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I.

Research Proposal Cover Page

Title of Proposed Research

The Impact of Programs Promoting LGBTQIA Diversity in Public Libraries on a

Communal and Organizational Scale

Abstract

Limited research has been conducted to explore the impact of LQBTQIA programming in

public libraries. The objective of this study is twofold: (1) to identify the needs and

responses of library users related to programming intended to be LGBTQIA-inclusive;

and (2) to collect information from library systems with an established commitment to

diversified programming concerning their adoption and implementation strategies. Two

self-administered surveys will collect patron and library staff responses, respectively,

from the San Francisco Public Library system and the New York Public Library system.

Staff and patron participants will be asked if they are willing to follow up their survey

with a telephone interview with a researcher to share detailed accounts of their personal

experiences. The data collected will allow the research team to gauge the effectiveness of

past programming efforts and will use the insights of patrons and staff to draw

conclusions about how libraries communicate messages of inclusion. The practical

implication of this study is to assemble actionable strategies for impactful LGBTQIA

programming in public libraries as well as gauging differences between the intentions of

libraries towards inclusivity and the perceptions of LGBTQIA and allied patrons.

Start Date Completion Date

January 7, 2019 January 6, 2020


The Impact of Programs Promoting LGBTQIA Diversity in Public Libraries...

Amount Requested Submission Date

$177,730 November 30, 2018

Principal Investigators’ Names & Affiliations

​Kristen Bott, Tricia Johnson, Erica Richardi,


Crystal Stephenson, Silvia Vetrovsky
All of whom are affiliated as Hillsborough County Public librarians.

II. Statement of Need & Significance of Study

Needs Assessment

Public libraries help weave together different threads of their communities into a rich and

vibrant fabric by supporting and strengthening the bonds among groups and factions. As

demographics change and shift the paradigm of community inclusivity and representation in the

United States, it is imperative that these institutions offer programs and services that reflect all

segments of the population. Limited research has been published on the relationship between

diversity programs supported by community libraries and their effect on social inclusion and

awareness of underrepresented groups that identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender,

Queer, Intersex, and Asexual (LGBTQIA) (Condred 2018, Naidoo 2013, Gustina & Guinnee

2017, Drake & Bielefield 2017) .

While acceptance of LGBTQIA people in mainstream American society has been

steadily growing, “library materials, programs, and displays related to sexual orientation and

gender identity still cause controversy” (GLBTRT, 2016). To assuage this lack of information, a

mixed methods research study is proposed to evaluate the correlative implications of diversity

activities, events, and programs offered by libraries and their influence on social inclusivity,

increased awareness, and general acceptance of LGBTQIA members among library patrons. In

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particular, the study will explore the effects of integrating Drag Queen Story Time (DQST)

programming on communal and organizational scale, wherein drag queens are enlisted to read

stories to children in libraries and other information centers with the goal to “give kids

glamorous, positive, and unabashedly queer role models,” whilst promoting diversity awareness

and literacy (Condren, 2018, p. 21).

Literature Review

Visibility of, and thus inclusivity and the need for acceptance for, the LGBTQIA

community has increased since the late 20th century (Lupien, 2007). However, research on the

relationship between LGBTQIA population and public libraries has identified a disconcerting

gap between library theory and practice. Naidoo (2013) remarks that “if the public library is

meant to be the heart of the community and provide inclusive library services and collections

representative of the local population,” it is imperative that they “serve the informational and

recreational needs of children and caregivers in the LGBTQ families” (p. 34). Gustina &

Guinnee (2017) further note that while the American Library Association (ALA) Code of Ethics

“positions libraries to elevate purposefully the voices and aspirations of all people in their service

area, whatever the individual’s social, economic, legal, or citizenship status,” but “many libraries

have found that work to be impractical” and historically “shown a low tolerance of risk” in

practice (p. 52).

The majority of literature concerning LGBTQIA services within libraries is limited to

pieces such as the above, which remark on generalities about theory and practice but do not have

a research component. The existing research, albeit minimal at best, has made some positive

correlations in the broadening of diversity programs and services and their impact on social

awareness and feelings of inclusion, but the studies thus far remain limited in scope. For

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example, one study focused solely on the patrons that identify as transgender, citing the

difference in informational needs from those of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and queer patrons, and

accordingly limited their sample pool to transgender participants (Drake & Bielefield, 2017,

p.162). Another focused solely on academic libraries serving students in queer studies programs

across Canada (Lupien, 2007). Studies conducted by Lupien as well as Gregg (2018)

demonstrated the interactions among librarians and patrons searching for LGBTQIA materials,

but neither explored the effects of LGBTQIA programming within the community.

Significance of the Study

The research conducted as part of this study is foundational, as it will lay the groundwork

to encourage and guide others in developing effective and impactful diversity-minded library

programming. A careful examination of the effects of diversity programs offered by public

libraries should consider the dimensions of both the organization and patrons independently, and

in so doing, the researchers are hoping to demonstrate a positive correlation in the findings

between diversification of programming and social inclusion within their community, and

consequently suggest further practices public libraries can adopt to improve upon their efforts

towards diverse representation. The results of the study will impact the course of action this

library system follows when developing training and programing to benefit LGBTQIA persons.

Research Goal & Research Objectives

The goal of this research study is to identify best practices to foster inclusivity and

productivity among the public library sector and LGBTQIA communities. The two research

objectives will be (1.) to gain a better understanding of the needs and interests of the LGBTQIA

population and their allies as they relate to public library programming, and (2.) how to better

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prepare the public library system logistically to partner with individuals and local organizations

to implement LGBTQIA-diverse programming. The data collected in this study will help this

library system develop trainings to ensure library staff comply with ALA guidelines on

inclusivity and representation in order to develop programming that will serve the LGBTQIA

community through representing queer identities and issues, as well as to encourage members of

the LGBTQIA community to utilize their local libraries more frequently.

The survey design as proposed will identify instances where the library system can

develop increased LGBTQIA programming and help determine the appropriate measures for

implementation in order to best serve the local queer community. Together, these surveys will

provide a comprehensive view into the possibility of growth and outreach on an organizational

and communal scope through diversity programming. In particular, this study will focus on Drag

Queen Story Hour, a library event gaining popularity across the country.

III. Research Design

A. Survey Section

The methodology proposed for this study is an explanatory sequential mixed methods

approach that will utilize two different self-administered surveys followed by a second round of

interviews with interested participants. Creswell (2018) identified explanatory sequential mixed

methods approach as the best approach to gather empirical data for studies such as this one

because it ensures participant anonymity and economic advantageousness, as well as facilitates

rapid turnaround of results for review prior to follow-up interviews (p. 15). The first survey,

referred to as the Library Survey going forward, will focus on operational methods and will be

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administered to library staff. The second survey, referred to as the Patron Survey from here on,

will collect data from patrons concerning their experiences with queer programming at their local

library. Participants of both surveys will be able to indicate if they are willing to take part in a

short, recorded telephone conversation with a researcher to share their personal experiences with

queer library programming. While the initial survey pool will encompass a large number of

library patrons and professionals, the follow-up interviews will solely examine a percentage of

those initially surveyed and be randomly selected depending on the rate of return of interest from

the Library Survey. As a way to encourage participation in both surveys, all those that complete

the initial surveys will be gifted a $10 Amazon gift card..

The research population chosen for this survey is comprised of employees and patrons of

two library systems offering DQSH: the San Francisco Public Library and the New York Public

Library. The San Francisco Public Library was the first library system to introduce the DQSH

program to patrons, pioneered by founder Michelle Tea and RADAR Productions in 2015. While

the event began at San Francisco’s Eureka Valley branch, it has since traveled throughout their

27 branches within their system. The concept gained popularity and eventually made its way to

the East Coast in 2016, when the New York Public Library began to hold DQSH events

(Condren, 2018). This survey collects data from anonymous sources which do not represent a

true sample of the population in that they are not randomly selected but are instead chosen

through their association with the three library systems. Therefore, the survey population is not

stratified because individuals being surveyed are neither outed necessarily as part of the queer

community nor do they proportionally represent the populations served by the libraries.

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The first survey will be distributed to employees of these library systems. The

questionnaire will include questions addressing the particular library’s path towards offering

programs for marginalized communities; the current diversity programs they offer geared

specifically towards their LGBTQIA patrons; community response to these efforts; the budgetary

restrictions they face in providing these programs or services; the benchmarks in place to

measure their success in these endeavors; and what concerns or issues might dictate the future of

these programs, events, and services. The second survey will be administered to patrons of the

identified libraries and will address the response and effects of the library’s efforts towards

broadening representation and social inclusion of the LGBTQIA community through programs,

events, and services. While the questions for the library employees will be different from that of

the survey for patrons, both questionnaires will be structured similarly. This survey study will be

cross-sectional with the goal to collect data in an optimal period of time.

Neither the staff nor the patron surveys are compulsory. Library staff will receive

information about the survey through direct correspondence. Meanwhile, the patron survey will

be delivered in various ways. Advertisements for the survey will be placed physically around the

library branch as well as through the library’s website and social media outlets. There will also

be promotion of the survey through LGBTQIA clubs and organizations in order to obtain data

directly from within the community. All participants of queer-focused library programming at

SFPL and NYPL will be invited to complete the survey.

In order to collect the data from the library staff and patrons as effectively and efficiently

as possible, the surveys will be administered electronically. The survey will be accessible

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through Google Docs, chosen because this hosting site allows researchers to conduct data

analysis easily and succinctly. In addition to efficiency, solely using a digital formatted survey

will result in more clearly defined answers and will limit data misinterpretations. Library staff

should already be equipped with computers in order to complete their survey, however, some

patrons who wish to complete their survey may not have access to computers at home. In this

case, librarians will assist patrons on the library computers in order to access the survey online.

Librarians may answer general queries or offer clarifications, however they will refrain from

offering personal opinions or beliefs.

Each survey will be comprised of three sets of ten questions. The first set will consist of

multiple choice questions, the second set a series of open-ended responses, and lastly there will

be ten questions in which the surveyor must rate their responses using a 1-5 Likert scale.

Additionally, both surveys will begin with an introductory section in which respondents will

supply demographic information such as age, gender, location, ethnicity, and education and

income-level. Understanding the demographic similarities among SFPL, NYPL, and HCPL will

allow the researchers to understand the unique circumstances within each library system which

would help or hinder the implementation of LGBTQIA programming, as well as the type of

programs implemented. This section will also include the option for participants to select if they

wish to be contacted for a second, in-depth telephone interview wherein they can speak directly

to a researcher about their personal experiences with LGBTQIA library programming.

B. Interview Section

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These interviews will provide qualitative data from which the researchers will be able to

draw conclusions about the impact of diversity training and diverse programming for library staff

and patrons. They will be conducted using a series of open-ended guiding questions which will

allow participants to share their experiences organizing or attending library programming

designed to serve the LGBTQIA community. The researchers recognize the opportunity to hear

firsthand from patrons who have specific comments and concerns about library programming as

well as the value of hearing the experience of organizers of queer-focused programming.

Qualitative analysis of the responses from participant interviews will enable the research team to

expand upon theories suggested by the quantitative data from the preliminary surveys.

IV. Project Resources

1. Personnel

The principal investigators of this research project consist of the following individuals: ​ ​Kristen

Bott, Tricia Johnson, Erica Richardi, Crystal Stephenson and Silvia Vetrovsky. The five

principal investigators will administer the two surveys and will be in charge of following

through with the interviews. The researchers will use the assistance of two student assistants to

sort and analyze survey responses as well as schedule interviews with the selected respondents.

​ 2. Timeline

The proposed time frame for this study is one year. The first month will be focused on

preliminary functions, including the assembly of team members, review of library policies prior

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to distribution of surveys, and the creation of promotional materials to raise awareness of the

survey study approaching distribution. Materials will be distributed in the second month, which

is the optimal time for researchers to visit the identified library systems for this study in person.

Team members will also take this time to initiate an account and correspondence with Google

Docs. Once established, the Library and Patron Surveys will be published online for

participation. The surveys will be available for two weeks, providing satisfactory opportunity for

survey submissions and retrieval. Following the surveys, participants will be identified for

interviews. One month will be sufficient time to collect surveys, identify those indicating

willingness for interviews, and begin the process of contacting those identified. The fourth

month will be entirely focused on participant interviews. Data analysis will require the

predominant amount of time to complete, so three months have been budgeted for this portion of

the study. Once analysis of results is complete, members will begin to assemble the

determinations gleaned from the data and conduct an official report of the findings throughout

the eighth month. The remaining four months will be designated to publication of report,

addressing advisory boards, participating in conferences, and relaying results to the two library

administrations for potential changes in programming and implementation of other advised

actions, from modifying services to reevaluating their current programs and events. The

researchers for this proposal believe that one year is adequate time to complete the research,

analysis, and develop determinations, pursue publication of results, and identify the

recommendations most pertinent to library administrators.

3. Budget

Graduate Assistants (2x) $15/hour, 8 hours/week $12,480.00

Bott 85% Academic Year Salary $28,050.00

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Johnson 85% Academic Year Salary $28.050.00

Richardi 85% Academic Year Salary $28,050.00

Stephenson 85% Academic Year Salary $28,050.00

Vetrovsky 85% Academic Year Salary $28,050.00

Travel Expenses, Food & Lodging (5 Researchers x 1 Visit to Both $10,000.00


Library Systems Surveyed)

Office Supplies; Promotional Materials $5,000.00

Survey Participation Incentives $10,000.00

Total $177,730.00

The Graduate Assistants will be paid hourly in accordance with the guidelines of the USF School

of Information GA compensation policy. Cost sharing through the School of Information will

support 15% of the salary of the primary researchers, all of whom are PhD candidates.

4. Others

Promotional materials such as signs and posters will be designed in-house and printed using a

commercial service. Vital supplies include functional and updated computers with a reliable

Internet connection. We will use Google Docs to collect responses from our surveys and

Microsoft Excel to track expenses. All collaborators will use email as the primary means of

communication throughout the project and updates to the project will be done through Google

Drive. Other miscellaneous supplies include a viable printer/scanner with ink, paper, thumb

drives, and pens.

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References

Condren, C. (2018). Far from a drag: How one library embraced drag queen story hour. Children

& Libraries: The Journal of The Association for Library Service to Children, 16(1),

21-22.

Creswell, J. D., & Creswell, J.W. (2018). ​Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed

Methods Approaches:​ Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publication Ltd.

Drake, A. A., & Bielefield, A. (2017). Equitable access: Information seeking behavior,

information needs, and necessary library accommodations for transgender patrons.

Library & Information Science Research, (39), 160-168.

GLBTRT. (2016, April 9). Open to all: Serving the GLBT community in your library. American

Library Association. Retrieved from:

http://www.ala.org/rt/sites/ala.org.rt/files/content/professionaltools/160309-glbtrt-open-to

-all-toolkit-online.pdf

Gregg A, S. (2018). Curry’s study on the quality of public library reference service to

LGBTQ youth. Evi​dence Based Library and Information Practice, (13)1​ , 57-63.

Gustina, M., & Guinnee, E. (2017). Why social justice in the library? The case for

shifting library policy, practice, and culture toward radical inclusivity. ​Library

Journal​, ​(10).​ 52-55.

Lupien, P. (2007). GLBT/Sexual diversity studies students and academic libraries: A

study of user perceptions and satisfaction. ​Canadian Journal of Information & Library

Sciences​, ​31​(2), 131-147.

McManus, A. M. (2017). Thoughts on equity, diversity, and inclusion in reference

and user services. ​Reference & User Services Quarterly​, ​56​(4), 226-227.

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Naidoo, J. C. (2013). Over the rainbow and under the radar: Library services and

programs to LGBTQ families.​ Children & Libraries, 11​(3), 34-40.

New York Public Library. (2018). Home. ​New York Public Library.​ Retrieved October 12, 2018,

from https://www.nypl.org

San Francisco Public Library. (2018). Home. ​San Francisco Public Library.​ Retrieved October

12, 2018, from https://sfpl.org

Staino, R. (2017, June 5). Drag Queen Story Hours Flourishing on Both Coasts. ​School Library

Journal​. Retrieved October 12, 2018, from

https://www.slj.com/?detailStory=drag-queen-story-hours-flourishing-on-both-coasts

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Member Contribution:

Group Member’s Project Sections

Name

Kristen Bott Initiated Group, Idea Development, Editing, Revisions,

Conferencing, “Others” Section, Last Editing & Submission of

Final Draft

Tricia Johnson Idea Development, Editing, Revisions, Conferencing,

Submission of 1st Draft, Abstract

Erica Richardi Idea Development, Editing, Revising for Consistency, Abstract,

Flow Chart, Budget Chart

Crystal Stephenson Wrote Sections II and III as a Foundation for Editing and Revisions

by All Members, Timeline Section, Revised Budget

Silvia Vetrovsky Initiated Organization of Google Doc, Abstract,

Idea Development, Editing, Attended

Optional Conferences, Conferencing, Submission and Editing of

Draft 2 and Homework 3, Initiated Section 4 of Project Resources,

Added Appendix Section

Everyone Template Revisions, Group Communication, & Literature Reviews

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Appendix

Patron Survey

Introduction:

Help Hillsborough County Library System expand our library programming! We're

working on building events and programs that better support all HCLS patrons, but we need your

help! Please fill out this brief questionnaire about your library habits and how you can see our

library growing as we continue to build programming that serves the entire community.

Because we are trying to gain a better understanding of the opinions and viewpoints our

patrons have with regards to the LGBTQIA community represented in the public library, you

will be presented with a series of multiple choice and scaled (1-5) questions. We will collect data

from patrons concerning their experiences with queer programming at their local library. You

will note that section one of this survey will be used to gather general demographic information

regarding patrons' backgrounds, including their age, gender, location, education, and more in

order to paint an accurate representation of the people utilizing the library. Section two of this

survey will ask questions specific to the level of exposure to LGBTQIA programs and materials

in the library.

Thank you for participating in our survey. We are truly appreciative of your time in

helping us better serve our community and as a thank you from us, we will be sending you a $10

gift card from Amazon! Simply provide us with your email address so we can contact you with

further information regarding your gift.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Questionnaire:

Section 1

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1. Which best describes your residence?

a. Urban

b. Rural

c. Suburban

d. Other

2. Which most closely describes the composition of your household?

a. I live alone

b. I live with roommates who are not related to me

c. I live with a partner or spouse

d. I live in a family with young children (under 18 years of age)

e. I live in a family with adult children

f. I live with extended family

g. I am currently homeless

h. My living situation is not described here

i. Prefer not to say

j. Other

3. What is your gender identify?

a. Cis (Your gender identity corresponds with your birth sex)

b. Trans (Your gender identity does not correspond with your birth sex)

c. Non-binary/Genderqueer (Your gender does not correspond with the gender binary)

d. Questioning

e. Not listed here

f. Prefer not to say

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4. What is your sexual identity?

a. Straight

b. Gay

c. Lesbian

d. Bisexual

e. Asexual

f. Queer

g. Prefer not to say

5. What is your age?

a. Under 25

b. 25-35

c. 35-45

d. 45-55

e. Over 55

f. Prefer not to say

6. What is your level of education?

a. I have a High School Diploma

b. I have a Bachelor’s Degree

c. I have a Master’s Degree

d. I have a Doctoral or Doctorate Degree

e. I did not graduate from high school

f. Prefer not to say

Section 2

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1. How often do you visit your public library?

a. Multiple times a week

b. Once a week

c. A few times a month

d. Once a month

e. A few times a year

f. Once or twice a year

g. Less than once a year

2. How important is it to you that your local public library actively represent all member of your

community in their events and programming?

a. I believe it is very important

b. I don’t mind either way

c. I don’t think it’s important

d. Not sure

3. Do you feel represented in the collections and programs at your public library and welcome in

that space?

a. Yes, I feel represented in the collections and programs and welcome in the library

b. I feel represented in the collections and programs but not welcome in the space of the

library

c. I feel welcome in the space of the library but not represented in the collections and

programs

d. No, I do not feel represented nor welcome in the library

e. Unsure

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4. Which obstacle most prevents you from attending programs at the library?

a. The timing of the programs (day of the week or time of the day is inconvenient)

b. A lack of programming suited to my interests

c. Having to arrange childcare for children not attending the program

d. Transportation barriers (ex: a lack of parking at the library, inadequate public transport)

e. Feeling unsafe or unwelcome at the library

f. There are no obstacles preventing me from attending programs at the library

g. Other

5. Do you believe that your public library can improve upon current efforts to represent the

LGBTQIA community in their collections, events and programs?

a. Yes, they could do better

b. No, they do a great job currently

c. No, I would rather they not

d. I'm not sure

e. I don't care either way

6. Select the response that most closely matches yours. "I would be willing to attend LGBTQIA

events or programs, even if I am not a member of that community."

a. Yes

b. No, I’d feel uncomfortable

c. No, I don’t care

d. Maybe

7. What type of LGBTQIA event would you most likely to attend?

a. A guest speaker or author from the LGBTQIA community

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b. Diversity and inclusion exercises

c. Drag Queen Story Hour

d. LGBTQIA movie night

e. Other

f. None

8. Select the response that most closely matches your scenario. "When I visit the library and am

looking for information relating to the LGBTQIA community, ..."

a. I find the information I need easily because there are plenty of resources available

b. I find most of the information I need although there are limited resources available

c. I find it difficult to find what I need due to limited resources available

d. I can never find what I am looking for due to lack of resources available

e. This scenario does not apply to me

9. Which of the following LGBTQIA movies would you be interested in seeing at the next movie

night?

a. Birdcage

b. Paris is Burning

c. Love, Simon

d. Dog Day Afternoon

e. The Wedding Banquet

f. Other

g. None

10. Which of the following LGBTQIA books would you be interested in for story time?

a. Large Fears by Myles E. Johnson, illustrated by Kendrick Daye

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b. When You Look Out the Window: How Phyllis Lyon and Del Martin Built a Community

by Gayle E. Pitman, illustrated by Christopher Lyles

c. Sparkle Boy by Lesléa Newman, illustrated by Maria Mola

d. Daddy, Papa and Me by Lesléa Newman, illustrated by Carol Thompson

e. Other

f. None

11. Have you attended a diversity program or event, such as the Drag Queen Story Time, at your

local public library?

a. I have attended, and enjoyed it

b. I have attended, but it wasn't for me

c. I have never attended, but plan to next time

d. I have never attended

e. I don't plan to attend

f. Prefer not to answer

12. And if you have attended a diversity program or event, such as the Drag Queen Story Time,

at your local public library, please choose one of the following responses:

a. I really enjoyed the experience and hope for more

b. I didn't enjoy the event or program

c. I felt uncomfortable

d. I wouldn't attend such an event or program

e. I never have attended such an event or program, so I can't say

f. Prefer not to answer

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** Note: The above survey can also be accessed using the following link:

Patron Questionnaire

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