Program Proposal Northwest Regional Library, Broward County Libraries



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Program Proposal

Northwest Regional Library, Broward County Libraries (Coral Springs, Florida)

Creative Writing and Distribution Workshops for High Schoolers

Submitted by: Evan Silverstein


1. Community

The Northwest Regional Branch of the Broward County Library system serves the city of Coral Springs, Florida. Coral Springs is part of the South Florida metropolitan area (10 miles from Boca Raton, 20 miles from Fort Lauderdale, 40 miles from West Palm Beach, and 40 miles from Miami). The Everglades run along the entire western border of the city. Coral Springs, incorporated in 1963, is a planned city with a traditional sprawl layout (Coral Springs Official Website). The city has a reputation as an affluent suburb friendly to families. In 2007, it was named the 10th safest city in the U.S. by Morgan Quinto Press (Morgan Quinto Press Website).

According to the 2006-2008 American Community Survey administered by the U.S. Census Bureau, 126,702 people live in Coral Springs. Of that population, 58.3% are White (74.3% is the national average), 22.7% are Hispanic or Latino (15.1% national average), 12.1% are Black or African American (12.3% national average), and 5.1% are Asian (4.4% national average), making Coral Spring a relatively diverse community. The city is slightly younger on average with only 71.1% of its residents 18 years of age or older (75.5% national average). The median household income is $77,032 ($52,175 national average). Only 7% of the individuals in Coral Springs are below the poverty level (13.2% national average). Of the population 25 years of age and older, 92.3% have graduated from high school (84.5% national average) and 36% have a Bachelor’s degree or higher (27.4% national average) (U.S. Census Bureau).

The Broward County Library system was created in 1973 and is made up of participating cities within the county. The mission of the library system is to “provide convenient access to a full range of innovative and cost-effective services that satisfy the changing needs of the people of Broward County for information, education and recreation” (Broward County Library Website, Mission). The Broward County Library system was named library of the year in 1996-97 by Library Journal and Gale Research (Broward County Library Website, About Us).


2. Target Audience

The program will target high school students in Coral Springs. According to the 2006-2008 American Community Survey, 8% of the population of Coral Springs is enrolled in high school (5.7% U.S. Average) (U.S. Census Bureau).

Young adults of this age are known to detach from the community as they search for identity and independence. Librarians at the Northwest Regional Library confirm that this age group is not known to use the library, either for the collection or programming. As a result, the library has lessened efforts targeted at this group and they have therefore become even more underserved. The program will seek to provide a setting within the community that allows older teens both the freedom and challenge they desire.

For the purposes of their recent study “Toward a Model of the Everyday Life Information Needs of Urban Teenagers,” Agosto and Hughes-Hassell (2006) summarize the findings on the information behavior of not just urban teens but teens in general dating back to the 1970s. The common topics of interest to adolescents mentioned in the cited studies relate to school, future plans, entertainment, socializing, health, and self-actualization. The general consensus of the literature reviewed is that adolescents do not go to the library to find the information they need (p. 1395-6). The methods of information seeking of high schoolers change rapidly as technology and web resources evolve.


3. Statement of Need

The Northwest Regional Library currently does not proportionally serve high school age adolescents in Coral Springs. This age group is in particular need of the programming services the library can provide during the after school hours. Evidence shows an increased risk of delinquency during this time. High school age adolescents are tough to engage because they belong to a new generation that consumes and creates information in a more dynamic way. In partnership with the high schools, the public library seeks to engage this audience in effective ways to address these needs.


Need: Address after school delinquency of high schoolers

There are a number of studies that show the need for after school programs for teens. Gottfredson1 et al. (2004) in their study “Do After School Programs Reduce Delinquency?” summarize a number of previous studies showing increased juvenile crime during the hours 2pm to 6pm. They explain that these studies generally show increased effectiveness for after school programs that engage the participants rather than simply provide them a space to spend these hours (p. 254). Mediavilla (2001) in her article “Why Library Homework Centers extend Society’s Safety Net,” also summarizes research showing increased risk for kids during the hours following school. She explains that adolescents left alone during this period are more likely to give in to peer pressure, commit illegal activities, and develop difficulty with classwork and social situations than kids who participate in after-school programs (p. 42). Gottfredson, Gottfredson, and Weisman (2001) in their report “Timing of Delinquent Behavior and Its Implications for After-School Programs,” confirmed this time period as the most dangerous for adolescents through studies citing self-reports by the adolescents themselves rather than official crime reports (p. 61-86). The Northwest Regional Library can present itself as a practical necessity for the community by focusing resources on after-school programming for young adults.


Need: Engage the information generation

Public libraries are in a unique situation in which they are a public service which must prove its worth to officials and other funders by actively engaging and bringing in users. Public libraries struggle with how to engage the public in a society with ever-changing information habits and, therefore, struggle to solidify funding in a stretched economy. Teens are especially difficult to engage, as they are early adopters of this new technology. In order to solidify itself as a need within the community, the Northwest Regional Library needs to show that it can meet the advanced information needs of and actively engage the young information generation. This new generation is just as interested in information creation and distribution as it is in information gathering. A number of articles elaborate on research showing the creative, dynamic information needs of users who form these needs within the digital society. Prtichard (2008), in her article “Deconstructing the Library: Reconceptualizing Collections, Spaces, and Services,” explains that the current static systems of the physical public library are in direct contrast to dynamic way information is accessed digitally and therefore the mindset of its users. She explains that the library is a passive set of systems designed to await the user. The digital environment has challenged the passive reliance of books. The user has limitless choices and expects to “interact in a dynamic way with information, creating and reshaping the information and the organizing systems as their needs and mental models evolve” (p. 221). An evolved user who is more active and creative is the cause for change.  The way people interact with information and what they seek from it has progressed.  People have the capacity and therefore the need to create. Boyd (2008), in her article “Why Youth Social Network Sites: The Role of Networked Publics in Teenage Social Life," relates these changing information needs to teens and their use of social networking sites. She explains the need to help teens navigate this more dynamic and public information landscape:

…teens live in a society whose public life is changing rapidly. Teens need access to these publics—both mediated and unmediated—to mature, but their access is regularly restricted. Yet, this technology and networked publics are not going away. As a society, we need to figure out how to educate teens to navigate social structures that are quite unfamiliar to us because they will be faced with these publics as adults, even if we try to limit their access now. Social network sites have complicated our lives because they have made this rapid shift in public life very visible. Perhaps instead of trying to stop them or regulate usage, we should learn from what teens are experiencing. They are learning to navigate networked publics; it is in our better interest to figure out how to help them. (p. 22-3)

Pink (2005) focuses on creativity as a means of thriving in the new information society. In his article “Revenge of the Right Brain,” he argues, “In a world upended by outsourcing, deluged with data, and choked with choices, the abilities that matter most are now closer in spirit to the specialties of the right hemisphere [of the brain]- artistry, empathy, seeing the big picture, and pursuing the transcendent” (p. 1, para. 5). He claims computer automation is fulfilling the brunt of redundant and analytical left-brain tasks. Additionally, the abundance of choices created by new advances is causing people to search for more meaning and quality, further emphasizing creativity and use of the right side of the brain. He states, “We've progressed from a society of farmers to a society of factory workers to a society of knowledge workers. And now we're progressing yet again-to a society of creators and empathizers, pattern makers, and meaning makers” (p. 2, para. 9). Pink claims we are evolving from the Information Age to what he calls the “Conceptual Age.”


Need: Collaborate with high schools

In order to better serve older teens, there is a need to collaborate with the high schools. At a time when the roles of information provider and teacher are not clear, public libraries and high schools need to work together if they want to engage this elusive age target. Clay (2009), in his paper “The Partnership Between Public Libraries and Public Education,” explains that public libraries and schools make for perfect partners since both are constantly struggling to transform in order to fulfill their missions (p. 11). With so much overlap in their goals, the public library and schools can help each other thrive during inevitable growing pains and strained economic times.


Relating the needs to the community

Interviews with high school teachers and librarians in the community confirmed that the needs explained through the research above apply to the city of Coral Springs. John Doe and Jane Smith, both librarians at the Northwest Regional Library, state that older teens are uncommon to the library, especially when compared to the proportion of the local population they represent. These librarians admit that the resources available to this age group in the Northwest Regional Library are limited. They estimate that 35% of their resources are targeted at users under the age of 18 but nearly all of that is focused towards kids between the ages of 2 and 13. The librarians recall past programming efforts that included a movie night and a book club dedicated to older teens but say attendance was extremely low. There have been no subsequent efforts to target to this audience since the failure of these programs.

Michael Smitts, an English teach at Coral Spings High School in for 17 years, believes the current curriculum does not do enough to address the changing interests of his students. He attempts to integrate Internet resources into his assignments as much as possible but generally finds his students to be frustrated by the lack of creativity and independence they can display through the current curriculum. Michelle Wells, and English teacher at Taravella High School also in Coral Springs, speaks of similar concerns. She attempted to get together a creative writing club together for a group of interested students but could not get it approved by the school due to lack of funds. She wonders what those students do with their time after school and hopes they are not part of the recent need for added security around the immediate area of the school grounds during after school hours.
Relating the needs to the library’s mission

The needs established above all address issues that relate to the library’s mission. Providing an after school program for older teens addresses the need to provide this age group (who are part of “the people of Broward County”) with needed “information, education and recreation” services. Providing a program that directly addresses the dynamic information habits of this target audience allows the library to address their “changing needs” in a way that provides “a full range of innovative and cost-effective services.” Collaborating with local high schools better helps address the educational needs of this age group.


4. Intended Results

This program hopes to provide a place for older teens to go after school. By having this place, they will decrease their chances of involvement in crimes and other delinquent behavior. The program will also serve as increased effort to address this underserved population. If the program succeeds in getting teens to show up for it, it will be because they have found an avenue that consistently engages them in a way that addresses their changing information habits. Providing this engagement is the key intended result of the program. Seeing the output of the efforts of ongoing project and how those efforts fit into the more inviting information process of today will encourage more creation and general confidence in the participants. The program seeks to provide a truly engaging atmosphere where the teens find they can learn, create, and find independence and a unique identity within a community that includes other like-minded, creative participants as well volunteers and librarians who represent the community as large.

Incidentally, the library also serves to benefit as a result of the program because it will be recruiting a new generation of patrons by solidifying its role as a place that understands the information needs of the future. Additionally, through the collaboration with the local high schools, the program offers added educational benefits for the target audiences but also provides general outreach benefits for the library as it aims to extend its role in the community.

On an even grander scale, there are great societal benefits to promoting the facilitation of creativity in the public library.  It makes creativity accessible to everyone, removing the elitist stigma.  Because of the new, less expensive technologies and the guidance and physical space public libraries can provide, creativity can be seen as not a luxury but rather as something important and available to everyone. 


5. Program Design and Evaluation Plan
5.1 Partner Organizations
Coral Springs High School, J.P. Taravella High School, and Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School

The majority of the target audience for this program attends one of these high schools. Relationships have been established with teachers at each school. The teachers will promote the program to their students and offer extra credit to students who participate. The teachers will also be valuable in the evaluation of the effectiveness of the program, as they will be able to help track improvements in the participants writing skills. Coral Springs High School and Taravella High School are located in Coral Springs. Douglas High School is located in the neighboring city of Parkland but a large portion of its students live in Coral Springs.


Broward College, Florida Atlantic University, and Nova Southeastern University

Departments of English, creative writing, literature, education, and related areas have been contacted at each of these nearby colleges in hopes of finding volunteers to run the program alongside the young adult librarian. Many have agreed to allow the library to place flyers in their buildings calling for program volunteers. Additionally, many of the professors have agreed to mention the program to their students. Past experience has shown that college students are willing to volunteer because they have the available time and seek the work experience. Additionally, high school age teens respond well to college age mentors. All of these colleges are located within a 25 minute drive of the Northwest Regional Library.


5.2 Program Goals & Objectives

See attached “Worksheet for Determining Goals, Objectives, Outcomes, Activities, and Resources.


The goals stated in the worksheet correspond directly to the needs established in the section “Statement of Need – Relating the needs to the mission.” As explained there, all of the needs relate directly to the library’s mission.
5.3 Project Activities/Services

Note: All actions below to be performed by young adult librarian unless otherwise indicated.


Service 1 – Recruitment of teachers

  1. Contact local high schools and request names and contact information of teachers of relevant topics.

  2. Contact teachers and request meeting either in person or by phone.

  3. Meet with teachers.

  4. Discuss overall program strategy and potential workshop topics with teachers.

  5. Establish strategy of recruitment of students with teachers, recommending they offer extra credit to participating students.

  6. Follow up as necessary.


Service 2 – Recruitment of volunteers

  1. Contact local colleges and request access to post flyers. Also request contact information of professors teaching relevant subjects.

  2. Contact professors and ask that they mention the program to their students, past and present.

  3. Put up signs around the library and post to the library website and Facebook page calling for volunteers (include young adult librarian contact information in signs and postings).

  4. Collect contact information from interested volunteers. Set up meetings at the library with the volunteers.

  5. Meet with interested volunteers to discuss the program.

  6. Follow up as necessary.

Note: There is no set number of volunteers needed. Anywhere from 0-4 volunteers will be scheduled to assist the young adult librarian at any given time.
Service 3 – Recruitment/registration of participants

  1. Teachers explain program to students.

  2. Answer any questions prospective participants may have

  3. Gather list of names and contact information of participating students from teachers.

  4. If participant goal is not reached, put up signs around the library and post to the library website and Facebook page calling for participants (include young adult librarian contact information in signs and postings).

  5. Collect names, contact information, teacher name, teacher contact information, parent name, and parent contact information of participants learning of the program through the signs or postings.

  6. Contact teachers of these participants to establish their role in the program (If the teacher is unable to participate then a parent may be used as a secondary option).

  7. Send out email to all registered participants explaining the program details and requesting a writing sample less than 6 months old to be used in the evaluation process (the writing sample is required).


Service 4 – Setting up commons area, reserved computer area, and classroom (with computers)

  1. Pull tables, couches, chairs from storage.

  2. Arrange tables, couches, and chairs to form commons area.

  3. Gather print creative writing resources from the library’s collection and set them up on a table in the commons area.

  4. Make signs designating commons area, reserved computers, and special print resources area.

  5. Make sure all computers in the classroom and reserved area are functioning properly and will fulfill the participants’ computing needs.


Activity 1 – General commons/work time

  1. Participants sign in when arriving to the commons area.

  2. Participants work on their individual works, using laptops or reserved computers.

  3. Participants discuss ideas and collaborate with other participants.

  4. Participants utilize print and online resources provided to them by young adult librarian.

  5. Volunteers and young adult librarian assist participants as needed.

  6. Encourage participants to decorate and think of a name for the commons area.


Activity 2 – Workshops

  1. Participants sign in as they arrive in the classroom

  2. Volunteer or young adult librarian guides the participants through a discussion on a predetermined topic. (There will be one topic per week. Topics will be decided as the needs of the participants are determined but will at least include word processing, writing resources and tools, online literary blogs/journals, distributing work via social networking sites, and self-publishing tools.) The first workshop of the term will occur on the first day of the term and will be used for introductions, explanation of the program details, and distribution of beginning of the term participant surveys.

  3. Class discussion and group work will be encouraged.

  4. Participants are required to print out and share work to be discussed by the class at least once a month.


Activity 3 – Distribution of individual works and collection of works

  1. Participants identify at least five avenues to distribute their individual works online.

  2. Collectively, participants research and decide on a self-publishing method to create a print collection of their works.

  3. Participants design the cover artwork for the collection.

  4. Participants raise the money needed to for the printing of the print collection (Car washes or donations from parents will be encouraged).

  5. Participants communicate with self-publishing service as needed, submitting materials as needed.

  6. Young adult librarian catalogs and adds finished book to the library’s collection.

  7. Post information about the book on the library’s website and Facebook page.


Service 5 – Submit press release to local newspapers and blogs

  1. Research contacts at local newspapers and blogs

  2. Write up press release that includes information on the printed collection and details about the program

  3. Follow up with newspaper and blog contacts as needed


Service 6 – Evaluation materials administered to participants and teachers

  1. Email surveys to participants.

  2. Follow up as needed.

  3. Send prior and current works to teachers (or parents) for evaluation.

  4. Follow up as needed.

  5. Collect evaluation materials and review them.


Service 7 – Follow up with past participants, teachers, and volunteers about participation and recruitment for next term

  1. Email and/or call teachers, asking them to participate and help recruit students for the next term.

  2. Email and/or call past volunteers, asking them to participate in the next term and help recruit friends.

  3. Email and/or call past participants, asking them to participate in the next term and help recruit friends.

  4. Repeat original recruitment steps (Services 1-3) as needed.


5.4 Scheduling and Resources
Term 1: September 13, 2010-December 10, 2010 (13 weeks)

Term 2: January 10, 2011- April 14, 2011 (13 weeks)

(Program terms are meant to mirror the school terms. Term 1 starts a few weeks after the beginning of school to allow time for initial participant recruitment.)
Service 1 - Recruitment of teachers

The 2 months leading up to the start of the first term.



Resources

  • Personnel

    • Young adult librarian

    • Teachers

  • Materials, equipment, supplies, and special services

    • Computer, internet connection, and phone for communication.


Service 2 - Recruitment of volunteers

The 2 months leading up to the start of the first term.



Resources

  • Personnel

    • Young adult librarian

    • Volunteers

    • Professors

  • Materials, equipment, supplies, and special services

    • Paper and printer for flyers

    • Computer, internet connection, and phone for communication.

    • Library website and Facebook page


Service 3 - Recruitment/registration of participants

The month leading up to the start of the first term.



Resources

  • Personnel

    • Young adult librarian

    • Teachers

  • Materials, equipment, supplies, and special services

    • Computer, internet connection, and phone for communication.

    • Library’s website and Facebook page.

    • Paper and printer for flyers.


Service 4 - Setting up commons area, reserved computer area, and classroom

The week leading up to the start of the first term.



Resources

  • Personnel

    • Young adult librarian

  • Materials, equipment, supplies, and special services

    • Classroom with computers, tables, and chairs for the workshops

    • Couches for commons area

    • Tables for commons area

    • Signs indicating commons area

    • Table for print resources collection

    • Print resources on creative writing from the library’s collection

    • Computer, printer, and paper to create signs


Activity 1 - General commons/work time

2-6pm, Monday- Friday during Terms 1 and 2



Resources

  • Personnel

    • Young adult librarian

    • Volunteers

  • Materials, equipment, supplies, and special services

    • Couches for commons area

    • Tables for commons area

    • Signs indicating commons area

    • Table for print resources

    • Print resources on creative writing

    • Computer, printer, and paper to create online resource lists


Activity 2 - Workshops

3:30-4:30pm, Tuesdays and Thursdays during Terms 1 and 2



Resources

  • Personnel

    • Young adult librarian

    • Volunteers

  • Materials, equipment, supplies, and special services

    • Classroom with computers, internet connection, tables, and chairs

    • Printer and paper (for participant works to workshop and participant surveys)


Activity 3 - Publishing and distribution of individual works and collection works

Ongoing during general commons/work time and workshops during the last two weeks of each term



Resources

  • Personnel

    • Young adult librarian

    • Volunteers

  • Materials, equipment, supplies, and special services

    • Classroom with computers, tables, and chairs for the workshops

    • Computer, internet connection, and phone for communication

    • Library’s website and Facebook page

  • Support services

    • Self-publishing tool



Service 5 - Submit press release to local newspapers and blogs

The week following the end of each term.



Resources

  • Personnel

    • Young adult librarian

  • Materials, equipment, supplies, and special services

    • Computer, internet connection, and phone for communication


Service 6 - Evaluation materials administered to participants and teachers

The week following the end of each term.



Resources

  • Personnel

    • Young adult librarian

    • Teachers

  • Materials, equipment, supplies, and special services

    • Computer, internet connection, and phone for communication


Service 7 - Follow up with past participants and teachers about recruitment for next term

One month leading up to the start of subsequent terms (will overlap with some of the above activities/services)



Resources

  • Personnel

    • Young adult librarian

    • Teachers

    • Volunteers

  • Materials, equipment, supplies, and special services

    • Computer, internet connection, and phone for communication

    • Library’s website and Facebook page


5.5 Method of Evaluation (about 2 pages)
See attached “Outcomes-Based Evaluation Planning Table.”
Methods used in the evaluation process:

  • Survey given to participants at the beginning and end of each term.

  • Evaluation of works by teachers.

  • Review of number of participants.

  • Review of number of teacher contacts.


5.6 Budget (about 1 page)

  • Classroom (owned by library)

  • Computers (owned by library)

  • Internet connection (owned by library)

  • Tables (owned by library)

  • Chairs (owned by library)

  • Time of Volunteers, estimated 32 hours a week total (volunteered)

  • Time of Teachers, estimated 3 hours per term per teacher (volunteered)

  • Time of young adult librarian, 16 hours a week, 26 weeks (16 hours x 26 weeks x $22/hour = $9,152, funding from staffing budget, $0 cost to program)

  • Couches (owned by library)

  • Paper and printer ink for flyers, signs, and surveys (estimated $30, funding from library supplies budget, $0 cost to program)

  • Printer (owned by library)

  • Library website (owned by library)

  • Library Facebook page (owned by library)

  • Print resources on creative writing from the libraries collection (owned by library)

  • Publication of collection of works, 3 copies (3x$20/copy = $60 total, donations by parents of participants or other fundraising means, $0 cost to program)

Total cost of resources: $9,242

Total budget of program: $0
6. A selective bibliography of materials on the topic
Agosto, D. and Hughes-Hasses, S. (2006). Toward a model of the everyday life information needs of urban teenagers, part 1: Theoretical model. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 57(10), 1394-1404.

Boyd, D. (2007) “Why Youth (Heart) Social Network Sites: The Role of Networked Publics in Teenage Social Life.” MacArthur Foundation Series on Digital Learning – Youth, Identity, and Digital Media Volume (ed. David Buckingham). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Clay, E. (2009). The Partnership between Public Libraries and Public Education. Virginia Libraries, 55(2), 11-14.

Gottredson, D.C., Gerstenblith, S.A., Soule, D.A., Womer, S.C., and Lu, S. (2004). Do after school programs reduce delinquency? Prevention Science, 5(4), 253-66.

Gottfredson, D.C., Gottfredson, G.D., and Weisman, S.E. (2001). The timing of delinquent behavior and its implications for after-school programs. Criminology & Public Policy, 1(1), 61-86.

Kenney, B. (2006). A challenge to library directors. School Library Journal, 52(11), 11.

Mediavilla, C. (2001). Why library homework centers extend society's safety net. American Libraries, 32(11), 40-2.

Pritchard, S. (2008). Deconstructing the library: Reconceptualizing collections, spaces and services. Journal of Library Administration, 48(2), 219-33.


Web resources used for statistical research:

Broward County Library Website, 2010. About Us. Retrieved May 1, 2010, from http://www.broward.org/library/aboutus.htm.

Broward County Library Website, 2010. Mission. Retrieved May 1, 2010, from http://www.broward.org/library/mission.htm.

Coral Sprints Official Website, 2010. History of Coral Spring. Retrieved June 1, 2010, from http://www.coralsprings.org/history/CityHistory.pdf.



Morgan Quinto Press website, 2010. Top 25 Cities Overall. Retrieved June 1, 2010, from http://www.morganquitno.com/cit07pop.htm#25.

United States Census Bureau, American Factfinder Website, 2010. 2006-2008 American Community Survey 3-Year Estimates, Coral Springs, Florida. Retrieved June 1 2010, from http://factfinder.census.gov/.
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