Type of Document Dissertation Author Park, Sung Jae Author's Email Address firstname.lastname@example.org URN etd-06292011-174812 Title The Physical Accessibility of Public Libraries to Users: A GIS Study Degree Doctor of Philosophy Department Library and Information Studies, School of Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title Gary Burnett Committee Chair Christie Koontz Committee Member Kathy Burnett Committee Member Michelle Kazmer Committee Member Lisa Jordan University Representative Keywords
- Physical accessibility
- public library
- geographic information system
- multi-destination trip
- base camp
- secondary data analysis
Date of Defense 2011-04-28 Availability unrestricted AbstractThe purpose of this study is to gain a finer-grained picture and better understanding of the travel patterns of library users, and the activities, demographics, and other factors that affect library access. Previous studies of physical accessibility of public libraries, which have focused on library usersí single-destination trips and their travel distance, do not provide a full understanding of library use patterns in their full temporal and spatial environment. By analyzing individualsí daily travel activity, this study modeled library access patterns of users and suggested ways to improve library access.
To accomplish this purpose, this study employed a mixed methodology including two-phases, quantitative and qualitative research. In the first phase, pre-existing quantitative household travel survey data were analyzed using Geographic Information Systems (GIS). The data set for analysis was collected from the Metropolitan Travel Survey Archive, which stores 79 household daily travel data sets. Daily activities of 409 people who visited public libraries were extracted from the Puget Sound Region data set. Even though secondary data analyses allow researchers to analyze social phenomena in inaccessible settings, the interpretations of a secondary analysis can be limited due to a researcherís lack of knowledge of the setting. In the second phase, therefore, qualitative approaches were pursued to ensure the credibility of interpretations of secondary data analysis. During interviews with librarians from the area of study, questions intended to elicit corroboration of conclusions drawn from the secondary data analysis were asked. The interviews conducted, also provided a collection of the perspectives of public librarians regarding their usersí access patterns.
Through the analysis, four library access patterns were identified: single-destination, en route, base camp, and trip-chaining trips. Only 20% of library users made single-destination trips, while 80% of users made trips of a multi-destination nature; these are depicted by the remaining three patterns. In particular, 62.2% of the activities fell into the trip-chaining travel pattern, which is composed of discretionary activities including a library visit. Library visits were closely related to visits of other facilities such as groceries, shopping malls, and restaurants. Even though privately owned cars were used for almost all activities (75.2%), in the case of base camp activities, in which library visits start from such obligatory activities as work and school and end at the starting location, 84.6% of these activities were made on foot. Half of en route type users, that is, those who visit the library on their way to obligatory activity places, spent less than 10 minutes for library visits. In addition, findings indicate that although travel distance is still a constraint to library access, travel time is a more informative factor than travel distance for gaining a richer understanding of the nature of library visits.
Based on these findings, this study made such recommendations to enhance the physical accessibility of public libraries as developing corporate sponsorships, creating library market area maps, placing drop-off boxes along the main route, and developing library programs for workers during lunch time.
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