Leader's Digest July 25, 2008
1 of 4
7/28/08 1:28 PM
July 26, 2008
OCLC's Study of Library Support in America
In case you haven't heard much yet about OCLC's report "From Awareness to Funding: A study of library support in America", here's
a brief summary, with some help from Barbara Quint and Norman Oder.
Funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and conducted by Leo Burnett USA the report (PDF free; print copies $10) "provides
detailed voter segmentation and analysis of groups on the basis of their likelihood to support library funding."
Target: Public libraries serving populations of less than 200,000.
Primary goal: To understand "which voters are most likely to provide definite library funding support, which voters will provide
limited or no library funding support, and which voters represent probable support for increased library funding."
• Library funding support is related more to voters' attitudes and perceptions than to their demographics.
• Library funding support is only marginally related to library visitation.
• Many people don't know how public libraries are funded or the full extent of services offered.
• "'Passionate librarians' help generate library funding."
• Voters who see the library as a 'transformational' force as opposed to an 'informational' source are more likely to support
• Excellent data, useful insights and great graphics!
• Useful decision-making tool.
• May help librarians target their "messages to the right segments."
• Limited to statistics of on-site use of physical facilities; omits website usage.
• Ignores alternative funding sources.
R e c o m m e n d a t i o n s :
• Brand libraries as "transformational," "capable of changing and enriching people’s lives."
• Promote the concept of equal access. "The ... most compelling argument in support of funding increases for public libraries is the
important truth that U.S. public libraries provi