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Organizational and User Requirements: Information Literacy Course on Databases Provided by Greensboro Public Library

LIS 688The Planning and Marketing of Information Services Brandon Lewter 7/24/2011


In my LIS Planning and Marketing of Information Services Course, two classmates and I

were assigned to create an information literacy course for various branches of Greensboro Public Library (GPL). One classmate, Jennifer Smith, is working with the Vance Chavis Branch, Rachel Stas is working with the Benjamin Branch, and I am working with the Kathleen-Clay Edwards Branch. Each of these libraries serves a variety of patrons. Vance Chavis serves mostly middle to low class families; the Benjamin Branch serves middle class patrons in the surrounding neighborhoods; and the Kathleen-Clay Edwards Branch serves a wide variety of patrons from the upper to lower classes. As my classmates and I started working with key members of the GPL system, our libraries and their branch managers, our ideas of our projects evolved and took on different objectives. For my project I eventually came to the conclusion, through a thought process I will later discuss, that I needed to get an idea of how frequently GPLs databases are used, why patrons need the databases, and how the databases can better serve GPLs patrons. From the answers to these questions I believed that I could determine how to effectively market GPLs databases to patrons, and design and market an information literacy course on GPLs databases that would be the most useful for GPLs patrons.


ADDIE A. Analyze
GPL pays a large sum of money every year to provide its patrons access to over eighteen

different databases, and a number of these databases are underused. So why is GPL paying for these services? Why do Greensboro Public Library patrons need databases? Well, there is not an
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easy answer to that question, as every patron has different needs, and those needs differ based on what information each patron is looking for. But the fact is, Greensboro Public Library needs to ask themselves, What can our databases do for our customers? That I believe is the answer to getting more patrons to use their databasesthey need to market to their patrons the value of their databases; not just the fact that they have them. I didnt come to this conclusion immediately. I started this project for my LIS 688 class thinking that I was going to develop a literacy information course at select branches of Greensboro Public Libraries that would teach high school students how to write fluent research papers while using the correct format for citing their work. But, after a meeting with key members of the GPL staff and discussing what they would really like us to work on, this project took on a bigger, multi-faceted purpose. First of all, the key members of GPL, who my classmates and I met with, wanted us to create some type of advocacy program for their databases. Furthermore they wanted us to figure out which databases their customers are using, and why they arent using others more; from this they could hopefully determine which databases they could get rid of. After the meeting with the people from Central GPL my classmates and I decided to adapt our original literacy information course from teaching high school students about writing research papers to teaching high school students how to use GPLs databases. This gave me something to wrap my head around, so I started to work. I created a survey intended for high school students that basically asked them about their awareness, or lack thereof, of the databases GPL offers. Then I did what most people do with a survey intended for high school students. I sought out high school students and had them fill out the survey. And this was going all well and good until I had an epiphany: This is not what Greensboro Public Libraries wants me to do, and what good is this information going to be for anyone! I wasnt asking the high school students why they didnt use
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the databases, or even more importantly, tell them what the databases can do for them. I was just asking them if they know about the databases, and where they usually go to seek information. So now I come back to the question I asked in my introduction: Why do GPL patrons need databases? And from the answer to that, how can we market to the patrons the value of GPLs databases. Is an information literacy course the answer? If patrons are not using the databases, then I think the answer to that question has to be No. That is what I will refer to as my theory in the upcoming section.

Survey Results of Twenty-Five High School Students (results can be viewed by holding mouse over the Brandons Page drop down menu on WordPress) (Note about survey results: not all participants answered every question, so not all the results add up to twenty-five. Also, most of my responses came from high school students connected to my teacher, not personal, Facebook page; only three of the results came from patrons at the Kathleen Clay Edwards Branch.)
In this section I will discuss my analysis of the results from the survey I gave to twenty-five high school students. Because I created this survey before I came to the conclusion of what I really wanted my project to be about, not all the results are relevant; therefore, I will only discuss the results that are. When asked, Are you aware that through their website Greensboro Public Libraries (GPL) offer databases containing a variety of information that may be useful for conducting research or finding all sorts of useful information?, sixteen students responded No and only five responded Yes. These results help confirm my theory: that if a literacy information course were to be created for high school students, then it would not be very popular. If high school students do not know about GPLs databases, why would they be interested in learning more about them? Depending on the answer students gave to the previous question, they were directed to a different question in the survey. If they answered Yes, they would then be asked, Do you use
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any of GPLs databases? Out of the five students who were asked this question three of them responded that they do, and two responded that they do not. If students responded that they are not aware of GPLs databases, they were asked, Do you know what types of information GPL's databases provide? Four respondents answered Yes and nine of them No. Again, this told me that if an information literacy course were to be a utility to high school aged patrons, then GPL needs to do a better job of marketing the databases to this age group. Next, the most important data to look at, to help validate my theory, comes from two questions that were answered by seventeen respondents: Would you be interested in participating in a short class at a GPL branch to learn more about how to use GPLs databases? and Would you be willing to participate in a brief online tutorial to learn about how to use GPL's databases? Not surprisingly, as most high school students would rather sleep than voluntarily go to a class, three students responded Yes to the first question and fourteen responded No. And to the second question, six students responded Yes and eleven No. The percentage of students who are willing to participate in a brief online tutorial is about 35%, and even smaller is the percentage of students who are willing to go to a class, about 18%. So what does all this mean? I believe it means that if GPL wants to dedicate the time and effort into creating a database information literacy course for high school students, then they first need to dedicate time and effort into making the databases more popular with these students. They need to show them how the databases can help them. If they cannot do that, then what is the point in creating the course?


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GPL and Database Survey (results can be viewed by holding mouse over the Brandons Page drop down menu on WordPress) (Note about survey: unlike my first survey, this survey was developed after I realized what the objectives of my project should be (after my epiphany); therefore, I tried to include more qualitative-type questions, and I did not require the respondents to be high school studentsI opened the survey up to all my Friends on Facebook who live in the Greensboro area. Ideally I would have a greater sample size, but due to the date by which I need to complete this paper, I will have to go with what I have. If I have more results by the time my final assignment is due, I will update this section of my analysis.)
In this section of my analysis I will discuss and analyze the results from a survey I conducted with thirteen respondents, varying in age, who live in the Greensboro area. The reason for this second survey is because I believe it helps me better answer the critical questions for this project, thus helping me fulfill my main objectives. To make the analysis of this data easier to follow I will break up the data in two groups: Group 1 answered Yes to the question, Are you aware that through their website Greensboro Public Libraries (GPL) offer databases containing a variety of information that may be useful for conducting research or finding all sorts of useful information? and Group 2 answered No. Group 1 Findings About 54%, or seven, of the respondents answered Yes to the first question. From there they were asked whether or not they currently use or have used GPLs databases. To this, I was a little surprised to find out that even though these respondents know about the databases, only two out of seven of them responded that they use or have used them; yet, interestingly enough, five of them expressed an interest in learning more about them, either on their own or through an online tutorial. In a later question, Group 1 was asked, How do you usually find information (for research or otherwise), and not surprisingly most people said Google, Wikipedia or the internet; some of the respondents cited a libraries in their answer, but they did not specify that they use a librarys database resources.


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Group 2 Findings After answering No when asked if they are aware of GPLs databases, the other 46% of the respondents, making up Group 2, were asked how they usually find information, and like Group 1, most respondents cited the internet and Google; none of them cited libraries. Out of these six respondents, four of them expressed an interest in learning more about GPLs databases, and they would prefer to learn through an online tutorial.

In conclusion of this analysis I find this survey shows more of an awareness of GPLs databases and a greater desire to learn more about them. But, even with this being the case, I still believe it would be in GPLs best interest to spend more time marketing their databases by way of telling their patrons and potential patrons about the ways databases can be of use. They need to convince patrons that for NO COST their databases can give more accurate and thorough information than Google can most likely ever offer. Then, if this step is successful, the plan to move forward with an information literacy course on databases should be put in place.


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B. Design
Below is a table that systematically breaks down ALL the goals and objectives of this project, and next to these are resources and technologies that will help accomplish them. Each subsequent goal/objective and sub-goal/objective is dependent on the preceding goals results, success, or failure (the resources and technologies are more or less random). Organizational Goals & Objectives Goals & Objectives Resources 1. Market GPLs databases 1. Survey 1. Determine user and user demand (Who 2. Patrons are the users, and do they want to use 3. Current GPL GPLs databases?) librarians and branch 2. Determine which databases are currently managers the most popular with users and why 4. Tim Cole (GPLs (Which databases get the most hits and assistant director for why?) acquisitions and 3. Determine users need (Why do GPLs collections) patrons need databases?) 5. Willie Taylor (GPLs 4. Make databases more accessible on Grassroots Advocacy website Leader) 5. Market usefulness of GPLs databases 6. GPLs content (Why is using GPLs databases better developer than using Google?) 7. Online blog or 6. Reevaluate database usage and demand website 8. Marketing through high school teachers and college professors 2. Provide information literacy courses on how 1. Online blog or to use GPLs databases website 1. Determine users and user demand 2. GPLs content 2. Conduct focus groups and surveys of developer users 3. Current GPL 3. Market course librarians and 4. Pilot a course branch managers 5. Launch by January 2012 4. Schedule 5. Marketing through high school teachers and college professors 6. RSVPs

Technology 1. SurveyMonkey 2. WordPress 3. Wikipedia 4. Facebook 5. Email 6. GPLs website 7. Flyers

1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

GPLs website Wordpress Facebook Email Flyers

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C. Develop
In the end I hope this project to greatly increase the use of Greensboro Public Librarys databases not because they are ultimately marketed better, although that is part of the big picture, but because they are meeting the needs of patrons. When this project is completed I hope that GPL has more patrons, and I hope that when patrons are in need of information, whether they want to know how to fix their car, how much their dead Aunt Sallys tea kettle is worth, or where Mark Twain was born, they know where to go and how to search for the free and reliable information GPLs databases can provide in a better and more efficient way than Google. My vision is that this will be made possible through better marketing towards GPLs current and future patron needs.


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Timeline for Goals and Objectives Task Create Presenation Movie for GPL Managers and Post YouTube Meet With Key Group Members Due 7/10/2011 Responsible Brandon Lewter Comment YouTube video created, but project goals and objectives have since changed


Publish Organizational and User Requirements Publish Information Services Implementation and Marketing Plan Survey Patrons on Needs of Databases Analyze Surveys of Patrons' Needs and Determine How to Best Meet Patron Needs Invite teachers and professors to attend database information and training session Marketing Campaign for Project Begins

7/24/2011 8/7/2011

B. Lewter, J. Smith, R. Stas, Meeting went well; GPL's needs B. Blanton, T. change vision, goals and objectives Cole, J. of project Hutson, W. Phifer Brandon Lewter Brandon Lewter Brandon Lewter Brandon Lewter Brandon Lewter Brandon Lewter, Willie Taylor, Tim Cole Brandon Lewter Brandon Lewter Brandon Lewter This task is dependent on the success of the preceding tasks.

8/20/2011 8/27/2011



Hold information and training session on GPL databases for teachers and professors First Information Literacy Course Reevaluate Database Usage and Demand



11/15/201 1


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D. Implement
The planning for the literacy course GPL Databases is done. It is now time to put the carefully, planned steps into place. As previously stated, in the Analyze section of this report, more evaluation is needed. This evaluation will come in the form of a survey, starting August 8 and ending August 20. The focus of the survey will be to determine GPLs user needs for databases, and how well or not the databases currently fulfill those users needs. Upon completion of the aforementioned survey, the data will be analyzed by August 27 in order to best structure the next step, marketing. If the surveys results show a need to advertise for and educate about GPLs databases, marketing for the information literacy course will take place using two main strategies: Word of Mouth Marketing (WOMM) and Social Media sites. WOMM Word of Mouth Marketing is the act of publicizing through people. According to Bite Sized Marketing, WOMM is based on the theory that 10 percent of the market influences the other 90 percent. Therefore, if the 10 percent like something they will talk about it positively and the other 90 percent will follow suit by trying the said product or service. In order to use WOMM with this project, high school teachers and community college professors will be invited, through email and faculty meetings, to attend a free, special training session (similar to the information literacy course) focused on GPLs databases and how they workthese people will act as the 10 percent. In addition to informing the 10 percent about GPLs databases and teaching them how to use them, the 10 percent will also be taught the value databases have over using search engines, such as Google. Besides advertising the value of this training session, free coffee and doughnuts from Doughnut World will be offered to participants.


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Social Media Sites Several social media sites will be used to market the information literacy course on GPLs databases. Using GPLs Facebook page, News Feeds will be published advertising the courses as being an educational opportunity to learn how databases can be more useful than Google. A Wikipedia page that specifically details each GPL database will be created, and on that page will be a brief summary detailing how databases can be more effective when searching for a particular type of information. GPLs Twitter page will advertise for the course through tweets. And the course will be advertised through the Wordpress blog where this paper is posted.

The marketing for the information literacy course will conclude its initial campaign on Thursday, October 7, and the first information literacy course will be on October 8 at 7pm at the Central Branch location. If the turnout for the initial course session is positive, more sessions will be scheduled at smaller branch locations.



A month and one week after the initial information literacy course, an evaluation process will take place. This process will include a brief survey given to the participants of the initial training course, and analysis of the overall usage of the databases. The survey participants will be contacted through the email they left on the sign in sheet for the training course, and it will ask questions such as, Have you used GPLs databases since attending the training course? If so, how often? and Have you talked with your students about using GPLs databases to help with academic research papers? Below is a table that goes into more depth with this process:


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Goal Increase Usage of Databases Improve Marketing of Databases

Data - hit count - teacher and professor input - instances of marketing

Method - web analytics - survey - documentation of WOMM marketing - documentation of social media sites created for marketing - documentation of courses offered - sign in sheets


Offer Courses

- number of courses offered - number of attendees


As previously stated, I believe that the overall analysis shows patrons overall lack in

knowledge of GPLs databases; few know about them, and few have a desire to learn more about them. This tells me that users are not aware of the usefulness of the databases, and that they would rather use Google to find information, even though GPLs databases can provide free, and more accurate and reliable information than Google. In order to find out more about patrons information seeking needs, I believe more thorough surveying is essential. A greater sample needs to be accessed and more qualitative questions need to be asked, perhaps like, How can GPL persuade you to use their databases when seeking certain types of information? And perhaps after showing patrons where they can access GPLs databases, ask them, How can GPL make their databases more accessible and inviting? If these questions are answered with either more surveys or a dedicated focus group, I think the second stage of creating an information literacy course on databases could be developed.


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