Libraries Serving 4,000 to 5,299 Potential 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 Chapter 9, covering libraries serving 4,000 to 5,299 potential patrons.

This chapter covers more libraries than any other: 532, with another 38 omitted. Funding is slightly on the low side, with fewer libraries in the top three expense brackets and slightly more in the bottom two.

Open hours

Although there are still no library systems open more than 10,000 hours (scarcely surprising given the population range), half a dozen are open 4,000 to 10,000 hours—and three-quarters are open at least 35 hours per week, with just over half open at least 40 hours per week.

Oddly, the median expense budget for the six systems open more than 4,000 hours is on the low side at $22.95. With that huge exception, expenditures and hours track as usual—and, except for 10 libraries open fewer than 1,041 hours (that is, no more than 20 hours per week), the benefit ratios cluster very close together, from 5.33 to 5.97.

Possibly worth noting: for libraries with at least $43 expenditures per capita, three-quarters of the libraries are open more than 41 hours per week.

Computers for patron use with internet access

One very well-funded library ($207.81 per capita) has at least 40 PCs—but three-quarters have four to 12. More than half have at least seven, but the median doesn’t exceed seven until you get to $53 per capita, when it jumps to 10.

Circulation and reference transactions per capita

Nothing much out of the ordinary, although slightly fewer libraries (4% rather than 6%) circulate 24 or more items per capita and slightly more (15% rather than 13%) circulate 10-12 items. Expenditure-activity correlations are predictably consistent for circulation and not quite as consistent for reference.

Circulation and patron visits per hour

The smallest very busy library is in this group: one library with more than 110 circulations per hour (it’s a poorly funded library at that: $13.37 expenditures per capita). Some 44% of the libraries have at least 20 circulations per hour and only 10% have fewer than six. Overall, however, these libraries are still somewhat quieter than the national norm—the overall medians are 17.79 circ and 10.69 visits per hour, compared to 22.8 and 14.87 nationally.

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