Date of Award

Spring 1996

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Urban Services - Management

Committee Director

Roger Richman

Committee Member

Wolfgang Pindur

Committee Member

Stephen Tonelson


This study investigated the effects of computerization with an integrated library system (ILS) on job characteristics in public libraries.

Two different but complementary research design components were used. One component consisted of a case study of the Norfolk (Virginia) Public Library, where an ILS was implemented between 1988 and 1995. The case study relied on data from interviews, archival sources, and questionnaires. The other component was a mail survey of public library workers across Virginia.

Case study interview data was analyzed by coding. Time series analysis was used to examine trends in budget and staffing. Pattern matching logic was used to identify a casual perspective. A chronological account of the ILS implementation project was developed from documentary and interview data. Questionnaire data was used to explore similarities and differences between the case study and the mail survey.

Library jobs were found to be affected by computerization with and ILS. An emergent casual perspective was identified as the best explanatory approach to the data. Computerization interacted with concurrent downsizing of staff. The evidence supports a finding that the cost of computerizing resulted in staff reductions.

Mail survey data was analyzed using hierarchical multiple regression analysis. Five of 12 null hypotheses were rejected. Principal components analysis identified two separate components of an ILS: public service computing and backroom computing.

The multiple regression analyses indicated that different types of job characteristics, as identified by the multidisciplinary job characteristics theory, were affected by different features of computerization. The most marked effect was that larger proportions of work time spent on the ILS were associated with more mechanistic job characteristics; this effect was moderated by job level. Perceptual/motor job characteristics were reduced by the presence of public service computing; this effect was moderated by professional status. Effects on motivational job characteristics were statistically significant but were so small that they lack practical significance.


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