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LIS 6511

Section One
Abigail Davis
Christine Frascarelli
Sarah Qronfleh
Brielle Sharrett

Lakeland Public Library Youth Services Collection Needs Assessment

Section 1: Introduction

Library Setting:

The Lakeland Public Library is the main branch of the Lakeland, Florida library system. The
facility is located on the East shore of Lake Morton just a few blocks away from Downtown Lakeland.
Built in 1966, the building, especially the youth services department, went through major remodeling in
the early 2000s. The library is composed of one large building, that when paired with the Polk Museum of
Art which sits just across the parking lot from the library, forms Lakeland’s cultural center. The layout of
the library encourages patrons to explore on their own, with an open center adult area with side halls and
paths that lead to the Youth Services section, Teen Room, and Special Collections. The Youth Services
hall features a muraled portrayal of the nearby scenery of Lake Morton and Lake Mirror as well as the
entrance to the library’s main Meeting Room which is where most in-house programming is held. Within
the Youth Services section there are several main zones- the Juvenile Fiction shelves, the Juvenile
Non-fiction shelves, the Toddler play area, the Service Desk, the bank of eight children’s computers, and
then the Multi-media zone that features Juvenile DVDs, Audiobooks, PlayAways, and CDs, as well as a
variety of quiet study areas and two enclosed tutor rooms that are available for hourly rental. There is also
a breezeway connecting this section with the Teen Room, which for the purposes of this assessment will
be regarded as a part of Youth Services. The Teen Room features six computers, two large
restaurant-style booths, a long bar table, and shelving for Young Adult fiction, a small section of Young
Adult Non-fiction, and DVDs.


The Youth Services section of the Lakeland Public Library serves a large variety of users that can
vary from children and teens from 2 years to 17 years old, adults from 18 to 80 or older, for any reason
under the sun. New mothers will come to the section for board books for their 16-month old and to attend
the Mother Goose story time, grandparents will bring their elementary aged children to use computers
before attending a STEAM-themed program, local college students from nearby Florida Southern College
will pick up materials needed for their Children’s Literature class, and adults who are trying to learn
Spanish will come to the Children’s section hoping to find Spanish language books that will ease them
into the language.


This system, which functions as a member of the Polk County Library Cooperative (PCLC),
includes two other branches: The Larry R. Jackson library and the eLibrary branch. This assessment
focuses on the Youth Services collection of the main branch but it is worth noting that this collection is
bolstered through access to both branches’ collections as well as those of other libraries within the PCLC.
The current collection needs maintenance- weeding of the nonfiction and fiction Juvenile materials and
updating of the Young Adult Non-fiction.

Services Provided:

Here is a listing of the services provided, followed by programs that Youth Services provides.
Services: provide library cards, check out/return/renew items, pay fines, provide free wireless services,
printing and faxing and copying (for a fee), and technology tutoring. Programs: Toddler Storytime,
Preschool Storytime, Mother Goose Baby Storytime, Kids Korner craft program, Teen Time, Tween
Scene, Teen Writer’s Block, Tech-Know Mondays, Wonder Wednesdays, and RPG Hour.


Youth Services materials are taken to the main Circulation Service Desk where they can be
checked out by either library employees or using a Self-service checkout station. Library materials can be
checked out for two-weeks and there is no limit of how many materials can be checked out at a time.

Section Two: Need Assessment

2.1 Purpose of Need Assessment

The Lakeland Public Library is located at the heart of the Lakeland community. According to the
Institute of Museum and Library Services’ Digital Inclusion Survey from 2014, 62,201 residents live
within a 3-mile radius of the library. Of these 62,000+ people, 11% consist of a foreign population with
22% of inhabitants coming from Mexico, 11% from Cuba, and 12% representing Canada, Jamaica, and
the Dominican Republic. Within these 62,000+ people, 86% speak English, 72% are white, 24% are
black, and at least 10,100 residents are under the age of 20. Since 2014, ​DemographicsNow ​additionally
reports an increase of children in 2016 with the ages of 0-14 representing 17.3% of the total Lakeland
population and 13.7% between the ages of 15-24 within a total of 103,000 Lakeland residents. From
2000 to 2021, ​DemographicsNow​ uses recent data and projections to suggest that the Lakeland population
will increase by over 10% with household income growing by almost 40%.

In addition to an expanding and changing population, the stakeholders of the Lakeland Public
Library—which includes staff, board members, the Library Advisory Board, and community members
including the local schools—note neglect in our current children’s collection with 48% responding
negatively to a pre-survey about collection satisfaction.

The stakeholders are not wrong either: according to the Lakeland Public Library circulation staff
statistics, 5.6% of the 13,484 books in the current fiction collection are over 16 years old and 41.6% of the
current collection is 5 years or older (Lakeland 2016). Specifically in parts of the children’s collection,
39.7% of the young adult collection is at least 5 years old, and checkouts of these older books are
extremely low, within a percentage of usage.

With such a dated collection which is deterring users from checking out materials as well as a
changing population and pressure from the stakeholder community, the Lakeland Public Library desires
to better serve and meet the needs of its community, especially in regards to collection development. This
development includes weeding the collection and gap/causal ordering. These changes are essential to the
library’s survival and relevance in an era where libraries are constantly being threatened by budget cuts.
Areas of particular distress include the children’s collection consisting of juvenile and young adult (YA)
fiction, juvenile and YA nonfiction, juvenile and YA graphic novels, juvenile and YA DVDs, CDs, and
audiobooks, children’s picture books, board books, easy readers, and beginner readers. In order to adapt
to modern times and meet growing technological demands, the Lakeland Public Library must not only
develop its print collection, but also evaluate online resources including databases.

In effect, this collection development assessment utilizes surveys, meetings, and interviews to
address gaps and problems in its current children’s resources specifically by:

● Looking at historical data provided above as well as collecting new basic demographic
information to determine the current population and target audience
● Identifying key informants to determine if the library is meeting patrons’ needs with print and
online resources and if these interactions and experiences are positive, timely, efficient, and
● Checking for appropriateness and relevance of previous sources to determine what to keep,
reorder, and weed
● Integrating the children’s collections with programs, the local school systems, and users’ needs
● Aligning the collection with the library’s as well as the county’s overall mission

2.2 Methodologies

Demographics:​ The Lakeland Public Library seeks basic demographic information in its field surveys to
residents and compares this data with the information previously obtained from ​DemographicsNow​ and
the Digital Inclusion Survey. Basic questions ask patrons to identify gender, age, race and ethnicity,
household income, languages spoken at home, access to computers, and family demographics such as
number of household children and their ages.

Key Informants:​ ​The Lakeland Public Library looks to patrons, board members, and important library
staff including the circulation supervisors, regional managers, heads of the youth service department, as
well as the library director. The library also reaches out to the local school population, including teachers
and education administrators to ensure that it is meeting student needs.

How Data Is Collected​:

The Lakeland Public Library collects desired information in three ways:

● A ​community forum​ with open access for all members of the community. Ten basic starter
questions prepared in advance avoid “dead air” and veering off topic, and community member
questions are permitted. This type of community forum helps avoid researcher biases and gives
access to a larger part of the community.
● Designated and trained staff members conduct ​in-person interviews ​with key informants
including 20 selected staff members, education administrators, and board members. These short
30-minute interviews ask questions pertinent to the development of the children’s collection.
● Lastly, the Lakeland Public Library uses a ​field survey​. This survey involves a mailed
questionnaire and in-library survey to sporadically chosen households within the community.
Surveys handed out at the library match those mailed and ask basic demographic information,
needs and desires from the children’s collection at the library, and seeks complaints and
compliments about the current collection. Surveys at the library are offered in English and
Spanish with the option for staff members to read them aloud to impaired patrons. Mailed
surveys are in English, and mailers include envelopes and stamps with a 2-week deadline. A total
of 1,000 surveys are disseminated to achieve 75% responses.

A research team designated by the library, including educated and trained staff and one graduate
student researcher (intern), evaluates all data—collected within a one-month period—and reports
conclusions to key library collection development staff members. Sample surveys and acquired data are
provided in the appendix.

2.3 Results

The research team compiles the results of the forum, surveys, and interviews using Microsoft
Office software. The raw data is stored in Microsoft Excel and from this, an information packet is created
that interprets and summarizes the data. These packets are mailed to key stakeholders within the
organization but also made available to the public through the library’s website and in hard copy format
within the library. Summaries of the data collected are presented below.

Community Forum Results:

The community forum presented participants with ten questions that they could answer and also
allowed for users to post their own questions, concerns, and responses regarding the Children’s area and
collection. The forum received little participation, and those who choose to respond selected two or three
of the ten questions to answer. The top chosen question was: “How would you improve the Children’s
area?” There was a unanimous response of: “update collection, remove dated books.” A large number of

participants responded “yes” to the question: “Do you utilize our digital resources?” The was only one
post that featured a complaint, which read: “Every time my son wants to read a specific book and we go
to the library, the library doesn’t have it; we have to get it from another library. It’s frustrating. I want to
show my son that the library is a great resource, but our library is not a good example of that.” There were
no other comments posted on the thread.

In-Person Interview Results:

As shown in the figures above, over half of participants interviewed reported that “frequently” the
patrons’ needs were not being met by the current Children’s collection, and that a majority of participants
rated their experience with users and the collection as “poor.”

There were multiple gaps that participants noticed within the collection, the majority reported as
- Newer books in a series were not part of the collection, such as ​Diary of a Wimpy Kid​.
- Nonfiction topics were out of date
- No books covering current topics, such as coding for kids.

When asked about the current struggles being faced with the collection, the most common
answers were:
- Fiction and nonfiction collections are out of date
- Not enough copies of popular and/or frequently circulated items
- Items marked as “missing” have yet to be replaced

Participants had less to say on the subject of the online databases, but all agreed that the databases
needed to be more user/child friendly. Participants reported that the databases were hard for a child to
navigate and often required a PIN to be entered, which children do not typically know. There were no
specific database requests from patrons.

Field Survey Results:

Out of 1,000 questionnaires sent out to members of the community, 750 were returned to the
library. Shown above is the compiled demographic data from the participants who sent back their
questionnaires. The data shows that the age range most responsive to the field survey was the 26-35
range. The majority of participants were caucasian females identifying as parents.

Shown in the appendix are the charts depicting the responses to the questionnaire. This data
reveals that most of the participants are frequent patrons as a little less than half reported that they come
to the children’s section four to five times a week. The overall responses support the need to update the
children’s collection.

When asked what the library needs to add to the children’s collection to help children and young
adults succeed the majority responded that the Young Adult nonfiction section needed to be expanded and
updated to include contemporary and trending topics, such as body image, bullying, and religious

As for improving the children’s area, the responses unanimously expressed the need for an
updated collection. A large number also suggested adding more computers for children to use and
shelving books by grade level or genre instead of by author.

Lastly, there were frequent added compliments about the friendly, helpful, and approachable staff
in the Children’s room and praise for the programs offered. The complaints that did not pertain to the
collection were about the high noise level and the time children were allotted to use the computers.

2.4 Discussions and Conclusion

The research team is communicating the results of the forum, interviews, and surveys to key
stakeholders including: library administration, board members, and patrons. The data is also being
reported to integral staff including: the acquisitions manager, circulation supervisors, and youth services
department head. In addition, local educators and administrators are being given a streamlined version
that targets how the library can support them.

Based on the results of the data gathered, the library is taking the following actions based on the
needs assessment and collected data results:

1. The library is conducting a weeding project to remove outdated, uncirculated, and

irrelevant materials.
2. The library is significantly expanding the budget for and updating the following physical
collections: Juvenile and YA non-fiction.
3. The library is increasing the budget for Juvenile and YA fiction, easy books, and board
4. The library is increasing the number of copies ordered for in-demand titles and is
adjusting the current ratio of copies to holds that triggers an automatic title purchase.
Currently, the library orders another copy of a title if there are ten holds for every one

copy. The new ratio is being adjusted to six holds for every one copy, making items
available for patrons faster.
5. The library is ensuring all copies of a series are being purchased and is automatically
purchasing new series titles when they are released.
6. The library is increasing the budget for purchasing children’s titles on OverDrive and is
subscribing to TumbleBooks, a databases dedicated to providing eBooks for school-aged

2.5 Member Contribution

Members of this group divided this assessment and the research that went into it by assessment
section and individual prior experience and knowledge. Abigail Davis wrote the introduction and
provided background information about the Lakeland Public Library, it’s constituents, and data about the
Youth Services circulation materials statistics specifically. Christine Frascarelli wrote the purpose of the
needs assessment and methodology sections including demographics, key informants, and how data is
collected.​ ​Sarah Qronfleh added to the results section and wrote the discussion and conclusion section.
Brielle Sharrett created the surveys and wrote the data interpretations of them within the results section.


● Community Forum

● In-person Interviews

● Field Survey


Bureau, US Census. "Quick Facts Polk County." ​US Census Bureau​. N.p., 2015. Web. May 26. 2017.

Central Florida Development Council. "Polk County Demographic Report." (2015): 1-8. Web.



DemographicsNow. ​Gale Cengage Learning, 2017, Accessed

26 May 2017.

Digital Inclusion Survey.​ University of Maryland College Park, 2014,

Accessed 26 May 2017.

"Lakeland, Florida." ​Lakeland, Florida (FL) profile: population, maps, real estate, averages, homes,

statistics, relocation, travel, jobs, hospitals, schools, crime, moving, houses, news, sex offenders​.

N.p., 2015. Web. 16 Feb. 2017.

United States, Lakeland Public Library. (2016). ​Circulation Summary LPL Youth Services​.