Library services for all ages – building economical, equal, and complete audio collections

Date08 January 2018
Published date08 January 2018
AuthorHui-Lan H. Titangos
Subject MatterLibrary & information science,Librarianship/library management,HR in libraries,Library strategy,Library promotion
Library services for all ages
building economical, equal, and
complete audio collections
Hui-Lan H. Titangos
Santa Cruz Public Libraries, Santa Cruz, California, USA
Purpose To provide library service to users of all ages has been one of the primary missions of county
libraries since 1908 when the first branch of the first county library system was born in Sacramento as a
proud milestone in the history of California public library. It has been a constant challenge to local
governments and library staff members alike, especially when there are economic downturns or many
priority programs to balance with. The paper aims to discuss this issue.
Design/methodology/approach The paper introduces an innovative methodology incollection development
to promote the concept that library collections, traditional or digital, can serve users of all ages as long as they can
be adaptable to meet the changing needs of users, and compatible with changing information technologies.
Findings By examining the process of an audio collection integrated as part of library collections and
deeply rooted in userslives, the author reports the findings in the following areas: developing a robust audio
collection catering to all users at Santa Cruz Public Libraries, despite technological changes and limited
budget; getting involved in the whole organizations programs and projects by collaborations; offering
innovative promotion approaches; providing comprehensive subject coverage and always keeping the local
community in mind; and evolving constantly to make technologies your friends, not foes.
Research limitations/implications The paper analyzes a successful collection development experience
in audio collections to strive to realize the original county librarys ideal to serve users of all ages in California.
Practical implications The successfulcollection developmentexperience is useful not onlyfor acquisition
librarians, but a much broader audience such as librarymanagers in charge of library material budgets.
Social implications The findings point out a number of social implications confronting library
professionals worldwide. They include conflicts between usersreal needs vs our assumptions, limited budget
vs expanding coverage, and library services vs the nature of technology.
Originality/value The paper helps library professionals to develop, maintain, and succeed in their
short- and long-term goals in collection development.
Keywords Audiobooks, CD, eAudios, Economical, Equal, Playaway
Paper type Research paper
1. California County Library: background
In the Fall of 2016, Santa Cruz Public Libraries (SCPL) conducted a succession of user
surveys and concluded the following seven unique user need patterns (SCPL Library
Advisory Commission Regular Meeting, 2017):
desire for more morning and evening hours;
increased adult programming with particular interest in discussion/community
forum events;
need for both quiet spaces AND interactive spaces in each facility;
flexible multipurpose areas in each building/meeting rooms for group activities;
more materials for all ages;
more technology access that includes both proper infrastructure and training
opportunities; and
development of more partnerships and services to address the needs of people
without homes.
Library Management
Vol. 39 No. 1/2, 2018
pp. 116-142
© Emerald PublishingLimited
DOI 10.1108/LM-05-2017-0048
Received 20 May 2017
Revised 4 September 2017
Accepted 12 September 2017
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available on Emerald Insight at:
It has been more than a century since James L. Gillis, the first California State Librarian (1899-
1917), conceived the vision of a county library and its library service to be economical, equal, and
complete (California State Library, 1915). A hundred and more years later, we are still confronted
with the same need for these essential aspects of library services mentioned above:
RQ1. Is it possible to serve all ages with a fine balance?
RQ2. Is Gillisvision too lofty then to be attained today?
These are questions we would like to investigate and address with our practical experience.
Since the establishment of the first city public library in Monterey in 1849, and many
municipal libraries mushroomedthroughout the state, Gillis painfully saw a fatal limitation in
municipal/citylibraries, i.e., duplication in library materials, operatingbudgets, and personnel.
Such a large number of citylibraries put a deep dent on their municipal governments coffers.
Moreover, city libraries were too confined by their geographical boundaries and limited
budgets. Owing to theunique physical layout of California where more people resideoutside
the city or town than inside, city or town libraries would be too numerous to be sufficiently
funded. The answer was the county. California had fifty-eight counties, all of them small
enough to operate as a unit, and most of them large enough to give adequate support. And
with the countiesorganized, Californiawould be covered with a network of libraries,so unified
that they would satisfy the hope for equal, economical, completelibrary service(Eddy, 1955).
Once the idea was conceived, the State Librarian started to act. He did not wait for a
county law to be made or taken effect as The municipal library law provided a way.
Chapter 3, Article 4, sec. 22262 says, The Board of library trustees and the Board of
Supervisors of the county in which the public library is situated, may contract for lending
the books of that library to residents of the county upon reasonable compensation to be paid
by the county’” (Eddy, 1955). On October 1, 1908, the Elk Grove Library Branch, the first
branch of the first county library system was born in Sacramento. Two years later,
Santa Barbara County Library became the first county library under the 1909 California
County Free Library Law. Under the leadership of Mr Gillis and his able County Free
Library organizers, California libraries went through a political and organizational
transformation from municipal libraries to county units in one decade from 1908 to 1918.
With his untimely death in 1917, James L. Gillis did not live to see the growth and
development of his brainchild, the flourishing of county libraries in California. Generations
of dedicated librarians and library staff, however, have been inspired by Gillishope and
proclamation that The efforts for a county library to extend its services to all parts of its
area, even the most isolated and least populated, formed a saga of belief in the library and
right of every person to have access to a circulating book collection(Held, 1963). To keep
such a saga alive, it needs not only supporting revenues from local taxes, but also a
constantly monitored fine balance of prioritizing resources on the part of county libraries.
Gillishope and proclamation have still underlined the mission of a county library today,
i.e., to provide and improve service to the underserved of all ages in the state of California.
California Library Services Act of California Library Laws (2017) confirms his hope in
Sec. 18701. Legislative finding:
The Legislature finds and declares that it is in the interest of the people of the state to ensure that all
people have free and convenient access to all library resources and services that might enrich their
lives, regardless of where they live or of the tax base of their local government.
Sec. 18702 Legislative intent declares that:
It is the intent of the Legislature to provide all residents with the opportunity to obtain from their
public libraries needed materials and informational services by facilitating access to the resources
of all libraries in this state.
services for all

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