PART II: SURVEY REPORT

In-Depth Evaluations

D. LEGAL SERVICE POPULATION

Survey data were combined with corresponding data from the Public Library Annual Report database and three groups of analyses were conducted based on the classification of libraries by size of the legal service population, libraries' operating expenditures, and primary area of service. The results of these analyses were consistent: libraries with small legal service populations, low operating expenditures, and primarily serving rural areas were greatly more dependent on the Library Systems and benefited to a greater extent from services the Library Systems provided. This section of the report includes the analysis by legal service population. The analyses by operating expenditures and primary service area are included in Appendix B and C.

Libraries were classified into three groups based on the size of their service population. The size of libraries' legal service population ranged from 1,093 to 1,786,691. Libraries' legal service populations were classified into:

  • Small: less than 10,000 people
  • Medium: between 10,000 and 49,999 people
  • Large: 50,000 or more people

Data were available for 417 libraries. Fifty-eight percent of the libraries were associated with small legal service populations; 31 percent were associated with medium legal service populations; and 11 percent were associated with large legal service populations.

Table II.D.1

Legal Service Population

Number of Libraries

Percent of Libraries

Small

243

58.3%

Medium

129

30.9%

Large

45

10.8%

Figure II.D.1

Graph of the data in table II.D.1

The Library Systems represented different mixes of libraries with small, medium and large populations. For example, BCLS has the largest percent of libraries with small legal service populations (86 percent). STLS (42 percent) had the smallest percent of such libraries. STLS and HALS, on the other hand, had the largest percent of libraries with large legal service populations (20 percent). TPLS had only four percent of its libraries serving large legal service populations.

Table II.D.2

Library Systems

Number of Libraries

Size of Legal Service Population

Small


(N=243)

Medium (N=129)

Large


(N=45)

#

%

#

%

#

%

BCLS

35

30

85.7%

3

8.6%

2

5.7%

TPLS

25

18

72.0%

6

24.0%

1

4.0%

CTLS

56

31

55.4%

20

35.7%

5

8.9%

STLS

31

13

41.9%

12

38.17%

6

19.4%

NETLS

78

41

52.6%

30

38.5%

7

9.0%

TTPLS

14

10

71.4%

3

21.4%

1

7.1%

NTRLS

60

32

53.3%

19

31.7%

9

15.0%

HALS

54

25

46.3%

19

35.2%

10

18.5%

WTLS

27

19

70.4%

6

22.2%

2

7.4%

AALS

37

24

64.9

11

29.7%

2

5.4%

Areas with small legal service populations were predominantly rural (89 percent), while areas with medium legal service populations were divided between rural (59 percent) and suburban areas (30 percent). Areas with large service populations were divided between urban (47 percent) and suburban (40 percent) areas.

Table II.D.3

Libraries' Primary Areas of Service

Size of Legal Service Population

Small


(N=243)

Medium (N=129)

Large


(N=45)

#

%

#

%

#

%

Urban

5

2.1%

11

8.6%

21

46.7%

Suburban

19

7.8%

38

29.7%

18

40.0%

Rural

216

88.9%

75

58.6%

3

6.7%

Other

3

1.2%

4

3.1%

3

6.7%

1. Library Operations

The size of libraries' legal service populations was significantly associated with libraries' level of automation. Overall, libraries serving larger legal service populations were more automated than libraries serving smaller legal service populations. Ninety-five percent or more of all libraries had Internet access. However, libraries with larger legal service populations differed significantly from libraries with medium and small legal service populations in having automated catalog and circulation systems, in having these systems available through the Internet, and in providing access to online databases to their patrons, as shown in the table below. A larger percent of libraries with larger service populations (51 percent) than those with medium or small legal service populations (42 and 32 percent, respectively) had long-range plans.

Table II.D.4

Library Has

Size of Legal Service Population

Small


(N=243)

Medium (N=129)

Large


(N=45)

#

%

#

%

#

%

Automated catalog and circulation system*

155

63.8%

113

87.6%

44

97.8%

Automated catalog available through the Internet*

55

22.6%

65

50.4%

42

93.3%

Automated circulation system that is available through the Internet*

20

8.2%

32

24.8%

24

53.3%

Internet connection*

231

95.1%

129

100.0%

45

100.0%

Library provides access to online databases to end users*

171

70.4%

112

86.8%

44

97.8%

Long-range plan*

78

32.1%

54

41.9%

23

51.1%

Long-range plan addresses future trends

66

84.6%

42

77.8%

17

73.9%

* Differences are statistically significant.

Libraries, regardless of the size of their legal service population, collaborated with other libraries, as shown in the following table. However, a larger percent of libraries with large legal service populations than libraries with medium and small legal service populations collaborated with academic and special libraries. This difference may stem from a greater presence of academic and special libraries in areas with large legal service populations.

Table II.D.5

Library Collaborated Regularly with:

Size of Legal Service Population

Small


(N=210)

Medium (N=120)

Large


(N=43)

#

%

#

%

#

%

Public libraries

182

86.7%

105

87.5%

35

81.4%

School libraries

131

62.4%

68

56.7%

26

60.5%

Academic libraries

21

10.0%

38

31.7%

27

62.8%

Special libraries (law, medicine, engineering)

4

1.9%

8

6.7%

8

18.6%

Other types of libraries

5

2.4%

11

9.2%

5

11.6%

2. Library System Services Provided to Member Libraries

Library Systems provided a wide range of services to libraries regardless of the size of their legal service population. A larger percent of libraries with medium and large legal service populations received funds for computers while a larger percent of libraries with small legal service populations received funds to upgrade their Internet connection and training for their advisory boards. Also, a larger percent of libraries with small and medium legal service populations received training in and assistance with grant writing and assistance with reference questions.

Table II.D.6

Services Library Received From Library System

Size of Legal Service Population

Small


(N=243)

Medium


(N=129)

Large


(N=45)

#

%

#

%

#

%

Funds for collection development: books and other materials

235

97.1%

129

100.0%

45

100.0%

Funds for library video collection operation

97

40.1%

56

43.4%

24

53.3%

Funds for computers

76

31.4%

49

38.0%

17

37.8%

Funds for installing an Internet connection

38

15.7%

9

7.0%

7

15.6%

Funds for upgrading the library's Internet connection

22

9.1%

4

3.1%

2

4.4%

Training library staff in the management and use of electronic resources

208

86.0%

112

86.8%

39

86.7%

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

166

68.6%

87

67.4%

16

35.6%

Training library staff in the development of long-range plans

93

38.4%

48

37.2%

14

31.1%

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

20

8.3%

11

8.5%

2

4.4%

Purchasing and upgrading library's hardware and software

62

25.6%

38

39.5%

9

20.0%

Purchasing equipment for accessing electronic resources

35

14.5%

13

10.1%

2

4.4%

Purchasing office and other equipment for library

76

31.4%

36

27.9%

21

46.7%

Funding bilingual/ESL and literacy projects

46

19.0%

28

21.7%

18

40.0%

Funding projects serving youth

36

14.9%

22

17.1%

11

24.4%

Funding projects serving older adults

61

25.2%

37

28.7%

11

24.4%

Funding projects to serve people with disabilities

35

14.5%

17

13..2%

4

8.9%

Providing funds for planning projects

17

7.0%

9

7.0%

6

13.3%

Providing funds for library automation projects

33

13.6%

12

9.3%

3

6.7%

Assistance with reference questions

185

76.4%

84

65.1%

18

40.0%

Continuing education services for staff

234

96.7%

122

94.6%

42

93.3%

Continuing education services for library advisory board

95

39.3%

44

34.1%

11

24.4%

Consulting services

187

77.3%

99

76.7%

25

55.6%

3. Impact of Library System Services

The size of libraries' legal service population was associated with the extent to which libraries found the Library System to be helpful in meeting their needs. Overall, libraries with small legal service populations found their respective Library Systems more helpful than libraries with medium and large legal service populations. Seventy-six percent of the libraries with small legal service populations and 66 percent of libraries with medium legal service populations compared with 38 percent of libraries with large legal service populations reported that their respective Library System was "very helpful" in meeting their needs.

Table II.D.7

Helpfulness of Library System in Meeting Libraries' Needs

Size of Legal Service Population

Small


(N=243)

Medium


(N=129)

Large


(N=45)

#

%

#

%

#

%

Very helpful

184

76.3%

84

66.1%

17

37.8%

Helpful

45

18.7%

28

22.0%

11

24.4%

Moderately helpful

8

3.3%

8

6.3%

11

24.4%

Of little help

2

0.8%

5

3.9%

6

13.3%

Not at all helpful

1

0.4%

1

0.8%

--

--

Unsure

1

0.4%

1

0.8%

--

--

Mean*

1.30

 

1.50

 

2.13

 

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

Figure II.D.2

Graph of the information in table II.D.7.

Libraries' legal service population size was significantly associated with improvements in all aspects of library operations as a result of services Library Systems provided to libraries. A significantly larger percent of libraries with small legal service populations than libraries with medium and large legal service populations reported improvements in their collection, technology, operations, management, planning, range and quality of service, and expansion of services to previously unserved populations. For example, four times as many libraries with small legal service populations (74 percent) than libraries with large legal service populations (18 percent) reported improvements in their collection, range of service (47 percent versus 12 percent), quality of service (54 percent versus 12 percent), and in their ability to serve previously unserved populations (43 percent versus nine percent). The differences are even larger when libraries with small legal service populations are compared with libraries with large legal service populations when reporting improvements in their operations (56 percent versus two percent), and management (57 percent versus two percent).

Table II.D.8

Services Provided by Library System Helped Improve to a Great Extent Library's*

Size of Legal Service Population

Small


(N=235)

Medium


(N=128)

Large


(N=45)

#

%

#

%

#

%

Collection

175

74.5%

73

57.0%

8

17.8%

Technology

116

52.3%

57

45.2%

6

13.3%

Operations

125

55.8%

39

31.2%

1

2.3%

Management

129

56.8%

46

36.5%

1

2.3%

Planning

112

50.2%

46

38.3%

5

11.9%

Range of service

104

47.1%

46

37.1%

5

11.6%

Quality of services

121

54.3%

54

43.2%

5

11.6%

Ability to serve individuals not served before

96

42.9%

39

31.7%

4

9.3%

* Differences are statistically significant.

As shown in the following table, on average, libraries with large legal service populations found the services provided by Library Systems not as helpful as libraries with medium or small legal service populations. Libraries with small legal service populations credited their respective Library Systems with the greatest impact on improving multiple aspects of their operation.

Table II.D.9

Services Provided by Library System Helped Improve Library's*

Size of Legal Service Population

Small Mean Scores**

Medium Mean Scores**

Large Mean Scores**

Collection

1.27

1.55

2.27

Technology

1.62

1.86

2.69

Operations

1.55

1.96

2.95

Management

1.58

1.94

2.98

Planning

1.72

2.02

2.98

Range of service

1.72

2.00

2.84

Quality of services

1.58

1.81

2.67

Ability to serve individuals not served before

96

2.15

2.98

* Differences were statistically significant.


** Means were calculated on a 5-point scale where "1" refers to "very helpful" and "5" refers to "not at all helpful."

Regardless of the size of the legal service population, libraries reported deriving multiple benefits from the services Library Systems provided to them. However, a smaller percent of libraries with large legal service populations than libraries with medium and small legal service populations recognized these benefits.

Table II.D.10

Major Benefits Library Derived from Membership in Library System

Size of Legal Service Population

Small


(N=235)

Medium


(N=128)

Large


(N=45)

#

%

#

%

#

%

Offered programs to meet the needs of special populations

87

36.4%

48

37.8%

15

36.6%

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

218

91.2%

111

87.4%

26

63.4%

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

199

83.3%

95

74.8%

28

68.3%

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

191

79.9%

96

75.6%

21

51.2%

Library offers enhanced access to a variety of information

202

84.5%

88

69.3%

15

36.6%

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

179

74.9%

86

67.7%

22

53.7%

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

143

59.8%

75

59.1%

10

24.4%

Consulting, advice, information sharing

218

89.7%

116

89.9%

37

82.2%

Part Two, Section Two C | Part Two, Section Three

Page last modified: March 2, 2011