Date of Award

Summer 8-2022

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


STEM Education & Professional Studies


Instructional Design and Technology

Committee Director

John Baaki

Committee Member

Amelia Anderson

Committee Member

Jori Beck


Public libraries have begun to provide services well beyond books and online databases. Prior to the pandemic, many libraries expanded their collection to include items like power drills or board games in their circulation. They also started partnering with social service organizations to better serve their patrons’ needs beyond those that are educational and entertainment based. Despite being broadly trusted by most people and having clever and innovative ideas, some public libraries’ budgets and time limits left marketing efforts at a minimum. In order to address the communication problem many public libraries face, in this study I sought to align Diffusion of Innovations (DOI) theory elements with public library staff’s promotional efforts.

I served as a subject matter expert and participant-observer in this exploratory case study. The study focused on an innovation that has already been developed but was not being widely used in a medium sized public library in Pennsylvania. I worked with library staff who were employed by the public library to inform and help develop a diffusion plan.

The results of this study are thematic and broadly offer evidence that public library staff can utilize components of DOI theory for promotional efforts. The study was a three-phase process that allowed the library staff to discover the importance of dedicated time and people as well as clear directions and defined roles. Identified obstacles include sustainability and communication breakdowns. The library staff identified the most important DOI characteristics when diffusing an innovation as relative advantage and complexity.


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