/ohs
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