Sunday, July 20, 2008

From Awareness to Funding Part II (The Probable Supporters)

The last post on the report on From Awareness to Funding (an OCLC report) focused on the first 60 pages. Those pages primarily discuss the non-supporters.

The next section covers the Probable Supporters. The Strong Supporters section, briefly mentioned, spoke of community members who strongly supported the library, but did not necessarily use the library extensively (it comes later). They understand the value of the library and the benefit to the community.

However, the Probable Supporters support the library because they use the library. The Four categories of probably supporters are:
Just for Fun
Kid Driven

Library as Office

Look to Librarians

Greater Good

"The Just for Fun respondents are the heaviest users of the library, reporting an average of 36 visits per year."p 71

"While the Just for Fun voters are the heaviest users of the library, they are the least likely of all Probable Supporters to vote in favor of an increase in library funding. p 71"

That matches the Financially Strapped as two categories of heavy library users that are the least likely in their categories to fund library initiatives. This group obviously favors the library and would support it in an election, but I wonder where the line is crossed for this group to go from supporter to non-supporter (the bad economy affects this). Furthermore, one identifies it as a need, but can't afford more, whereas the Just For Fun don't identify the library as a need, but a want.

"They see the library as a place to relax, hang out and socialize with others and recognize the library’s role as a community gathering place. However, they are not as emotionally connected to the library as other segments on the Probable Supporters tier and are less likely to support it financially. p 71"

Does that mean they like it, but consider it frivolous?

I have to say, I find it odd whenever respondents state the top thing they check-out are non-fiction titles when my circulation data states otherwise. (you'll see this pattern throughout)

In my library's master plan study, the results here were similar. The majority of people stated they checked-out non-fiction and used reference the most of any other service.
My stats say Fiction/Bestsellers and DVDs.

"The Just for Fun segment represents almost a quarter of all library visits (23.9%).p75"

This part was interesting:
"The Just for Fun segment has a greater awareness of what is available at the local public library than average for all voters. In particular, its members see the library’s Internet access as a big draw and they love to read. They have the same positive associations with the library that are common across all Probable Supporters segments but have less of an emotional connection than other segments on this tier. Compared to other Probable Supporters, Just for Fun respondents are less likely to see the library as a place that helps them improve intellectually, creatively or personally. The library is a place to hang out and socialize, and Just for Fun respondents value the library’s role as a community gathering place and social hub.p 76"

Does this mean library initiatives for making the library a community space creates high usage, but doesn't create any more support?

This seems to explain the the phenomenon I remarked on in the first part of this post. We have high usage, but funding comes a bit more slowly.

Is the community hub a bad idea if it doesn't translate into community support?

"The library is seen less by Just for Fun respondents as a place to better themselves intellectually, creatively or personally. p. 79"

Just for Fun respondents have a tendency to be uninvolved in the community, but make a point of voting in local elections. Their their voting habits tend to be liberal and respondents are the least likely Probable Supporters to definitely vote yes for a library referendum

"Kid Driven respondents visit the library more than average with 19 visits reported annually. They are typically accompanied by at least one child. They regularly check out materials for children and participate in the children’s programming. Kid Driven respondents are willing to support the library financially because of the role it plays in educating and inspiring their children to be the best that they can be. p 80"

"The Kid Driven voters are emotionally connected to the library, seeing it as offering an
exciting and diverse experience that inspires them and helped shape their identity.
They hope the library will do the same for their children. p. 85"

Back to the emotional connection discussion. They understand the power of the library to transform. The value their children's education and library's potential to help. Parents are some of the best advocates of the library. They can physically see the advantages demonstrated in their child's advancement.

The library as office segment takes advantage of the library's technology and resources. It "fulfills a practical function and is more about knowledge than a personal connection".

"Library as Office respondents are more likely than other segments to operate businesses or work in the same towns where they live. They have a tendency to live in smaller, rural towns across the Midwest. p89"

18 visits annually

"The Library as Office voters feel that they always leave the library having learned something new. Their connection to the library is practical rather than emotional and their ideal library would offer services tailored to the business user. p 93"

Library as office segment see the library as a resource; it has the tools they need. They are very knowledgeable and are aware of library tools with little or no assistance. They use the Internet because of limited access at home and like library environment. They like the learning environment. It's all practical, it's about information, but there is no personal connection.
There is no transformational connection.

Library as Office wants more business support. I liked this part, very detailed. This is a careful line to cross for libraries. If you are dedicated to small business support, the office resources provided to the public are critical, but are very time consuming and costly. In this case, the library duplicates some of the resources you can find at a local Office Max.

"The Ideal library: A resource for small businesses: Provides all of the resources a small business would need, including free temporary office space, computers with Internet access, phone, copier, scanner and fax machine. It would also provide access to online databases like ABI/Inform as well as other business-related resources like books about finances, marketing, etc. Resource for tax preparation: Provides tax forms, access to tax preparation resources and step-by-step guidance during tax season Workforce training center: Provides instructor-led classes on entrepreneurship, presentation skills, computer skills, sales generation, financial planning, marketing and other business-related topics in order to improve the workplace skills and marketability of community members" p 95

They are more likely to be Friends of the Library. (That explains the Friends support for me. Lot's of business buy tables, donate money, but may not come to dinner or library.)


"Look to Librarians voters have the foundation of a strong emotional relationship with the library and they see the library as a place where they can better themselves intellectually and feel like they belong. They also see the library as a place to escape from everyday life. p 97"

"...this is the only segment to rank public libraries as the number-one priority for an increase in taxes across all seven public services surveyed, outranking the police and fire departments and public schools. p 97

"Look to Librarians voters volunteer in their community and at the library and are active participants in local organizations. They have a long-standing and ongoing relationship with the library. This relationship has led to a strong emotional connection and a sense of belonging. p. 102"


Although this group uses the library infrequently with only 4.5 visits a year, its members believe that the library plays an important role in serving the needs of the community and can be a great source of pride.p. 107

The Greater Good respondents see the library as a noble and necessary institution, a source of pride in a community and a place that brings people together. They believe that the library turns people into thinkers and achievers instead of passive participants in life. p 112

This covers up to page 112. Part III will cover the rest and summarize.

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