Evaluating Improvements of the Public Library in Reading Environment and Facility

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Realizing the importance of the environment and facilities in the public library, the Ministry of Education passed a four-year project entitled “Upgrading the Reading Environment and Facilities in the Public Library”("the Project", hereafter) in 2009 with the goal of providing a comfortable reading and life-learning environment to the public by improving the environment of the public library and combining it with the resources of the surrounding areas. This paper aims at evaluating the practical outcomes of the Project for the years 2009 and 2010 in terms of the execution of these libraries, and library patrons’ degree of satisfaction with library services and facilities.
The study is both a qualitative and quantitative investigation of the 77 libraries included in the Project for the years 2009 and 2010, by which time the upgrading of the reading environment and facilities had been completed. Among the 77 libraries, 76 directors (and librarians) of the 77 libraries were interviewed; library patrons who had been using the 77 libraries both before and after the improvements took part in a survey during the period between August 10 and October 7, 2011; a total of 5,369 samples were collected and validated.

The following conclusions are drawn from the analysis of the interviews and the collected samples:
1. Library patrons were more satisfied with five aspects of the public library, including library personnel, service, the collection, the facilities, and the environment, after the improvements than before.
2. Both of the frequency of visiting the library per library patron and the duration per visit to the library increased significantly.
3. Concerning improvements made to the public library, patrons were more satisfied with the following three areas than others: the children’s reading area, the restrooms, and the study area.
4. practical effects of the improvement project, mainly on the repairs to the exterior, the entrance, and the children’s reading area, matched the needs of library patrons.
5. “Improvement of the reading environment” elicited positive comments after the “Upgrading the Reading Environment and the Facilities in the Public Library” project was implemented.
6. After the improvement of the reading environment and the facilities, the library made appropriate changes to its “service policy” and “administration and patron services”.

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Evaluating Improvements of the Public Library in Reading Environment and Facility

  1. 1. Evaluating Improvements of the Public Library in Reading Environment and Facility 柯皓仁 (Hao-Ren Ke)clavenke@ntnu.edu.twGraduate Institute of Library and Information Studies,National Taiwan Normal University 1
  2. 2. OutlineIntroductionResearch methodologyFindings – interviewFindings – questionnaireConclusions and suggestions 2
  3. 3. INTRODUCTION 3
  4. 4. Project for Public Library InnovationSubsidized by Ministry of Education (MOE)Project Duration: 2009-2012Subprojects Project for Improving Reading Environment and Facilities of Public Libraries in Taiwan (the Project)  Renovate space and facility Focus of this study  Coordinated by National Taichung Library Project for Reading Promotion and Collection Improvement of Public Libraries in Taiwan  Strengthen public libraries’ collections / foster reading by activities and cooperation  Coordinated by National Taiwan Library 4
  5. 5. Renovation Achievements 5
  6. 6. Renovation Achievements 6
  7. 7. Renovation Achievements 7
  8. 8. Renovation Achievements 8
  9. 9. Renovation Achievements 9
  10. 10. Renovation Achievements 10
  11. 11. Research GoalsFrom 2009 to 2010, a total of 83 publiclibraries in Taiwan received subsidies fromMOE to execute the ProjectResearch Goals Patrons from 77 of the 83 libraries were investigated to understand their satisfaction about the improvement of libraries Directors/librarians of these were interviewed to understand their opinions about the ProjectThis presentation only shows portions of thewhole research 11
  12. 12. RESEARCH METHODOLOGY 12
  13. 13. Research MethodologyDirectors/librarians 76 directors/librarians were interviewedPatrons Questionnaire A total of 5,369 effective samples were gathered during the period from 10 August to 7 October, 2011 Only the patrons who had visited the libraries before and after the improvement were investigated 13
  14. 14. Questionnaire DesignFive constructs – each construct has severalquestions Librarians, Services, Collections, Facilities, and EnvironmentFor each question in the five constructs Perception on the importance Satisfaction level before the improvement Satisfaction level after the improvement Use 5-point Likert Scale to measure 14
  15. 15. FINDINGS – INTERVIEW 15
  16. 16. Renovated Space – the Outdoor Library Percentage Outdoor Library Libraries (%) Entrance imagery 36 47.37 Barrier-free access for the disabled 20 26.32 Outdoor reading area 12 15.79 Others 29 38.16 16
  17. 17. Outdoor Library 17
  18. 18. Renovated Space – the Library Interior PercentageLibrary Interior Libraries (%)Children reading area 65 85.53Book-stack area 55 72.37Network information center 51 67.11Restroom 50 65.79Journal、newspaper、magazine area 49 64.47New book display 48 63.16Self-study room 45 59.21Bookstart area 41 53.95Office 40 52.63Multi-purpose instruction room 32 42.11Audio-visual area 24 31.58Teen reading room 20 26.32Breastfeeding room 17 22.37Elderly-patron reading room 14 18.42Exhibition space 13 17.11Others 20 26.32 18
  19. 19. Library Interior 19
  20. 20. Renovated Facilities Percentage(Renovated Facility Libraries %)Book shelves 63 82.89Information desk / Service counter 59 77.63Reading desks/chairs 55 72.37Way-finding facility 45 59.21Computer equipment 37 48.68Others 23 30.26 20
  21. 21. Renovated Facilities 21
  22. 22. Effects after ImprovementImprovement of reading atmosphere Lighting, landscape, partition, allocation of reading desks and chairs, the installation of air conditionersImprovement of way-finding strategy Layout redesign, direction indicatorsEasiness to organize activitiesIncreasing the library visits of childrenImprovement of restrooms 22
  23. 23. Service RenovationSpace and facility improvement leads toservice renovation Service policy  Extend service hours  Amend loan rule  Draw up rules for space and facility utilization Administration and patron service  Single service point  Organize more activities (41.2% increase)  Increase service items and manpower (volunteers) 23
  24. 24. FINDINGS -- QUESTIONNAIRE 24
  25. 25. Sample BackgroundsSex: male (41.2%), female (58.8%)Geographic location: north (30.9%), east(26.5%), middle (22.4%), south (20.3%)Age Percentage Ages Sample (%) <= 12 403 7.5 13 – 19 1,652 30.8 20 – 29 1,013 18.9 30 – 39 938 17.5 40 – 49 818 15.3 50 – 59 384 7.2 60 – 69 117 2.2 >= 70 28 0.5 25
  26. 26. Sample Backgrounds (Cont.)Education Percentage Education Samples (%) Primary school 440 8.5 Middle school 762 14.8 High school 1,505 29.2 University 2,255 43.7 Graduate 200 3.9Occupation Students (46.5%), military personnel/government employee/teacher (12.5%), housewife /househusband (9.6%), un-employed (5.8%) 26
  27. 27. Visit Frequency per Month Before AfterFrequency improvement improvement Samples % Samples %< 1 time 792 14.8 280 5.21 – 5 times 2935 54.7 2383 44.46 – 10 times 788 14.7 940 17.511 – 15 times 359 6.7 599 11.216 – 20 times 344 6.4 814 15.2> 21 times 151 2.7 353 6.5 Mean t p Before After Frequency 1.44 2.06 -39.114 0.000*** 27
  28. 28. Duration of Each Library Visit Before After Duration Improvement Improvement Samples % Samples % < 1 hour 1389 26.1 451 8.4 1 – 2 hours 1737 32.7 1390 26.0 2 – 3 hours 1131 21.3 1513 28.3 3 – 5 hours 605 11.4 1094 20.5 > 5 hours 455 8.5 900 16.8 Mean t p Before After Duration 2.44 3.11 -47.969 0.000*** 28
  29. 29. Most Frequently-Used Areas PercentagesAreas Samples (%)Book-stack area 3550 26.1Self-study room 2363 17.4Journal、newspaper、magazine area 1765 13.0Network information center 1267 9.3Children reading area 1036 7.6Restroom 943 6.9New book display 899 6.6Teen reading room 495 3.6Exhibition space 383 2.8Bookstart area 342 2.5Audio-visual area 227 1.7Multi-purpose instruction room 131 1.0Elderly-patron reading room 93 0.7Meeting room 53 0.4Breastfeeding room 12 0.1Others 38 0.3 29
  30. 30. Librarians SatisfactionLibrarians Importance Before After1-1 are consistently courteous 4.28 3.65 4.201-2 have good service efficiency 4.23 3.67 4.191-3 are willing to help users 4.29 3.70 4.211-4 understand the user needs 4.07 3.56 4.091-5 have the knowledge to answer 3.95 3.58 4.09 questionOverall 4.16 3.63 4.16 A paired t-test shows significant difference before and after improvement 30
  31. 31. Importance-Performance Analysis (IPA) Satisfaction Keep up the Possible Overkill good workMean Importance Concentrate Low Priority here 31
  32. 32. IPA for Librarian Construct 32
  33. 33. Services SatisfactionServices Importance Before After2-1 circulation rules/policies 4.27 3.67 4.252-2 reference service 4.12 3.66 4.192-3 activities 3.92 3.56 4.17Overall 4.10 3.63 4.20A paired t-test shows significant difference before and after improvement 33
  34. 34. IPA for Service Construct 34
  35. 35. Collections SatisfactionCollections meet my need Importance Before After3-1 Books 4.21 3.58 4.163-2 Newspapers and magazines 4.01 3.63 4.173-3 Audio-visual materials 3.79 3.46 4.053-4 Electronic resources 3.87 3.48 4.093-5 Local archives 3.74 3.50 4.033-6 Children collection 3.74 3.59 4.16Overall 3.89 3.54 4.11 A paired t-test shows significant difference before and after improvement 35
  36. 36. IPA for Collection Construct 36
  37. 37. Facilities SatisfactionFacility meets my need Importance Before After4-1 Reading desks/chairs 4.23 3.49 4.234-2 Computer equipment 4.02 3.44 4.164-3 Photocopy and print 3.83 3.44 4.054-4 Temperature 4.32 3.59 4.224-5 Lighting 4.42 3.67 4.344-6 Way-finding facility 4.18 3.61 4.224-7 Information desk / Service 4.11 3.65 4.24 counter4-8 Book shelves 4.07 3.59 4.20Overall 4.15 3.56 4.21 A paired t-test shows significant difference before and after improvement 37
  38. 38. Renovated Facilities, Importance, Satisfaction Libraries SatisfactionRenovated facility Importance (%) afterBook shelves 63(82.89%) 4.07 4.20Information desk / 59(77.63%) 4.11 4.24Service counterReading desks/chairs 55(72.37%) 4.23 4.23Way-finding facility 45(59.21%) 4.18 4.22Computer equipment 37(48.68%) 4.02 4.16 38
  39. 39. IPA for Facility Construct 39
  40. 40. Environment SatisfactionEnvironment Importance Before After5-1 Proper routing 4.12 3.49 4.205-2 Quiet reading environment 4.44 3.53 4.135-3 Clean and cozy 4.46 3.59 4.375-4 Ordered shelves 4.33 3.56 4.225-5 Barrier-free access for the 4.21 3.48 4.17 disabled5-6 Book-stack area 4.33 3.57 4.195-7 Network information center 4.12 3.45 4.165-8 Journal、newspaper、 4.11 3.55 4.20 magazine area5-9 Self-study room 4.29 3.53 4.235-10 Audio-visual area 3.91 3.46 4.10 A paired t-test shows significant difference before and after improvement 40
  41. 41. Environment (Cont.) SatisfactionEnvironment Importance Before After5-11 New book display 4.16 3.49 4.225-12 Bookstart area 3.93 3.46 4.215-13 Children reading area 4.04 3.53 4.275-14 Teen reading room 4.08 3.55 4.225-15 Elderly-patron reading room 3.95 3.51 4.175-16 Exhibition space 3.91 3.52 4.205-17 Multi-purpose instruction 3.94 3.50 4.19 room5-18 Restroom 4.36 3.42 4.265-19 Breastfeeding room 3.74 3.29 4.04Overall 4.13 3.50 4.20 A paired t-test shows significant difference before and after improvement 41
  42. 42. IPA for Environment Construct 42
  43. 43. CONCLUSIONS ANDSUGGESTIONS 43
  44. 44. ConclusionLibrary patrons were more satisfied with five aspectsof the public library, including librarians, services,collections, facilities, and space and environment,after the improvements than beforeThe frequency of library visit and the duration of eachvisit were increased significantly after theimprovementConcerning improvements made to the public library,patrons were more satisfied with the following threeareas than others: children reading area, therestrooms, and self-study room 44
  45. 45. Conclusion (Cont.)The practical effects of the improvement project,mainly on the renovation to the exterior, the entrance,and the children’s reading area, matched the needs oflibrary patrons “Improvement of reading atmosphere” elicitedpositive comments after the Project was implementedAfter the improvement of the reading environmentand the facilities, the library made appropriatechanges to its “service policy” and “administration andpatron services”. 45
  46. 46. Suggestions for MOEThe MOE should continue supporting the Project andother projects related to the development of publiclibraries (Phase two from 2013).The MOE should set up the overall strategy(according to the IPA analysis) for the development ofpublic libraries.When the MOE attempts to initiate new projects, theMOE should ask public libraries to conduct usersatisfaction survey before and after the conduction ofthe new projects.The MOE should put into effect the evaluation ofpublic libraries gradually. 46
  47. 47. Suggestions for National TaichungLibrary and Cultural Affairs Department of counties and cities The NTL should conduct the training courses on core competence relative to the Project (such as procument law and knowledge on construction) for libraries. The NTL and Cultural Affairs Department of counties and cities should organize benchmark library visiting and related training courses. The NTL and Cultural Affairs Department of counties and cities should discussion with MOE on library evaluation. 47
  48. 48. Suggestions for public libraries and local governmentsLocal governments should exert their strengthto support the development of public libraries.Public libraries should continuously improvereading environment, equipment and services.Public libraries should use other libraries’experience as reference to upgrade readingenvironment, equipment and services.Public libraries should conduct SWOT andIPA analysis and set up the strategy for thedevelopment. 48
  49. 49. A FINAL NOTE… 49
  50. 50. Facebook Page for a BIG Reading Room in a SMALL Village/Town 50
  51. 51. Acknowledgement本論文為國立臺中圖書館委託執行之「公共圖書館閱讀環境與設備升級計畫成效評估及讀者滿意度調查」計畫案部分成果。感謝於執行「公共圖書館閱讀環境與設備升級計畫成效評估及讀者滿意度調查」計畫案過程中各專家委員及國立台中圖書館同仁所提供之專業意見。感謝「公共圖書館閱讀環境與設備升級計畫成效評估及讀者滿意度調查」計畫案之協同主持人謝建成教授與謝吉隆教授,以及參與本計畫案執行之國立臺灣師範大學圖書資訊學研究所專案助理與研究生。 51
  52. 52. THANK YOU FOR LISTENING 52

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