Date of Conferral
Public Policy and Administration
Existing research has focused on the financial challenges affecting public libraries and how to improve library efficiency and funding. However, it is unknown how financial diversification could improve the economic fortunes of public libraries. The purpose of this study was to illuminate the unique structural, legal, and operational dynamics associated with adopting a financial diversification strategy in the Clayton County Library System (CCLS), Georgia, and to explore what would support or hinder the implementation of such a strategy. Using modern portfolio theory, the research explored how the CCLS could diversify its funding sources. A qualitative single-case study was conducted to gather information from a sample of library personnel: 2 library directors, 7 assistant directors, 6 branch managers, and 3 grant writers. Budget documents and meeting minutes over a 3-year period were also reviewed. The data were analyzed using a content analysis method, and were coded inductively. Interview data were triangulated with the results of a review of budget documents, meeting minutes, and related literature. Study findings revealed that financial diversification was an effective strategy for the participants in this study, but such diversification would be complex for the broader CCLS because of stakeholders' concerns about CCLS's organizational characteristics, legal frameworks, and management attitudes. The study findings may be used as a basis for further empirical investigations on adoption of financial diversification plans in public libraries. Positive social change is expected to result from this study because it provides useful data to policymakers, library administrators, and other stakeholders seeking ways to sustain public library funding.