CAMEO Handbook

Chapter 1 - Introduction

"Community Analysis is a systematic process of collecting, organizing and analyzing data about the library and its environment." (Greer and Hale 1982, 358)

This handbook is designed to make library planning easier. It provides background information and tools to help gather information about libraries and the people they serve and is based on a process called "Looking-Around" in the planning model developed by the Public Library Association (PLA), a division of the American Library Association (ALA). "Looking-Around" and "community analysis" are synonymous.

The handbook is organized to help planners

The concept of planning a public library's services to meet the unique needs of its community is not new. The CAMEO model presented here builds on the work of many people in the library community. Some of the information in Section 3, "Planning for Looking-Around," is from work done in the 1950s and 1960s by Grace Stevenson and Ruth Warncke as part of the Library-Community Study Project, sponsored by ALA and resulting in the publication Studying the Community: A Basis for Planning Library Adult Education Services (American Library Association 1960). The community analysis work of Roger Greer and Martha Hale in the 1970s and 1980s also provides rich information. Beth Wheeler Fox's publications are a source of practical, down-to-earth approaches to evaluating the library and its services, and the recent work of Nancy Van House and Tom Childers in What's Good? Describing Your Public Library's Effectiveness (Childers and Van House 1993) contributes new ways of looking at the process of planning and evaluating public library service.

The guidelines for focus groups are based on the authors' own experience as well as notes from a presentation made by Debra Wilcox Johnson at the May, 1993 "Evaluating Library Programs and Services" Institute presented by the School of Library and Information Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison and funded by a Higher Education Act grant from the U.S. Department of Education.

Much of the information in this manual is based on two publications of the American Library Association: Planning and Role Setting for Public Libraries: A Manual of Options and Procedures ( McClure et al. 1987) and Output Measures for Public Libraries: A Manual of Standardized Procedures (Van House et al. 1987). These books provide additional information about many of the concepts in this handbook.

As a compilation of information from many sources and the experience of many people, the CAMEO model becomes a tool kit to simplify community analysis and evaluation of the library's services by bringing together in one place a menu of options.

Chapter 10 includes a list of references to use to learn more about the issues and topics summarized here.

Throughout the handbook, there are references to WorkSheets designed to help library planners with the process of community analysis. They appear in Chapter 11.

Proceed to Chapter 2 - Planning for Library Excellence.

|| Return to Beginning of Chapter ||

|| Table of Contents ||

CAMEO Home Page