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INSC 554 Public Library Management and Services

Project Assignments

1: The PL Context (10% of the total grade)

You will be assessing/evaluating a select service for a PL. This first activity asks you to assess the PL agency and its setting and discuss its mission, vision, and strategic activities in the context of potential service(s) to assess and evaluate. Provide answers to the following questions and identify issues about the context pertinent to user-centered assessment/evaluation.

Address these questions:

1.1 Identify your PL agency. Characterize the nature of the agency, its setting (size, system/branch, location, library governance, etc.), and the people who are employed in it. What kind of organization is it? What are its members like? What are its strengths and weaknesses?

1.2 Summarize the PL organization's mission, goals, and objectives.

1.3 Provide an analysis of the PL in terms of its rationale, vision, market, offerings, and capabilities (see Ch. 3, Matthews 2004, p. 29).

1.4 Describe the vision statement of the PL. What are the various roles that it performs? What are the PL's various service responses (see ASPL, p. 8-9).

1.5 Develop a sample PL Values Statement (see Ch. 3. Matthews 2004, p. 34-35).

1.6 List various strategic aims of the PL and at least three specific library strategies in relation to potential services to improve.

1.7 If you could develop/extend one PL service to help this organization to be more helpful, what would it be? Why?

2: Identification of the PL Users (15% of the total grade)

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. 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.

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.

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?

2.4 Provide a "SWOT" analysis of the community/users in terms of how they shape the nature of services in the PL?

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.

2.6 How might user-centered assessment/evaluation from its users help the PL organization be more successful in regard to specific service(s)?

3: Service to Assess/Evaluate (15% of the total grade)

3.1 Identify a specific service(s), program(s), collection(s), facilities, and/or other activities to assess/evaluate in your PL.

3.2 Describe the selected PL service. Analyze the selected PL service in relation to user-centered issues (who and how many users use the service, how often is the service used, strengths/weaknesses of the PL service, etc.).

3.3 Discuss the relative importance of this PL service. How much difference does it make in the success of your PL organization or in the quality of life in the community served by the agency?

3.4 Define the selected PL service you are assessing/evaluating by listing keywords that are associated with it. Which word(s) would you use in searching for information about this service? Tag the most productive subject term.

3.5 What are the existing ways that the PL provides information about the selected PL service? (in the physical library environment and on the web). Is there effective advertising/marketing of the PL service? Rank the ways that users find information about the selected PL service?

3.6 Discuss the interest users of the PL or other members of the community might have in this PL service. How much actual and potential demand exists for it? What events or sources are likely to stimulate interest in this PL service? What is the likely life of this interest?

3.7 Identify, evaluate, and come to a conclusion on alternative resources/agencies that provide such services. Where might potential users go for this service IF your PL did not exist and did not provide this service? To what degree do alternative sources minimize the need for such a service? Using appropriate alternative resources (both offline and online), indicate the degree to which affordable, useful, and recent resources provide similar services.

3.8 Reviewing the variables mentioned above, does it seem reasonable to gather user-centered feedback to assess/evaluate the selected PL service? Provide a strong justification statement.

4: Case-Study Analysis (15% of the total grade)

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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?

5: Developing an Evaluation Action Plan (20% of the total grade)

This assignment will help you prepare an evaluation by discussing various discrete activities in your proposed plan. For this assignment especially study Ch. 1 and Ch. 3-6 EMLS.

5.1 Develop a rationale to propose user-centered assessment/evaluation of the selected PL service. Assess the selected PL service carefully and explain your proposal in relation to participation of primary, secondary, and tertiary users identified in the earlier assignment.

5.2 Identify the problem (related to your selected service) in terms of: production bottlenecks; tasks that are performed frequently; activities that require frequent movement; and declining budgets.

5.3 Determine the scope of analysis in terms of what specific information/aspects about the selected PL service do you hope to gain by eliciting feedback from the PL users. In other words, what is the purpose for doing the evaluation? Is the library attempting to improve its operational efficiencies (internal focus), or is the study being done to better understand the effectiveness of a library service? Explain in detail.

5.4 Determine the kinds of data that you hope to gather (be specific). What evaluation methodology and design will be used (quantitative and/or qualitative methods: be very specific in the types of tools that will be employed)? How will data be collected?

5.5 Describe the user-centered assessment/evaluation strategies that you are proposing to conduct community analysis and gather feedback from users about the selected service at your PL. Identify and analyze what methods you will use to gather feedback from various kinds of users as a part of your efforts. How do you propose getting access/permissions to select users? Provide a timeline for implementing your proposed methods.

5.6 Share the data collecting instrument that you propose to use. Identify the qualitative and/or quantitative measures you propose to use (what aspects are you trying to measure). Provide strategies to gather consent (consent forms, assent forms as appropriate) and your data-collecting tool(s) with listed questions/prompts, etc. You can explore multiple research methods to gather user-centered assessment/evaluation of the selected service.

5.7 Provide strategies to maintain anonymity and confidentiality of users participating in your study (if appropriate).

5.8 Create a budget in terms of investment of resources (e.g., money, time, efforts, human input, etc.) to orchestrate user-centered assessment/evaluation of various kinds. Identify stages for orchestrating a plan for the PL (e.g., previous efforts made, current efforts, future efforts) and describe what will be feasible as part of your efforts in this course during this semester.

5.9 Determine the kinds of analysis you will do with the data collected. How do you plan to report the findings based on the data collected?

NOTE: The research protocols will not actually be submitted to the Office of Research since the assignments are for class activities and participant feedback will not be individually reported. Yet the process for completing the research protocols will create awareness of expectations and requirements that need to be completed for conducting research involving human subjects.

6: Collecting and Analyzing Data (25% of the total grade)

Conduct community analysis and implement your evaluation action plan to gather feedback from users about your selected PL service under study. Report in terms of the following: Summarize and report findings (question-by-question) based on data gathered while conducting user-centered assessment/evaluation about your selected PL service. If applicable, provide transcription of data collected as an appendix. (Provide other forms of data collected).

6.1 Critique and analyze data collected: Discuss and report user feedback about the PL service in terms of their needs and information experiences, availability and access, barriers/challenges faced in using the select service, kinds of benefits in using the service, suggestions for improving the service, etc.

6.2 Improvement strategies: Present a plan for improvement strategies to implement in relation to the selected service for the PL to follow based on the data that you collected during this study. Develop a categorization scheme for the improvement strategies under different headings as appropriate (e.g., web representation, training, marketing to users, etc.).

6.3 Report findings to your PL and provide feedback about their response to your findings.

6.4 Critique your process: Discuss and report your process while conducting user-centered assessment in your evaluation action plan and include your observations, what worked and did not work, obstacles and challenges, etc. Provide a discussion of the most interesting facts that emerged during the process.

6.5: User-Centered Assessment/Evaluation in PL Services

Based on your interactions and analysis of the collaboration with your PL throughout the semester, examine user-centered issues as they impact and were impacted by FOUR of the following (at least 100-150 words for each bulleted point listed below) For each, address these broadly in the context of your PL and in relation to the select service that you assessed/evaluated. Identify and justify each as liberating (TOP TWO) or limiting (TOP TWO) factor and provide evidence as justification of your response):

  • Library governance
  • Library identity (mission, vision, strategic aims, etc.)
  • Community analysis and needs assessment
  • Marketplace dynamics/advertising
  • Evaluation action plan
  • Assessment and evaluation methods
  • Personnel management
  • Finances
  • Policy development
  • Collections and collection management
  • Electronic resources and technology assessment
  • Technical services and reference services
  • Library systems and library networks
  • User instruction and customer services
  • Adult and/or youth services

7: Creating and Uploading Web Modules

All your assignments will be deposited via the assigned space on the class Blackboard site by the deadline identified in the syllabus. I will grade and give comments on your assignment via that space. After receiving my feedback you will make modifications to the original work and submit ALL your assignments in the web module format using the web template that we will discuss in class. In addition, the following is one more deadline to meet in this regard: By the end of Spring Break, each student will upload the web modules for the "test" activity and Assignment 1. 25% of each grade assignment will be deducted if its web module component is not deposited by the deadline via the discussed process.

NAMING OF WEB MODULES: For example, if you were to deposit the "Identification of PL Context" assignment (Assignment 1 as listed above) the following is the name of the file to deposit: [Your Net-ID].[Assignment Number].html

For example, bmehra.1.html 
[More information regarding naming of web modules will be shared during class]

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