PART II: SURVEY REPORT

In-Depth Evaluations

B. PUBLIC LIBRARY SURVEY

1. Survey Methodology

The public library survey was conducted in November-December 2001. Survey questionnaires were mailed to all of the 517 member libraries. Four hundred and twenty-two (422) libraries completed and returned the questionnaires, resulting in an 81.6 percent response rate. Data provided by member libraries were combined with data from the Public Library Annual Report database and analyzed:

  • Overall,
  • By Library System,
  • By size of legal service population,
  • By library's total operating expenditures, and
  • By primary area of service (i.e. urban, suburban or rural),

The responding libraries were associated with all ten Library Systems, as shown in the following table. The sample of responding libraries was representative of the population of member libraries in Texas.

Table II.B.1

Library System

Member Libraries (N=513)*

Responding Libraries (N=422)

Number

Percent

Number

Percent

Big Country Library System (BCLS)

37

7.2%

35

8.3%

Texas Panhandle Library System (TPLS)

28

5.4%

25

5.9%

Central Texas Library System (CTLS)

67

13.1%

57

13.5%

South Texas Library System (STLS)

52

10.1%

31

7.3%

Northeast Texas Library System (NETLS)

98

19.1%

79

18.7%

Texas Trans-Pecos Library System (TTPLS)

15

2.9%

14

3.3%

North Texas Regional Library System (NTRLS)

71

13.8%

61

14.5%

Houston Area Library System (HALS)

67

13.1%

54

12.8%

West Texas Library System (WTLS)

34

6.6%

27

6.4%

Alamo Area Library System (AALS)

44

8.6%

39

9.2%

* Source: Texas Public Library Statistics For 1999, Library Development Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission, 2000.

The response rate of member libraries was high overall although it varied across Systems. Member libraries associated with the South Texas Library System (STLS) had the lowest response rate: 60 percent. The response rate from member libraries associated with the other nine Library Systems ranged from 80 to 95 percent.

Table II.B.2

Library Systems

Member Libraries

Responding Libraries

Number

Percent

Big Country Library System (BCLS)

37

35

94.6%

Texas Panhandle Library System (TPLS)

28

25

89.3%

Central Texas Library System (CTLS)

67

57

85.1%

South Texas Library System (STLS)

52

31

59.6%

Northeast Texas Library System (NETLS)

98

79

80.6%

Texas Trans-Pecos Library System (TTPLS)

15

14

93.3%

North Texas Regional Library System (NTRLS)

71

61

85.9%

Houston Area Library System (HALS)

67

54

80.6%

West Texas Library System (WTLS)

34

27

79.4%

Alamo Area Library System (AALS)

44

39

88.6%

2. Library Operations

Seventy percent of the libraries reported that they primarily served rural areas, 18 percent served suburban areas, and nine percent served urban areas. More than two percent of the libraries indicated that they served a mix of areas.

Table II.B.3

Library Serves Primarily

Number of Libraries


(N=422)

Percent of


Libraries

Urban areas

38

9.0%

Suburban areas

76

18.0%

Rural areas

297

70.4%

Combination

10

2.4%

No answer

1

0.2%

Figure II.B.1

Graph based on the information in the table above.

More than 45 percent of the libraries did not have the information concerning the year they became Library System members. Over one-fifth of the libraries became members in the 1970s, nearly one-fifth became members in the 1980s, and 11 percent joined in the 1990s.

Table II.B.4

Library Became a Member of Library System

Number of Libraries (N=422)

Percent of Libraries

1960 - 1969

3

0.6%

1970 - 1979

91

21.6%

1980 - 1989

77

18.2%

1990 - 1999

46

10.9%

2000 - 2001

10

2.4%

Don't know

195

46.2%

Ninety-seven percent of the libraries had Internet connections, and nearly 80 percent provided their patrons with access to online databases. About three-quarters of the libraries had automated catalog and circulation systems. The availability of the library's automated catalog and circulation systems through the Internet were less common: 39 and 18 percent, respectively of the libraries had these capabilities.

Only 38 percent of the libraries reported that they had a long-range plan. More than 80 percent of these libraries reported that their long-range plan addressed future needs and specified how the library would respond to these trends.

Table II.B.5

Library Has

Number of Libraries (N=422)

Percent of Libraries

Automated catalog and circulation system

316

74.9%

Automated catalog available through the Internet

165

39.1%

Automated circulation system that is available through the Internet

78

18.5%

Internet connection

410

97.2%

Library provides access to online databases to end users

332

78.7%

Long-range plan

159

37.7%

Long-range plan addresses future trends

129

81.1%

One-quarter of the libraries reported that they were members of consortia. Most typically (57 percent), these libraries belonged to consortia of different types of libraries or to consortia involving public libraries only (41 percent).

Table II.B.6

Library Participation in Consortia

Number of Libraries

Percent of Libraries

Library is member of consortium

103

24.4%

Type of consortia

 

 

Public libraries only

40

40.8%

Multi-type libraries

56

57.1%

Other

7

6.8%

The type of consortia libraries identified are presented in the table below.

Table II.B.7

Type of Consortia

Number of Libraries (N=94)

Percent of Libraries

Academic, school, and public libraries

7

7.4%

TexShare

7

7.4%

Harrington Library Consortium*

17

18.1%

County consortium

21

22.3%

Public library consortium

20

21.3%

AMIGOS

5

5.3%

Community network of different types of organizations

3

3.2%

Public and school libraries

5

5.3%

Public and academic libraries

8

8.5%

Other

2

1.1%

* The Harrington Library Consortium is a multi-type network, composed of academic, school, and public libraries that serves 29 counties in the Panhandle. The consortium has a common database and a resource sharing agreement among users. The resource sharing agreement includes a universal card recognized by all member libraries. The consortium has a central site located on the Amarillo College campus. The college site maintains the system, provides hardware replacement and software upgrades as well as training to new member libraries.

Exclusive of being members in a consortium, public libraries collaborated on a regular basis with a variety of other libraries. For example, 77 percent of the libraries reported that they collaborated regularly with other public libraries. Nearly 55 percent indicated that they collaborated regularly with school libraries and 21 percent reported collaborating with academic libraries. Five percent of the libraries also collaborated regularly with special libraries.

Table II.B.8

Library Collaborated Regularly with:

Number of Libraries (N=422)

Percent of Libraries

Public libraries

327

77.5%

School libraries

229

54.3%

Academic libraries

88

20.8%

Special libraries (law, medicine, engineering)

22

5.2%

Other types of libraries

21

5.0%

Figure II.B.2

Figre II.B.2

Libraries collaborated in a variety of ways. Libraries borrowing materials from other libraries was the most common form of collaboration, identified by more than 63 percent of the libraries following by lending materials to libraries (43 percent). Forty percent of the libraries also mentioned reciprocal borrowing. About one-third of the libraries collaborated with other libraries by offering joint programs, classes or other activities. Nearly one-fifth of the libraries also shared electronic resources or other materials with other libraries.

Table II.B.9

Methods of Collaboration

Number of Libraries (N=422)

Percent of Libraries

Reciprocal borrowing

170

40.3%

Borrow materials from libraries

267

63.3%

Lend materials to libraries

183

43.4%

Share electronic resources or other materials

72

17.1%

Union Catalog

30

7.1%

Courier services

51

12.1%

Coordinate or offer joint programs, classes or other activities

136

32.2%

Coordinate services for students

15

3.5%

Share information, advice, meet regularly

17

4.0%

Other

14

3.3%

Libraries served a wide range of populations in their service area. About one-quarter of the libraries reported serving older adults, bilingual/ESL patrons, and low-income residents. One-fifth of the libraries also identified rural residents and youth among their constituencies. Nearly one-fifth of the libraries also identified low literate adults and people with disabilities as service populations.

Table II.B.10

Populations Served by Libraries

Number of Libraries (N=422)

Percent of Libraries

Low-income

103

24.4%

Bilingual/ESL/LEP

106

25.1%

Older adults

111

26.3%

Early childhood, new mothers

62

14.0%

Youth

88

20.8%

People with disabilities

75

17.8%

Rural residents

93

22.0%

Urban, inner city residents

24

5.7%

Low literate adults

74

17.5%

Intergenerational groups

30

7.1%

The majority of libraries that reported serving these population groups indicated that their patrons were satisfied with the services the library provided to them, as shown in the table below. Sixty-five percent of the libraries that served bilingual/ESL populations and 74 percent of the libraries that served low-income populations reported that their patrons were satisfied with the services the libraries provided. For all other service populations, 80 percent or more of the libraries reported that their patrons were satisfied with the services the libraries provided.

Table II.B.11

Satisfaction of Populations Served by Libraries*

Number of Libraries Serving

Satisfied Populations*

Number of Libraries

Percent of Libraries

Low-income

103

76

73.8%

Bilingual/ESL/LEP

106

69

65.1%

Older adults

111

108

97.3%

Early childhood, new mothers

62

62

100.0%

Youth

88

85

96.6%

People with disabilities

75

67

89.3%

Rural residents

93

91

97.8%

Urban, inner city residents

24

20

83.3%

Low literate adults

74

61

82.4%

Intergenerational groups

30

30

100.0%

* Includes libraries who rated their patrons' satisfaction 8, 9, or 10 on the 10-point satisfaction scale.

3. Services Provided by Library Systems

Libraries receive a wide range of services from their respective Library System, as shown in the table below. Services that the Library Systems provide range from funding, to training, continuing education, and purchasing of hardware, software, other equipment, and materials. Among the services listed, nearly all libraries report that their Library Systems provide:

  • Funds for collection development (98 percent).
  • Continuing education services to library staff (97 percent).
  • Staff training in the management and use of electronic resources (88 percent).

Other common services that the Library Systems provide include:

  • Consulting (77 percent).
  • Assistance with reference questions (74 percent).
  • Training and helping staff with grant writing (70 percent).
Table II.B.12

Services Library Received from Library System

Number of Libraries (N=422)

Percent of Libraries

Funds for collection development: books and other materials

415

98.3%

Funds for library video collection operation

198

46.9%

Funds for computers

161

38.1%

Funds for installing an Internet connection

68

16.1%

Funds for upgrading the library's Internet connection

64

15.2%

Training library staff in the management and use of electronic resources

373

88.4%

Training and helping library staff to write grants, assistance with grant writing

289

70.3%

Training library staff in the development of long-range plans

186

44.1%

Purchasing for the library (or assisting with the purchasing of) video and teleconferencing/distance learning equipment)

52

12.3%

Purchasing and upgrading library's hardware and software

131

31.0%

Purchasing equipment for accessing electronic resources

72

17.1%

Purchasing office and other equipment for library

153

36.2%

Funding bilingual/ESL and literacy projects

104

24.6%

Funding projects serving youth

92

21.8%

Funding projects serving older adults

129

30.6%

Funding projects to serve people with disabilities

74

17.5%

Providing funds for planning projects

56

13.3%

Providing funds for library automation projects

72

17.1%

Assistance with reference questions

311

73.7%

Continuing education services for staff

408

96.7%

Continuing education services for library advisory board

184

43.6%

Consulting services

327

77.5%

Repair, maintain, and support technology

12

2.8%

Overall, libraries expressed a high level of satisfaction with the services that their respective Library System provided. Libraries ranked their satisfaction level on a 10-point satisfaction scale that ranged from "1 - very dissatisfied" to "10 - very satisfied." The following table shows the number of libraries that received specific services and the number and percent of libraries that rated their level of satisfaction 8, 9, or 10. Sixty-one percent or more of the libraries receiving specific services were satisfied with the services they received. Libraries expressed the highest level of satisfaction with the following services;

  • Assistance with reference questions (89 percent).
  • Continuing education services for library staff (88 percent). � Consulting services (86 percent).
  • Continuing education services for library advisory board (81 percent).
  • Training library staff in the management and use of electronic resources (79 percent).
  • Funding projects serving older adults (79 percent).
  • Funds for collection development: books and other materials (78 percent).
  • Funds for library video collection operation (78 percent).
  • Providing funds for library automation projects (75 percent).
Table II.B.13

Libraries Satisfied with Following Services Received from Library System*

Responding Libraries

Number of Libraries

Percent of Libraries

Funds for collection development: books and other materials

412

321

77.9%

Funds for library video collection operation

183

142

77.6%

Funds for computers

146

106

72.6%

Funds for installing an Internet connection

62

40

64.5%

Funds for upgrading the library's Internet connection

61

40

65.6%

Training library staff in the management and use of electronic resources

363

288

79.3%

Training and helping library staff to write grants, assistance with grant writing

269

197

73.2%

Training library staff in the development of long-range plans

171

120

70.2%

Purchasing for the library (or assisting with the purchasing of) video and teleconferencing/distance learning equipment

46

28

60.9%

Purchasing and upgrading library's hardware and software

118

82

69.5%

Purchasing equipment for accessing electronic resources

65

48

73.8%

Purchasing office and other equipment for library

143

103

72.0%

Funding bilingual/ESL and literacy projects

97

72

74.2%

Funding projects serving youth

87

62

71.3%

Funding projects serving older adults

118

92

78.0%

Funding projects to serve people with disabilities

69

45

65.2%

Providing funds for planning projects

52

38

73.1%

Providing funds for library automation projects

64

49

75.5%

Assistance with reference questions

302

269

89.1%

Continuing education services for staff

391

345

88.2%

Continuing education services for library advisory board

175

141

80.6%

Consulting services

317

272

85.8%

* Libraries that ranked their satisfaction level as 8, 9, or 10 on a 10-point satisfaction scale.

The high level of libraries' satisfaction with the services they received from their respective Library Systems is shown in the mean scores listed in the table below. Mean scores ranged from 7.57 to 9.11.

Table II.B.14

Mean Satisfaction With Following Services Received from Library System*

Mean Scores

Funds for collection development: books and other materials

8.67

Funds for library video collection operation

8.49

Funds for computers

8.39

Funds for installing an Internet connection

8.31

Funds for upgrading the library's Internet connection

8.05

Training library staff in the management and use of electronic resources

8.55

Training and helping library staff to write grants, assistance with grant writing

8.33

Training library staff in the development of long-range plans

8.19

Purchasing for the library (or assisting with the purchasing of) video and teleconferencing/distance learning equipment

7.57

Purchasing and upgrading library's hardware and software 8.16 Purchasing equipment for accessing electronic resources

8.29

Purchasing office and other equipment for library 8.34 Funding bilingual/ESL and literacy projects 8.39 Funding projects serving youth

8.16

Funding projects serving older adults

9.51

Funding projects to serve people with disabilities

8.22

Providing funds for planning projects

8.35

Providing funds for library automation projects

8.59

Assistance with reference questions

9.11

Continuing education services for staff

8.98

Continuing education services for library advisory board

8.73

Consulting services

8.98

A small number of library directors expressed dissatisfaction. Library directors who were not satisfied with the services they received from their respective Library System gave the following reasons:

  • The system was difficult to access; processes associated with the System were too time consuming, cumbersome and restrictive. (N=8)
  • Library needed more assistance and better information on grant writing and grant resources. (N=7)
  • System was not too helpful or supportive. (N=4)
  • Library needed money for collection development. (N=4)
  • Training has been poor and disorganized. (N=3)

4. Impact of Services Provided by Library Systems

Library Systems have had a significant impact on member libraries. On average, libraries regard their Library System as helpful in meeting their needs. Nearly 90 percent of the libraries report that their respective Library System has been either "very helpful" or "helpful." Four percent of the libraries reported that their Library System was of little or no help or were unsure of the quality of the help their library received.

Table II.B.15

Helpfulness of Library System in Meeting Libraries' Needs

Number of


Libraries


(N=422)

Percent of


Libraries

Very helpful

288

68.2%

Helpful

85

20.1%

Moderately helpful

28

6.6%

Of little help

13

3.1%

Not at all helpful

2

0.5%

Unsure

2

0.5%

No answer

4

0.9%

Mean*

1.47

 

* Mean was calculated on a 5-point scale where "very helpful" was counted as "1" and "not at all helpful" was counted as "5."

Figure II.B.3

Figure II.B.3

Thirty-two to 61 percent of the libraries reported that their respective Library System helped them "to a great extent" to improve their collection (61 percent), the quality of services (43 percent), technology (43 percent), management (42 percent), operations (40 percent), and the range of services (37 percent). One-third of the libraries also indicated that the assistance they received from their respective Library System gave them the ability to serve individuals they were not able to serve previously.

Between nine and thirty percent of the libraries reported that the Library System helped them "a little" or "not at all" in these different areas. Thirty percent of the libraries indicated that their Library System was not helpful in giving them the capability to serve individuals not previously served. More than 20 percent did not receive adequate help in the areas of planning (26 percent), expanding their range of services (24 percent), improving technology (21 percent), and improving management (20 percent). Nearly 20 percent stated that the services they received from their Library System did not help them improve the quality of services (18 percent) or their operations (18 percent).

Table II.B.16

Library:*

Extent to which Library System Helped Library Improve

To A Great Extent

To A Moderate Extent

To A Minor Extent

Not At All

#

%

#

%

#

%

#

%

Collection

259

61.4%

114

27.0%

38

9.0%

2

0.5%

Technology

181

42.9%

130

30.8%

64

15.2%

23

5.5%

Operations

167

39.6%

153

36.3%

52

12.3%

25

5.9%

Management

178

42.2%

138

32.7%

55

13.0%

31

7.3%

Planning

166

39.3%

114

27.0%

74

17.5%

36

8.5%

Range of Service

157

37.2%

135

32.0%

68

16.1%

33

7.8%

Quality of Services

182

43.1%

138

32.7%

58

13.7%

18

4.3%

Ability to serve individuals not served before

140

33.2%

128

30.3%

73

17.3%

54

12.8%

* No answer is not shown.

As shown in the table below, libraries considered their Library System most instrumental in improving their collection and least instrumental in helping them expand their services to individuals not served previously.

Table II.B.17

Library

Extent of Improvement*


Mean Scores

Collection

1.47

Technology

1.82

Operations

1.84

Management

1.85

Planning

1.95

Range of service

1.94

Quality of services

1.78

Ability to serve individuals not served before

2.10

* Means were based on a 4-point improvement scale where "1" referred to "to a great extent" and "4" referred to "not at all."

Figure II.B.4

Graph of the information in the table above.

Member libraries identified multiple benefits they derived from their membership in a Library System. The benefits libraries identified consisted of greater knowledge and resources which, in turn, helped libraries meet their communities' current, future, and special needs. Most commonly, member libraries credited their respective Library System with:

  • Increasing their staff's knowledge and competence of library management and operations (85 percent).
  • Having a materials collection that was current, broad in scope and could better meet community needs (77 percent).
  • Enabling the library to better utilize new technology and resources to serve the community (74 percent).
  • Enabling the library to offer enhanced access to a variety of information (73 percent).
  • Helping the library obtain additional funding and other resources to improve services (69 percent).

Through the services that the Library Systems provided, 55 percent of the libraries also reported that they were able to plan services to meet the future needs of the community and 36 percent were able to offer programs to meet the needs of special populations.

Table II.B.18

Major Benefits Library Derived from Membership in Library System

Number of Libraries


(N=422)

Percent of Libraries

Offered programs to meet the needs of special populations

154

36.5%

Increased staff's knowledge and competence of library management and operations

359

85.1%

Have a current materials collection that is broad in scope and can better meet community needs

326

77.2%

Library is better able to utilize new technology and resources to service the community

312

73.9%

Library offers enhanced access to a variety of information

308

73.0%

Library is able to obtain additional funding and other resources to improve services

292

69.2%

Library is able to plan services to meet the future needs of the community

231

54.7%

Consulting, advice, information sharing

15

3.5%

Part Two, Section Two A | Part Two, Section Two C

Page last modified: March 2, 2011