ERIC Number: ED532600
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2008
Reference Count: N/A
From Awareness to Funding: A Study of Library Support in America. A Report to the OCLC Membership
OCLC Online Computer Library Center, Inc.
The Online Computer Library Center (OCLC) received a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to conduct research, develop strategies, create materials and evaluate the potential of marketing and communications programs to sustain and increase funding for U.S. public libraries. The quantitative study targeted two audiences: residents in U.S. communities of populations less than 200,000 and elected officials in the United States. More than 90% of all U.S. public libraries serve communities with populations of 200,000 or less. The study was intentionally designed to capture and analyze the attitudes, behaviors and opinions of residents in these communities. The objectives of the quantitative research survey were twofold: (1) To create a market segmentation analysis of the U.S. voting population that identifies which segments of voters are the most likely to generate increased support for U.S. public libraries. The segmentation study was designed to help uncover the underlying motivations and attitudes toward libraries that are indicative and predictive of their level of support for library funding; and (2) To understand the attitudes and behaviors of elected and appointed officials about libraries in general, the library's importance to the community and how those attitudes impact the officials' willingness to support local library funding. There were eight important findings derived from the quantitative research: (1) Most people claim they would support the library at the ballot box--fewer are firmly committed to it; (2) There is a lot that people don't know about their public library; (3) Library support is only marginally related to visitation. Advocating for library support to library users focuses effort and energy on the wrong target group; (4) Perceptions of the librarian are highly related to support. "Passionate librarians" who are involved in the community make a difference; (5) The library occupies a very clear position in people's minds as a provider of practical answers and information. This is a very crowded space, and to remain relevant in today's information landscape, repositioning will be required; (6) Belief that the library is a transformational force in people's lives is directly related to their level of funding support; (7) Increasing support for libraries may not necessarily mean a trade-off of financial support for other public services; and (8) Elected officials are supportive of the library--but not fully committed to increasing funding. Engaging Probable Supporters and Super Supporters to help elevate library funding needs is required. Appended are: (1) Glossary; (2) About the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Leo Burnett USA; and (3) About OCLC. (Contains 6 footnotes.)
Descriptors: Public Libraries, Statistical Analysis, Library Services, Financial Support, Public Opinion, Surveys, Attitude Measures, Motivation, Public Officials, Voting, Librarians, Beliefs, Users (Information), Advocacy, Marketing
OCLC Online Computer Library Center, Inc. 6565 Kilgour Place, Dublin, OH 43017. Tel: 800-848-5878; Fax: 614-764-6096; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Web site: http://www.oclc.org
Publication Type: Numerical/Quantitative Data; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
Authoring Institution: OCLC Online Computer Library Center, Inc.
Identifiers - Location: United States