Dissertation Information for Bruce Shuman
MPACT Status: Complete - Except Indecipherables
Title: REGIONALISM AND THE STATE'S CONCERN WITH PUBLIC LIBRARIES
Abstract: Seeking to find evidence of regional patterning in the American states with regard to state governments funding of local public library service, this study examines the works of Sharkansky and St. Angelo, et al., for methodological guidelines. Sharkansky’s proposed four demarcational alignments of the states are tested for goodness of fit, using a stepwise linear regression program. Data are taken from U.S. Government statistical sources, supplemented, where necessary. Data for 1968 are chosen to determine the correlation of per capita state support for public libraries with a number of independent demographic and economic variables. A longitudinal study compares the base year, 1968, with comparable data for two earlier years, 1950 and 1959, to avoid the possibility of isolated findings. Findings: while there are demonstrable patterns to many indices of state placement or wealth, and geography can be said to play some role in governmental decisions with regard to public funding, no hard evidence of regionalization could be found insofar as state support of public library services is concerned. None of Sharkansky’s four alternative demarcations improves significantly upon the undemarcated forty-eight-state model, and no statement concerning the extensibility of Sharkansky’s general theory into the realm of public libraries is warranted. More plausible is St. Angelo’s conclusion that it is effective leadership which is the strongest correlate of greater state aid to libraries, rather than any wealth or population variables. Support is further provided for St. Angelo’s contention that state library appropriations are virtually unaffected by state fiscal resources.
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