From awareness to funding: a study of library support in America

28 Jul 2008

OCLC received a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to conduct research, develop strategies, create materials and evaluate the potential of marketing and communications programs to sustain and increase funding for U.S. public libraries.

OCLC engaged Leo Burnett to field an advocacy research program that included both quantitative and qualitative research.

The quantitative study targeted two audiences: residents in U.S. communities of populations less than 200,000 and elected officials in the United States. More than 90% of all U.S. public libraries serve communities with populations of 200,000 or less. The study was intentionally designed to capture and analyze the attitudes, behaviors and opinions of residents in these communities.

The objectives of the quantitative research survey were twofold:

• To create a market segmentation analysis of the U.S. voting population that identifies which segments of voters are the most likely to generate increased support for U.S. public libraries. The segmentation study was designed to help uncover the underlying motivations and attitudes toward libraries that are indicative and predictive of their level of support for library funding.

• To understand the attitudes and behaviors of elected and appointed officials about libraries in general, the library’s importance to the community and how those attitudes impact the officials’ willingness to support local library funding.

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