Libraries Serving 3,000 to 3,999 Patrons

More comments on the tables in Give Us a Dollar and We’ll Give You Back Four (2012-13) [$11.99 PDF, no DRM; $21.95 paperback; $31.50 hardcover]…this time on libraries serving 3,000 to 3,999 potential patrons.

Tables include 510 libraries, with 33 others omitted. Other than slightly fewer than typical libraries at the best-funded end and slightly more than usual at the worst funded end, expenditure distribution is typical.

Open hours

Nearly two-thirds of these libraries are open at least 35 hours per week and 42% are open at least 40 hours per week. The few (4%) open very short hours (99-1,040) are the worst funded (median $8.56 per capita).

Computers for patrons with internet access

The bulge here is at 6-8 computers, with 33% of the libraries in that bracket, 28% higher, 39% lower. A baker’s dozen have 20-39 computers; none has more. Median expenditures rise in lock step with rising number of PCs.

Circulation and reference transactions per capita

Very much typical of all libraries, with no significant deviations. Overall median circulation per capita is slightly higher than the national median (8.18 compared to 7.93) and overall reference transactions per capita is slightly lower (0.44 compared to 0.52).

Program attendance and patron visits per capita

Here again, what’s remarkable is how much these libraries—still serving small communities—reflect public libraries as a whole in terms of usage, with just slightly higher numbers in the two highest program-attendance brackets.

Personal computers per thousand patrons

Nearly half of the libraries have from 1.5 to 2.99 computers per thousand patrons, as compared to just under a quarter of libraries nationally. Only 14% have less than one PC per thousand patrons. The overall median is 1.85, compared to 1.3 nationally.

Circulation and patron visits per hour

Two busy libraries (70-109 circulation per hour)—but half the libraries have fewer than 14 or significantly less than one circ every four minutes. Just under half have at least nine patron visits per hour—but only one in ten has 20 or more.

While the overall median for these libraries is 13.93 circ and 9.06 visits per hour, that compares with 22.8 circ and 14.87 visits per hour for the nation’s libraries: These are still mostly relatively quiet libraries.

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