Schlow Centre Regional Library of State College, Pennsylvania Executive Summary
The Schlow Centre Regional Library proposes to update and revitalize the young adult section with new furniture and gaming supplies. Through this project, we plan to increase the youth patronage of the library and meet a critical need of the young adults in State College, PA by providing a safe haven for young people of all socioeconomic backgrounds. We are requesting $10,000 in addition to the $5,000 that has already been committed by the Friends of Schlow and the $2,000 committed from the Schlow Library annual budget to allow us to achieve this goal.
The Borough of State College is located in central Pennsylvania. Surrounded by farmland, it is the home of the main campus of The Pennsylvania State University. State College has a population of 38,000, the majority of whom are Caucasian (84%) with significant Asian (8.8%), African American (3.7%), and Native American (3.7%) communities (U.S. Census Bureau, 2000).
Due to the presence of the University, State College is an unusually young and well educated community. 67 percent of the population is between the ages of 15 – 25 (U.S. Census Bureau, 2000) and of the adult residents, 69 percent have at least an undergraduate degree (Educational Attainment Averages, 2000). The largest employers in the area are the University, the State government, the local school district, and local medical centers (Top 25 Employers).
State College is serviced by Schlow Centre Regional Library. Last year, the library moved to a new building in the downtown business district of State College. In its new home, the library enjoys a good location along a major bus route and is an easy walking distance from the campus of Pennsylvania State University.
Schlow has a collection of 133,000 items, including books, music, and video materials. The library also offers full reference service and hosts many community events and adult education opportunities. In addition to their own collection, Schlow is a member of the Centre County Federation of Public Libraries, which allows Schlow patrons full access to the collections of the other four public libraries throughout Centre County, PA.
Schlow has a diverse patron base of 40,000 cardholders. The library is a family oriented organization and has a large and well used juvenile section in addition to materials for adult patrons. Circulation of library materials in the community has risen steadily since 2005 and we enjoyed a circulation increase of 4.7 percent in 2009.
The Schlow library has a staff of 15 full time employees and 25 part time employees. Nine of the staff members hold a Master’s degree in Library and Information Science. In addition to the paid staff, we have a dedicated force of over 60 volunteers who provide thousands of hours of work each year.
Statement of Need
State College has an unusually high population of teenagers and young adults, however there is a shortage of wholesome areas throughout the community there they can gather. There are many organizations, clubs, and places of entertainment in State College, but few of them are designed to meet the developmental and social needs of the teenage community. Many of the local youth cannot take advantage of what resources there are because of high membership costs or minimal age requirements. The Schlow Library currently mirrors the rest of the community in a lack of services for young adults. We have a large and thriving children’s section with books, puzzles, toys, regular story times, and other services for young children. Similarly the adult section is well designed with open shelves, computers, comfortable seating, reference services, and classes for the community. In stark contrast, the current young adult section of the library has nothing more than a few uninviting shelves of book tucked away in a corner of the library without seating, computers, or other accommodations for young adult patrons.
There is an increasing recognition among librarians of the need to reach out to the youth of our communities. Young adults are the future patrons and donors of the libraries and the experience they have in libraries as youth will largely determine whether they bring their own children to libraries in the future. Because of this, it is important for libraries to transform their young adult section into a “youth friendly oasis” (Brautigam, 2008, p.124) where young people of all socioeconomic backgrounds can feel comfortable, find wholesome entertainment and connect with other young adults with similar interests and hobbies.
In order to truly serve young patrons, the library must to expand beyond the traditional library services and understand the needs of young adults. The teen years are a time when young people struggle with important questions of identity, self-worth, and the image they want to portray to others. In addition to academic support, libraries must provide resources to help young adults work through these questions (Pierce, 2009). One important way to serve young adults is to recognize that they have interests far beyond the books and services traditionally offered by libraries. Libraries need to expand and offer computers with games, video game consoles, and clubs and organizations for young people with similar interests (Oakley, 2008). By adding gaming materials, Schlow plans to take its first step to connect with young adult patrons.
Another critical part of becoming a youth friendly library is the physical appearance of the young adult section. Consciously or subconsciously, library patrons are affected by the physical environment of the library (Rosenblum, 2010). Youth need to feel that they have their own space in the library where their privacy is respected and where they can pursue their interests and dreams. With this plan to revitalize the young adult area and add comfortable furniture and computers, the library can become a much needed “oasis” for the youth of State College and make a lasting impact on the community.
Provide a welcoming, inviting, and safe space for youth adult patrons.
Add online and video gaming materials to the young adult section.
Add comfortable seating areas for individuals and groups in the young adult section.
Increase number of young adult patrons in the library.
Increase circulation and use of young adult material.
6 Lounge seats
16 Chairs (four per table)
2 Computer workstations (three computers per workstation)
Oct 2010 – Meet with library staff to determine best layout.
Nov 2010 – Order furniture and electronics.
Nov 2010 – Meet with library administration to discuss plans and set move-in schedule.
Dec 2010 – Prepare existing young adult area for arrival of furniture.
Jan 2011 – Announce upcoming changes through website and local media.
Jan 2011 – Move in new furniture, computers, and game counsels.
Jan 2011 – Begin monitoring changes in use and circulation of young adult material
June 2011 – Launch satisfaction survey to young adult patrons.
Method of Evaluation
We will evaluate the success of this project by a combination of observation, motoring of library statistics, and a survey given to the young adult patrons. Library staff will evaluate the initial impact of the renovation by observing and recording of any changes or increases in the use of the young adult area of the library. To more objectively monitor the project, library staff will also keep records of circulation and usage statistics of materials in the young adult sections, including books, magazine, video games, and computer use. Library staff also will monitor any increases or decreases in cardholders associated with the project.
Finally, six months after the completion of the project, we will send a survey to the young adult patrons of the library to measure their level of satisfaction with the library as well as any suggestions for continued improvement and development. To increase the number of respondents, we will enter all participants into a drawing for a new iPhone donated by the Friends of Schlow.
Sustainability of the Project
Once we have made the initial purchases of the furniture and electronics necessary for this project, the library will be able to continue to maintain and improve the young adult area. Library administration will add a line to the annual acquisitions budget for expansion and maintenance of the young adult collection. In addition the Friends of Schlow have agreed that a part of their annual contributions will be reserved for the continued improvement of the young adult section.
Video game consoles
Computers and Video games
Shipping, tax, publicity, etc
Friends of Schlow
Funds solicited from your organization
The Schlow Centre Regional Library seeks to bring more young patrons into the library and meet the real needs of the rising generation. By adding new furniture and a gaming section to the young adult area of the library, we will be able to better serve the community; and provide a welcoming and safe place for young people to gather. In this effort, we will be investing not only in the future of the Schlow Library but also in the future of the Borough of State College.
Brautigam, P. (2008). Helping to construct the successful teen. Voice Youth Advocate, 31(2) 124-125. Retrieved from http://vnweb.hwwilsonweb.com.
Creakman, R., Diaz-Toclaro, M., Domingues, L., Ellis, K., Emmrich, M. K., Hamilton, V., Schulte, R., Sommers, K. (2008). Teen space picks. Library Journal, Spring, 18-21, 24-25. Retrieved from http://vnweb.hwwilsonweb.com.
Oakley, T. (2008). Circulating video games: the next step in public library service. School Library Journal, 54(4), 30-32. Retrieved from http://vnweb.hwwilsonweb.com.
Pierce, J. B. (2009). Redeeming our relevance. American Libraries, 40(11), 59. Retrieved from http://vnweb.hwwilsonweb.com.
Rosenblum, L (2010). How to thrive by design in tough times. American Libraries, 41(1-2), 40-43. Retrieved from http://vnweb.hwwilsonweb.com.
StateCollege.Com. (2000). Educational attainment averages. Retrieved from http://www.statecollege.com/demographics/pa_degree.php
StateCollege.Com. (2006, February 1). Top 25 employers. Retrieved from http://www.statecollege.com/demographics/pa_top25employers.php
U.S. Census Bureau. (2000). Census 2000 summary file, State College, Pennsylvania. Retrieved from http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/QTTable?_bm=y&-qr_name=DEC_2000_SF1_U_DP1&-ds_name=DEC_2000_SF1_U&-_lang=en&-geo_id=16000US4273808