Alabama library notes

The second of 49 notes on Chapter 20 of Give Us a Dollar and We’ll Give You Back Four (2012-13), this time on Alabama’s libraries.

A substantial percentage of Alabama’s 189 libraries (plus 27 omitted) are relatively poorly supported, with 57% in the bottom three brackets (compared to 28% overall)—but 11 libraries spend at least $73 per capita, the top bracket. Funding difficulties mirror relatively low usage, even though benefit ratios for every expenditure category are at least 4.5 (without cost of living adjustment; 4.2 with adjustment). Only 33% of the libraries show at least six circulation per capita (compared to 64% overall) and only 28% have at least five patron visits per year (54% overall). More than half the libraries have less than 0.2 program attendance per capita (compared to 31% overall).

The budget tables show a strong correlation between spending and circulation (except that libraries spending $21 to $25.99 have lower numbers than those spending $17 to $20.99), all the way from a median of 2.21 circ per capita for the lowest spending bracket to 19.09 for the highest.

Libraries by legal service area

LSA Count % Outliers
<700 4 2.1%
700-1,149 15 7.9%
1,150-1,649 9 4.8% 1
1,650-2,249 14 7.4%
2,250-2,999 11 5.8% 1
3,000-3,999 11 5.8% 2
4,000-5,299 13 6.9% 2
5,300-6,799 12 6.4% 4
6,800-8,699 12 6.4% 3
8,700-11,099 14 7.4%
11,100-14,099 13 6.9%
14,100-18,499 16 8.5% 2
18,500-24,999 12 6.4% 3
25,000-34,499 8 4.3% 1
34,500-53,999 11 5.8% 3
54,000-104,999 9 4.8% 4
105,000-4.1 mill. 5 2.7% 1

Bonus graphs

For Alabama libraries, there’s a strong correlation (0.70) between circulation per capita and spending per capita.

Circulation per capita plotted against spending per capita

Circulation per capita (rounded) occurrence by spending category

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