Libraries Serving 5,300 to 6,799 Potential Patrons

We conclude this back-and-fourth tour of comments on the first 19 chapters of Give Us a Dollar and We’ll Give You Back Four (2012-13) with the chapter in the middle: Chapter 10, on libraries serving 5,300 to 6,799 potential patrons.

These are still small libraries, but not as small—and the tables cover 529 libraries with 28 more omitted. Expenditures trend just slightly low.

Open hours

I was sufficiently startled by this table to violate my rule of not looking up actual libraries: One library system (it is a system) serving fewer than 6,800 potential patrons is open at least 10,000 hours—and it’s a well-funded system, with $160.13 per capita funding. Ten others, not nearly so well funded (at least at the median), are open 4,000 to 10,000 hours.

We now have a majority of libraries open more than 40 hours per week (62%), with 84% open at least 35 hours per week and only 1% (six libraries) open half-time or less, that is, no more than 20 hours per week. Expenditures track well with hours except in the top two brackets (the second bracket’s median expenditures are lower than the third bracket).

Computers for patron use with internet access

Nearly half (46%) of the libraries have six to 12 computers, with two well-funded libraries having 40-99 bracket and only 8% having three or fewer.

Circulation and reference transactions per capita

Circulation tends just a wee bit high; so does reference overall, but only slightly. Nothing stands out in particular. As usual, there’s perfect step-by-step correlation between circulation and expenditures, but here circulation benefit ratios cover a slightly wider range (5.29 to 6.55, omitting the highest and lowest brackets).

Circulation and patron visits per hour

Although there are still fewer very busy libraries than the national norm, overall these libraries are fairly typical. Half the libraries have at least one circ every three minutes and one-third have one every two minutes (or more); half have at least 13 patron visits per hour, and the overall medians for both measures of busyness are roughly equal to the national medians.

And, just for fun, here’s a portion of Chapter 10 of Graphing Public Library Benefits

Circulation Per Capita

Correlation between circulation per capita and spending per capita is strong (0.59).

Figure 10.8 Circulation per capita plotted against spending per capita

Figure 10.9 Circulation per capita (rounded) occurrence by spending category, part 1

Figure 10.10 Circulation per capita (rounded) occurrence by spending category, part 2

A casual reader may observe that Figures 10.9 and 10.10 don’t make a lot of sense, since there’s no legend to say what all those colored lines and markers mean. To which I can only say…watch for the next post, which explicates that by including the first multiline graph in the chapter, which, as in all chapters, does contain the legend. It’s omitted from other graphs to leave more room for the graph itself.

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