Public libraries are generally underfunded and often rely on outside resources to accomodate lack of literaty materials and services.
Year after year, they scramble to respond to budget cuts and inconsistencies in funding.
We found that the public's perception on a library's success is typically based on statute numbers (ex. # of patrons, # of books lent) and not on the
valuable (free) services that libraries provide to the public (ex. GED classes and Learn-to-Read programs).
This perception influences how the public donates and how governing-officials allocate funds to their regional library systems.
As a result, some libraries, like those
, have begun an outcome-based approach to not only measure their impact, but also shift away from this traditional assessment of success.
While a change in impact-surveying might prove useful for collecting more funding, it
unfortunately doesn’t resolve uneven allocation of funding within library systems
Two different branches within the Brooklyn Public Library system. Consider how the buildings' architecture, spatial arrangement,
and density per square meter implies a difference in funding within the same system.
Pacific Street Library (Left) vs. Central Branch (Right)
Intrigued by how uneven allocation of funds can significantly impact the content and services provided by
individual library branches, we decided to conduct interviews with the (primary) stakeholders
of these public infrastucutres: Generalists, Specialist and Suuport Staff. Our objective was to develop a better understanding and language
of this community while also considering the potential knowledge and technology gaps between different demographics and branches.
Generalists, Specialist, and Support Staff are not only those most affected by a change in funding, but they are
also the main group of individuals who patrons interact on a daily-basis.