Clayton County Public Library System: Diversifying Funding Sources

Subject: Strategic Management
Pages: 20
Words: 5619
Reading time:
22 min
Study level: PhD

Opening Statement

Public libraries continue to attract millions of users as demonstrated by their heavily trafficked websites and the ability to remain among the most trusted public institutions not only in the United States but also globally (Clark & Davis, 2009; Goodman, 2008). Allen (2003) employs the public choice theoretical framework to demonstrate that higher levels of public library services and constructive opinions of the quality of these services should correlate positively with elevated levels of funding for the libraries. Yet, in the face of sustained budget cuts caused by local government restructuring and the ineligibility of libraries to compete for federal funding, it is increasingly dawning on stakeholders that public libraries are among the most underfunded public institutions globally (DeAlmeida, 1997; Goodman, 2008). Consequently, in response to these deficiencies, public libraries are under pressure to examine and implement alternative sources of funding (Potts & Roper, 1995; Senkevitch, 1999). However, while there has been significant research into the funding deficiencies that libraries face and the role of government funding in addressing these deficits (Allen, 2003; Holt, 2005; Sullivan, 2007), little attention has been given to examining how these institutions can rely more on alternative funding sources. Diversifying funding sources for public libraries can lead to financial sustainability and efficient delivery of services to users.

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Background of the Study

In the past few decades, scholars within the library domain have devoted much of their attention to understanding why public libraries continue to be underfunded despite their increasing importance (Goodman, 2008; Erway, 2012). From cumulative research findings, it is clear that the earlier model of funding public libraries using tax revenues and other forms of government funding is no longer feasible; hence, these institutions are facing immense challenges in the provision of services at no additional cost to users (Allen, 2003; Clark & Davis, 2009). Most public libraries have adopted various strategies to build up their tax bases, including networking, automation, and charging fees. According to Leuzinger (2013), the elimination of other service points and consolidation of duties would enable libraries to provide quality services at a reduced cost. However, these techniques have their drawbacks and do not always result in financial sustainability, and thus ineffective techniques. The increasing use of public libraries has put more pressure on available resources, and thus necessitating the expansion of libraries for them to be sustainable (Obinyan, Obinyan, & Aidenojie, 2011). Therefore, it becomes important to examine alternative sources of funding in an attempt to achieve financial sustainability through diversification of the sources.

Problem Statement

The problem is that the Clayton County Public Library System is increasingly facing budget deficits that require to be addressed to enable the library to continue providing the most needed services to users. From the library’s website, it is clear that the system depends on funding from the local government, grants, and Friends of the Library (FOL) fundraisers (Clayton County Public Library System, 2014). Drawing on the available literature, it is evident that these sources of funding can never be enough to run the operations of the library, not to mention that they may be constricted further, as money for libraries become increasingly difficult to obtain and the competition for these resources becomes fierce each year (Agosto, 2008; Bedford & Gracy, 2012; DeAlmeida, 1997; Sullivan, 2007). At present, however, there is an inadequate industry-wide snapshot of how public libraries can diversify their funding sources to become more financially stable, and if adopting alternative sources of funding for these institutions is beneficial in the long term. Consequently, there is a need to undertake a quantitative research study with a descriptive design to provide solutions to the highlighted gaps in knowledge.

Purpose of the Study

Research design

The study uses a cross-sectional research design, a descriptive type, in performing a quantitative study to determine the relationship between sources of funds and their sustainability. Since the project utilizes a quantitative research methodology with a descriptive design (Creswell, 2009), the researcher will attempt to measure or look for statistical relationships between financial sustainability, and the use of alternative funding sources. It is documented in the literature that alternative sources of funding include foundations, businesses and corporations, professional associations, partnerships, and book funds, while traditional sources include grants, the federal government, local government, and library associations (Goodman, 2008; Sullivan, 2007). However, the proposed study focuses on partnerships, joint ventures, and organizational sponsorships as the main alternative sources of funding in the process of assessing, and testing the independent variable. The public-private library relationships and traditional-alternative sources of funding are important concepts that will be used as moderating factors in measuring the statistical relationships between the independent and dependent variables.

Theoretical Framework

The Austrian theory of efficiency forms the study’s framework. The theory defines efficiency as applications of alternatives that serve the desired objective and offers a basis for developing efficient strategies that the library can use to diversify its sources of funds, and use sources that are reliable and have favorable terms (Cordato, 1980, Roy, 2007; Seppanen, & Laitinen, 2012).). Hence, the proposed study aims to provide answers to the key research questions by examining the interrelated concepts as demonstrated in the description of the variable. Financial sustainability can be described as the capacity of the institution to provide comprehensive services to users without experiencing shocks, impairments, or likelihood of disruptions arising from financial constraints (Agosto, 2008; Clark and Davis, 2009). Thus, the Austrian Theory of Efficiency is appropriate for the study.

Intention

The main purpose of the proposed study is to identify sources of funds that Clayton County Public Library System requires to enhance its long-term sustainability, and thus diversify its sources of funds. In this perspective, since financial sustainability is a dependent variable, an ordinal scale that shows the extent of sustainability measures each source of funds, alternative or traditional sources. A peripheral objective of the study is to determine the extent to which the alternative sources of funds enhance long-term financial sustainability when compared to traditional sources of funding. The alternative sources of funding include foundations, businesses and corporations, professional associations, partnerships, and book funds, while traditional sources include grants, the federal government, local government, and library associations (Goodman, 2008; Sullivan, 2007). Examining these sources is of immense importance for Clayton County Public Library System, particularly in the context of identifying the most viable ones to be included in a master plan aimed at increasing funding to the library to enhance the financial stability of the library, and consequently enable it to meet its expanding obligations.

Variables

Available literature demonstrates that while the independent variable denotes the factor that researchers manipulate to determine its relationship to an observed phenomenon of interest, the dependent variable denotes the factor that researchers measure to determine the strength of the effect of the independent variable (Creswell, 2009). Consequently, in the proposed study, the independent variables include diverse sources of funds, while the dependent variable is financial sustainability.

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Research Questions and Hypothesis

Research questions

The proposed study is guided by the following questions:

  1. RQ1: Do partnerships, joint ventures, and organizational sponsorships increase the financial sustainability of the public library when they form part of the alternative funding package?
  2. RQ2: Do alternative sources of funding provide long-term financial sustainability to the public library than traditional sources?
  3. RQ3: What are the dominant sources of funds that the library needs to enhance its long-term financial sustainability?

Hypotheses

The proposed study aims to reject or accept the following hypotheses:

  1. H0: Partnerships, joint ventures, and organizational sponsorships do not increase the long-term financial sustainability of the public library.
  2. H1: Partnerships, joint ventures, and organizational sponsorships increase the long-term financial sustainability of the public library.
  3. H0: Alternative sources of funding have more long-term benefits for the public library than traditional sources.
  4. H1: Alternative sources of funds do not have more long-term benefits for the public library than traditional sources.
  5. H0: The dominant sources of funds that are sustainable are not reliable and consistent, and significant.
  6. H1: The dominant sources of funds that are sustainable are not reliable and consistent, and significant.

The independent variable, which is the sources of funds, is a categorical variable that describes the sources of funds. Comparatively, the dependent variable is financial sustainability, which shows the degree of sustainability in a quantitative form.

Nature of the Study

The nature of a study that researchers perform is dependent on many factors that range from research design to methodology. Research design is central in research activities because it dictates the nature of the study in terms of the variables and the type of data necessary. According to Caruth (2013), research design, which is an indispensable aspect of research, is a framework that holds the research activities together, and consequently determines the outcomes of research. The methodology is also an integral aspect of research as it determines the process of selecting samples and collecting data. The methodology should be in tandem with the research design for the research to provide valid and reliable information for analysis. Bergold and Thomas 2012) state that methodology provides a sequence of activities that guide researchers when undertaking pertinent tasks in a research process. Thus, in this section, the study will examine the research design and aspects of methodology such as population, sampling, instrumentation and materials, and data analysis. Moreover, in this section, the study will focus on the limitations of the study and ethical concerns that need consideration.

Research design

The research applies pragmatism as a paradigm of research in establishing the relationship between sources of funds and the financial sustainability of the Clayton Public Library System. Wahyuni (2012) states that pragmatism applies research approaches such as ontology and epistemology in understanding a given phenomenon. While ontology is an approach that gives how one perceives reality, epistemology is an approach that deals with knowledge and skills relating to a certain phenomenon. Hence, pragmatism combines the two approaches and enables researchers to gain a comprehensive view of a research problem. The pragmatic paradigm favors pragmatic researchers as they work with quantitative data (Wahyuni, 2012). In this view, pragmatism is appropriate for the study because it is a quantitative study, which aims at describing the relationship between sources of funds and financial sustainability of the Clayton Public Library System.

Researchers apply several research designs when performing different types of research. A research design is important because it guides researchers in the collection, analysis, interpretation, and presentation of data in a scientific manner (Mangal, 2013, Meyer, 2010, Punch, 2005). The types of research usually vary according to the nature of data that research aims to collect, objectives of the research, and application of research. Regarding the nature of data, the research can collect qualitative data, quantitative data, or both forms of data. Mangal (2010) argues that a mixture of qualitative and quantitative data enriches and broadens research questions through integration, triangulation, and synthesis. A study can also vary depending on the objectives of the research. As objectives, a study can be a descriptive and an exploratory one, which aims at describing and exploring the relationship of various variables respectively. Ultimately, a study can vary according to its application, be it applied research or pure research. Thus, due to the existence of various types of research designs, the research paper assesses various research designs and recommends the appropriate design of the study, which seeks to find ways of diversifying sources of funds to enhance the financial sustainability of the Clayton County Public Library System, Georgia

The study will utilize a quantitative form of research technique when assessing the sustainability of various sources of funds that the Clayton Public Library System requires to enhance its financial sustainability. The quantitative research technique is appropriate for the study because it examines the study seeks to quantify the sustainability of various sources of funds that Clayton Public Library System relies upon the provision of its services to varied library users. According to Dawson, Hsieh, and Carlin (2012), the quantitative technique is advantageous in research because it allows researchers to test their hypotheses scientifically. In this view, the study has set null and alternative hypotheses, which require quantitative data to prove their validity. Hence, the quantitative technique is a central paradigm in various researches that require analysis of data using statistical tools like statistical package for social sciences (SPSS).

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Non-experimental design

The study uses a non-experimental research design in conducting the quantitative study to assess the sustainability of diverse sources of funds Clayton Public Library System needs to enhance its financial sustainability. Given that the study is descriptive, it seeks to describe the relationships between sources of funds and the financial sustainability of the Clayton Public Library System. Campbell and Stanley (1963) state that a non-experimental research design is applicable in instances where it is impossible to manipulate the variables of a study. Since the study is dealing with the Clayton Public Library System, it is extremely difficult to manipulate sources of funds, and thus the non-experimental research design is appropriate in studying its financial sustainability. The process of non-experimental research entails identification of research problems, selection of variables, collection of data, analysis of data, and eventually presentation (Cui, Song, Chuang, & Xie, 2012). Hence, the non-experimental research design is descriptive as it attempts to describe the state of an issue, and thus provides the scientific basis of making sound inferences and predictions. In this view, a descriptive study of the Clayton Public Library System is essential to provide a basis for diversifying sources of funds to enhance the financial sustainability of the library.

Cross-sectional design

A cross-sectional research design is like a quasi-experimental research design, as it often relies on natural settings in experimenting. The use of natural settings as experimental conditions is the strength of the cross-sectional research design because it enhances the external validity of the findings. Elmes, Kantowitz, and Roediger (2011) explain that cross-sectional research design applies descriptive and observational approaches in analyzing a given phenomenon in natural settings. Thus, the cross-sectional research design has a strong external validity because it has minimal effect of sampling bias. Furthermore, the lack of randomization is also the strength of the cross-sectional design (Gravetter & Forzano, 2010). The lack of randomization avoids biases, which usually influence the assignment of participants to control and experimental groups. Babbie (2012) identifies the descriptive ability of the cross-sectional design as the strength. Since the cross-sectional design describes the association of variables, it provides an in-depth view of a given study.

One limitation of the cross-sectional design is that it is prone to spurious effects, which emanate from confounding variables because researchers are unable to control the extrinsic and intrinsic variables (Little, 2013). The second limitation is that the cross-sectional design is prone to selection bias. Stangor (2010) holds that poor sampling procedure is prone to selection bias, which is a limitation of the cross-sectional design because it entails the selection of participants or objects of study. As a third limitation, the cross-sectional research design aims at proving the existence of an association between variables but does not aim to prove the existence of causation between independent t and dependent variables of a study (Alder & Clark, 2010). Thus, one cannot establish causal relationships using a cross-sectional design.

The rationale for the design

Research designs that researchers apply in various studies vary according to the nature of data, objectives, and application of research. Experimental research design, quasi-experimental research design, and cross-sectional research design are common designs that researchers apply in a quantitative study (Creswell, 2009). Assessment of these research designs indicates that each of them has different levels of strengths and limitations, which relate to the external and internal validity of a study. While experimental research design has a weak external validity and strong internal validity, quasi-experimental design and cross-sectional research design have strong external validity and weak internal validity. Assessment of these designs reveals that the cross-sectional design is appropriate in the study of the financial sustainability of the public library. Thus, the assessment recommends the application of cross-sectional design and descriptive research in the study of financial sustainability of public libraries due to diversification of funds.

Fundamentally, the most appropriate research design for the quantitative study of the diversification of sources for the sustainability of the Clayton Public Library System is the cross-sectional design, the descriptive one. Since the study aims at describing the association between sources of funds and financial sustainability of Clayton Public Library System, a descriptive form of cross-sectional research design is appropriate. Gorard (2013) explains that descriptive research describes trends of a given phenomenon, and therefore, it provides the basis for projecting certain trends. In this view, given that the study focuses on the trend of financial sustainability, descriptive research is appropriate.

Moreover, the cross-sectional design is appropriate because the study seeks to examine property-disposition relationships (Campbell & Stanley, 1963). The property of the study is the source of funds, while the disposition is the financial sustainability of the public library. To establish the existence of an association between sources of funds and the sustainability of the public library, long-term projections are necessary. In this view, the research questions and hypotheses focus on the long-term financial sustainability of the public library using diverse sources of funds. Beryman (2012) asserts that the cross-sectional design is appropriate in establishing the existence of an association among variables over a long period. Given that the existence and direction of causation are obvious, what is essential is the association between sources of funds and the financial sustainability of the public library.

Given that the study will utilize quantitative data in terms of funds to establish their use in enhancing the sustainability of the public library, it fits descriptive research. Quantitative data play a central role in the descriptive study because statistical analysis produces descriptive statistics, which provide a snapshot of the relationships among variables (Richardson, Goodwin, & Vine, 2011). Moreover, the quantitative study enables hypothesis testing, which is not possible in qualitative studies. Therefore, the study would utilize descriptive statistics in analyzing quantitative data and presenting the findings.

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Methodology

The methodology focuses on the process of identifying the target population, sampling the target population for study, collection of data, analysis of data, and presentation of the findings. The methodology is usually a significant part of the research because it guides researchers on how they can conduct a study in line with the research design. Wahyuni (2012) argues that research methodology comprises procedures, techniques, and tools that are applicable in the collection and analysis of data. Researchers need to follow procedures and techniques of methodology meticulously to enhance the accuracy of data collection and analysis and consequently improve the validity of research findings. Likewise, this study will ensure that the methodology procedures and techniques are in line with the proposed research design.

Population

The study wants to use the librarians and the library users of the Clayton County Public Library System as the population of the study. Imai, Tingley, and Yamamoto (2013) recommend researchers obtain a study population from the appropriate target population to enhance the generalizability of the findings. The study population should reflect the target population for the findings to have empirical application. In this view, the study population in Clayton County Library System should be similar to the target population in both private and public libraries. Thus, the librarians are the appropriate population of the study because they understand the quality of services that they provide. Given that the librarians understand the management of libraries and the nature of the services that they offer, they form an important population for the study of the financial sustainability of the Clayton County Public Library System. According to Daugherty and Russo (2013), librarians play a central role in the management of the library and consequently determine its sustainability. As the study assumes that financial sustainability is dependent on sources of funds, the librarians are in a position to explain the financial sustainability of various sources of funds that the library relies on in providing services to its customers.

Moreover, the library users form an important population of study because they understand the quality of services that they receive from the library. The perceptions of library users provide the best way of gauging the quality of services that libraries provide to the public (Cook & Heath, 2001). In this view, the library users provide invaluable views that can enable researchers to predict the sustainability of the Clayton County Public Library System relative to its sources of funds. The extent of user satisfaction predicts the quality of services that a library offers and consequently shows its financial stability and sustainability over a certain period (Andaleeb & Simmonds, 1998). Therefore, library users comprise a critical population of the study, as they can assess the quality of services, and thus allow researchers to infer the financial sustainability of the library.

The Clayton County Public Library System comprises six branches of the library, which implies that the study obtains the study population from the six branches. The six branches are Headquarters branch, Forest Park branch, Jonesboro branch, Lovejoy branch, Riverdale branch, and Morrow branch. Given that the study targets the staff (librarians) and library users, it estimates that the Clayton County Public Library System has about 50 librarians and approximately 3,000 users. Statistics show that the library has approximately 0.5 million books, 10, 000 audiotapes, 5,000 videocassettes, and 500 subscribers of journals, magazines, and newspapers while serving about 1.3 million visitors per year (Clayton County Public Library System, 2014). Hence, the library serves a huge number of users in Clayton County and other regions. With the advent of digitization of resources, the library has tremendously increased its users. Digitization enhances the accessibility of resources and the quality of access (DeGRacia, 2009; Erway, 2012). Hence, the population of library users in the Clayton County Library System is increasing with time.

Sampling

The study will derive the sample of the study from the study population, which comprises of the librarians and the library users. According to Punch (2005), since it is impractical and impossible to study the target population, sampling is necessary. Sampling is the process of selecting a portion of the target population for purposes of study. Brunt (2001) asserts that sampling aims at selecting a section of the population that represents the entire population for the findings to gain external validity. In this view, sampling of the librarians and the library users should ensure that the sample is representative of the target population. Johnston and Sabin (2010) affirm that sampling is important because it determines the generalizability of the findings. Therefore, the study will use probability design of sampling to ensure that the librarians and the library users have an equal chance of participating in the study and thus guarantee the representativeness of the study sample.

In sampling, the study will specifically apply a simple random sampling method, which is a probability sampling design. Jawale (2012) argues that simple random sampling gives individuals in the target population an equal chance of participation, and thus ensures representation of the population. Normally, sampling is prone to selection biases that researchers apply in the selection of participants, which is a great challenge that reduces the generalizability of the findings. Essentially, probability sampling and random sampling apply randomization as a strategy to overcome the selection biases, which normally influence the effective representation of the target and the study population. According to Bull (2005), simple random sampling is advantageous because it is free from systemic error, which is common in other sampling methods. Simple random sampling maximizes external validity because it allows researchers to make inferences about the target population (Dattalo, 2010). Given that the objective of sampling is to select a study population that reflects the target population, randomization enhances the representation of the target population. Hence, simple random sampling is a suitable method for the study because it reduces selection biases and enhances the representation of the target population.

The procedure of applying simple random sampling in the selection of study participants should give each participant an equal chance of participation. In selecting the librarians, the study will list the number of librarians and assign them different numbers that range from 1 to 50. The numbers of 1 to 50 represent the number of librarians that are present in the Clayton County Public Library system. Simple random sampling requires a list of the study population to ease the selection of participants (Brunt, 2001). In this view, the study will write the numbers of the librarians and put them in a box. The next step is to mix and draw out a specific number of slips. The numbers that appear in the slips will be the participants of the study. Likewise, regarding the library users, the study will write slips that have yes or no labels, and then allow the library users to pick from a box. The users who select slips with a yes will qualify to be participants of the study.

In determining sample size, the study will consider statistical power, alpha, and effect size, which are three elements that influence the size of a sample in a given study. Lenth (2010) states that the statistical power of 0.8 and the alpha level of 0.05 are appropriate in determining sample size because they reduce the chance of making systemic errors. Thus, the study will use the statistical power of 0.8 and the alpha value of 0.05 in determining the sample size. Owing to the complexity of calculating effect size, Cohen suggests that the values of the small, medium, and large effect sizes are 0.2, 0.5, and 0.8 respectively (Huberty, 2002). Since the population of librarians is approximately 50, the study will use 0.5 as the value of effect size. Comparatively, given that the population of the library users is about 3,000, the study will take 0.2 as the value of effect size. Therefore, from the t-test table, the sample population of the librarians is 34, while the sample population of the library users is 394 (Dattalo, 2010). Thus, the sample size is enough to enhance the external validity of the findings and satisfy the normality requirement of the test.

Instrumentation and materials

Research instrument

The study will use the structured questionnaire as an instrument to collect appropriate quantitative data from the librarians and library users. The questionnaire will reflect different levels of measurements to meet the requirement of the quantitative study and the descriptive study. Given that the study aims to use a descriptive research design, the collection of data should allow quantitative analysis data. Imai, Tingley, and Yamamoto (2013) advise researchers to be careful when setting up procedures of data collection because the levels of measurement that they utilize determine the nature of the quantitative analyses that they will perform. As the study uses sources of funds as an independent variable, the appropriate level of measurement is a nominal scale. Likewise, the library users will be on a nominal scale. A nominal scale is appropriate in measuring the existence of two or more categories of a given variable.

Comparatively, in the measurement of the dependent variable, financial sustainability, an ordinal scale is appropriate. The ordinal scale depicts the degree of a certain variable based on certain intervals, which are in an ordinal manner (Andrew, Pedersen, & McRvoy, 2011). In this view, the study will categorize financial sustainability into an ordinal scale, which has five levels, namely, not sustainable, slightly sustainable, somewhat sustainable, sustainable, and very sustainable. The sources of funds can fall in these five levels of financial sustainability, and thus provide their impacts on the sustainability of Clayton County Library System (CCLS) is offering its services. Regarding responses of the users, the questionnaire will scale them from the least satisfied to most satisfied on a scale of 1 to 5. The responses of library users will measure the quality of services that the library offers to the public.

Reliability

Reliability of measurement refers to the consistency of the findings when measured at different times. Meyer (2010) defines reliability as “the degree of the test score consistency over many replications of a test or performance of a task” (p. 4). The measurement is reliable if it provides the same findings, which are independent of time. To enhance the reliability of the survey, the study will design a questionnaire that measures all sources of funds. Since sources of funds form an independent variable, they determine the accuracy of the data that the study collects, and consequently reliability. In the development of questionnaires, the questions should not be ambiguous to enhance the consistency of responses (Andrew, Pedersen, & McRvoy, 2011). Therefore, the study should ensure that the questionnaire focuses on all aspects of the independent variable (sources of funds) to enhance precision. Since the independent variable predicts the trend of the dependent variable, its development in the questionnaire should be reliable. Moreover, as the dependent variable is a significant predictor of the reliability of the questionnaire, the design of the questionnaire will provide a sensitive ordinal scale that has five levels. The five levels of the ordinal scale are not sustainable, slightly sustainable, somewhat sustainable, sustainable, and very sustainable. The five-level scale is more sensitive than the three-level scale because it does not limit the responses of participants. Hence, the questionnaire is reliable as a research instrument.

Validity

Validity is central in research because it assures the accuracy of data that a certain instrument measures. Essentially, validity refers to the ability of a research instrument to measure a given variable with accuracy while eliminating the existence of confounding variables. Normally, there are three types of validity, viz. content validity, empirical validity, and construct validity (Imai, Tingley, Yamamoto, 2013). Content validity is the ability of the research instrument to cover all variables of a given phenomenon. In this case, since the study seeks to measure the influence of sources of funds on the financial sustainability of the library, it will enhance the content validity of the study by analyzing all sources of funds and classifying their sustainability using a sensitive ordinal scale. Empirical validity is a critical form of validity because it measures the ability of a research instrument to provide empirical outcomes. To increase the empirical validity, the study should ensure that the categorization of funds into not sustainable, slightly sustainable, somewhat sustainable, sustainable, and very sustainable is accurate enough to provide the empirical application. Construct validity measures the relationships between independent and dependent variables. Construct validity examines if a given construct can accurately predict the trend of another construct. To enhance construct validity, the study will ensure that it considers major sources of funds, which the library relies on providing quality services to the patrons.

Data Analysis

The study will use SPSS to perform an ANOVA test and establish if there is any significant difference in the financial sustainability of different sources of funds that Clayton Library Public System. The descriptive statistics will provide the trends of financial sustainability, while significant values (p-values) will test the hypotheses.

Limitations

The study has potential weaknesses that relate to the research design and methodology. Given that the study is quantitative, the development of a scale that transforms qualitative data into quantitative data is very subjective. According to Little (2013), the structuring of questionnaires normally overlooks other important factors, which may be having a significant influence on an independent variable (Little, 2013). Poor structuring of questions in the questionnaire reduces internal validity. Hence, the study will enhance the internal validity of the study by designing an appropriate scale that is sensitive and covers all aspects of the variables that it uses. In this view, threats to internal validity due to instrumentation will reduce. Moreover, a poor response rate is an expected limitation of the study. Experimental mortality due to poor responses reduces external validity. Therefore, the study will encourage the potential participants to take part in the study for the benefit of improving their respective libraries.

Ethical Concerns

For the study to meet ethical standards, it will seek informed consent from the potential participants. The study will provide a consent form, which stipulates the essence of the study, the roles of the participants, and their rights regarding the information provided. Fundamentally, informed consent will guarantee privacy and safety of information as well and highlights the autonomy of the participants. As favoritism in social research is unethical, the study will provide equal treatment to all participants. Equal treatment does not only meet the ethical requirement but also enhances participants to provide unbiased information.

Significance of Study

Practical contributions of the study

The practical contribution of the study is that it will enable public libraries in the United States to identify significant and reliable sources of funds that enhance their financial sustainability. The study will also provide the evidence-based need for diversifying sources of funds to enhance the financial sustainability of libraries in the United States.

For whom is the study important?

The study has significant importance to public libraries in the United States that are grappling with the decline in funding. By extension, the study is also important to private libraries as it identifies significant and reliable sources of funds that promote the financial sustainability of library services. Moreover, the study is important to library users because it enables libraries to improve the nature and quality of library services that they provide.

Implications for social change

The study will have a significant impact on the reading culture and educational performance of students who use the Clayton Public Library System. Since the library will provide comprehensive services, library users will enjoy using the services, and consequently, improve their reading culture. In the educational aspect, the library will improve the academic performance of students because it will provide quality services that encourage learners.

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