Public libraries and personal computers (2)

A short one this time–still commentary on Chapter 2 of Give Us a Dollar and We’ll Give You Back Four (2012-13)*.

Personal computers per thousand patrons

Yes, the count of total personal computers (that is: computers available for patron use that have internet access–basically public PCs excluding those devoted to catalog searching) is closely related to the size of the library or system.

This derivative measure may be more telling than the earlier number of PCs. At one extreme, 810 libraries have at least five PCs per thousand patrons (which could, of course, be one PC for a library serving 200 patrons); at the other, 977 have less than .5 PCs per thousand patrons.

While the metric-expenditure relationship is once again consistent, it’s over a relatively narrow range. Omitting extremes, the median expenditures range from $25.77 (libraries with 0.5 to 0.79 PCs per thousand patrons) to $36.83 (libraries with 3 to 4.99 PCs per thousand patrons), a much narrower range than for most metrics.

The median overall is 1.3—and here, the budget table’s interesting because every expenditures bracket, even the lowest, shows at least one-quarter of the libraries with more than one PC per thousand patrons. (All but the two lowest have at least half the libraries with more than one PC per thousand patrons.)


* That’s the $21.95 paperback. You can also buy the book as an $11.99 PDF (no DRM) or a $31.50 hardbound. If you’re interested, early sales (to the end of September) are almost evenly split between PDF and paperback, with single-digit sales of the hardbound.


Save 20% this week (through October 5): Lulu’s having another sale. Use PLUMA as a coupon code (if you’re in the US; elsewhere, go to the Lulu home page and write down the coupon code) to save 20% on one order (any number of books). The offer expires at the end of the day on Friday, October 5, 2012.

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