Archive for January, 2013

Indiana public libraries

Posted in $4 on January 9th, 2013

Another post commenting on Chapter 20 of Give Us a Dollar and We’ll Give You Back Four (2012-13)–now available as a $9.99 Kindle ebook or $21.95 paperback with ISBN 978-1481279161 on Amazon, along with the usual Lulu options.

Indiana’s 234 libraries (in the tables—four were omitted) are generally well funded, with 55% in the top three brackets (compared to 30% overall) and only 20, or less than 9%, in the bottom four brackets combined (compared to 39% overall). While low at the highest end, circulation is also strong, with 67% circulating eight or more items per capita (compared to 50% overall); except at the very bottom, expenditures and circulation track consistently.

Indiana libraries are also well visited, with 71% having five or more visits per capita and 45% having seven or more (compared to 54% and 33% overall). Program attendance is particularly strong, with 17% showing at least 1.1 attendance per capita (compared to 9% overall) and fully half showing at least 0.5 attendance (compared to 33% overall). PC use, although typical at the highest end, is quite high, with 62% having at least 1.3 uses per capita (compared to 43% overall). In short, Indiana’s libraries are both (with some exceptions) well-funded and well used.

Libraries by legal service area

LSA Count % Outliers
<700 1 0.4% 2
700-1,149 7 3.0% 1
1,150-1,649 18 7.7%
1,650-2,249 19 8.1%
2,250-2,999 13 5.6%
3,000-3,999 14 6.0% 1
4,000-5,299 19 8.1%
5,300-6,799 11 4.7%
6,800-8,699 12 5.1%
8,700-11,099 22 9.4%
11,100-14,099 13 5.6%
14,100-18,499 16 6.8%
18,500-24,999 13 5.6%
25,000-34,499 22 9.4%
34,500-53,999 9 3.8%
54,000-104,999 15 6.4%
105,000-4.1 mill. 10 4.3%

Circulation and spending per capita

Circulation per capita correlates strongly (0.56) with spending per capita.

Circulation per capita plotted against spending per capita

Circulation per capita (rounded) occurrence by spending category

C&I: The HTML Challenge: Weekly progress report

Posted in Cites & Insights on January 8th, 2013

In the most recent post on the challenge–for those who find C&I valuable and prefer it in HTML form to actually contribute something to C&I–I promised weekly updates and how it was going.

Here’s the first update.

Contributions received to date

$0.

Purchases of C&I print annuals since challenge announced.

0

Contributions received with “not specific to HTML” disclaimer

$0

Percentage progress toward goal

0%

Illinois public libraries

Posted in $4 on January 7th, 2013

Another post commenting on Chapter 20 of Give Us a Dollar and We’ll Give You Back Four (2012-13)–now available as a $9.99 Kindle ebook or $21.95 paperback with ISBN 978-1481279161 on Amazon, along with the usual Lulu options.

The 622 profiled libraries (12 omitted) are generally well funded, with more than 100 (16.6%) in the top bracket (at least $73 per capita) and only 15.7% in the bottom three brackets combined (compared to 28.2% overall). Circulation tends to be slightly high, with only 28% circulating fewer than 6 items per capita (compared to 36% overall). Circulation per capita and expenditures track perfectly, as is also the case in the budget table (where all figures—25%ile, median and 75%ile—rise consistently with expenditures). Visits per capita are strong in the upper middle, while program attendance and PC use are both fairly typical in distribution.

Libraries by legal service area

LSA Count % Outliers
<700 12 1.9% 5
700-1,149 48 7.7% 3
1,150-1,649 47 7.6%
1,650-2,249 50 8.0% 1
2,250-2,999 53 8.5%
3,000-3,999 38 6.1% 2
4,000-5,299 50 8.0% 1
5,300-6,799 36 5.8%
6,800-8,699 36 5.8%
8,700-11,099 31 5.0%
11,100-14,099 35 5.6%
14,100-18,499 40 6.4%
18,500-24,999 34 5.5%
25,000-34,499 42 6.8%
34,500-53,999 33 5.3%
54,000-104,999 28 4.5%
105,000-4.1 mill. 9 1.4%

Circulation per capita and spending per capita

Circulation per capita correlates strongly (0.75) with spending per capita.

Circulation per capita plotted against spending per capita

Circulation per capita (rounded) occurrence by spending category

Cites & Insights in HTML: The Challenge

Posted in Cites & Insights on January 2nd, 2013

Background

On December 24, 2012–admittedly not the best time to get your attention–I posted “Want HTML versions of Cites & Insights essays? It’s your click.”

Briefly, the post said that I’m reconsidering offering Cites & Insights essays in HTML form (which I’ve been doing at least most of the time since 2004), partly because the one-column 6×9 “online” PDF seems to fill the same need, partly because I’ve never been entirely happy with the results. (And, in fact, the results are terrible when graphs or pictures are involved: They’re not there.)

And continued as follows:

So: If you really want HTML versions of C&I essays, it’s up to you…to pay for them.

Total voluntary financial support for Cites & Insights in 2012 has not reached three digits, or even high two digits.

If you want HTML essays, contribute–the PayPal secure Donate button’s right there on the home page.

If I see at least $1,000 in donations between now and the time I’m ready to publish the February 2013 issue–which I’m guessing will be around January 20-22, 2013–then I’ll keep doing HTML separates at least through 2013.

If I don’t get even within shouting range of that total, I’ll probably drop them: The one-column 6×9 PDF format should meet the needs of most e-readers. And, y’know, considering the price…

Purchases of C&I annual volumes will count as contributions, at the full rate of $50 each, even though I don’t net nearly that much. And you get great travel photos on the covers, plus indexes that are not otherwise available. (The indexes alone are worth, well…more than nothing.)

Foreground

So far, the first week of the HTML challenge has yielded a nice round number: $0 donations, 0 sales of C&I annual volumes.

But hey, it’s the new year. There appear to be a few hundred people who read the HTML versions–there were, in fact, more than 100,000 HTML essay pageviews in 2012–and if even 100 figure it’s worth a paltry $10 a year, it will continue.

Here’s what I might hear you thinking or saying, and my response if any:

  • Other people will provide the contributions you’re seeking; I can be a freerider. Could happen, but consider the total to date.
  • I certainly don’t think the HTML version C&I is worth enough to pay for it, not even $10 a year. That’s fine, but don’t be surprised when the HTML goes away.
  • You’re trying to get loads of money; you probably won’t even tell us when you start making progress. Nope. I’ll offer weekly totals whenif there’s any total to report. Sure, I’d love to get a few $K, since I think C&I is worth it, but…
  • You’re bluffing. No, I’m not. Note that I didn’t say C&I itself was endangered, at least not yet: that might be a bluff.

If you find C&I worthwhile but don’t care about the HTML version…contributions are also welcome. [If they come via PayPal, I'll thank you via email--and if you specifically don't want your contribution linked to the HTML challenge, you can tell me so at that point.]

It will take 40 $25 contributions or 100 $10 contributions or, for that matter, 20 copies of the annual volumes at $50. We’ll see what happens

Idaho public libraries

Posted in $4 on January 2nd, 2013

Another post commenting on Chapter 20 of Give Us a Dollar and We’ll Give You Back Four (2012-13)–now available as a $9.99 Kindle ebook or $21.95 paperback with ISBN 978-1481279161 on Amazon, along with the usual Lulu options.

The 101 libraries profiled (three are omitted) tend toward lower funding—some libraries are in every expenditure bracket, but 55% spend between $12 and $30.99. (On the other hand, only three libraries spend less than $12, while six libraries are in each of the top two spending brackets). Although only one library or system circulates at least 24 items per capita, circulation is slightly on the high side, with 60% circulating at least 8 items (compared to 50% overall). Idaho libraries also do well on patron visits, with 59% having 6 or more visits per capita (compared to 42% overall) and only 9% having less than three (compared to 22% overall). Program attendance is consistently on the high side, as is PC use (where 47% of the libraries had at least 1.7 uses per capita and 70% had at least one, compared to 30% and 57% overall).

Libraries by legal service area

LSA Count % Outliers
<700

11

10.9%

3

700-1,149

11

10.9%

1,150-1,649

7

6.9%

1,650-2,249

7

6.9%

2,250-2,999

8

7.9%

3,000-3,999

8

7.9%

4,000-5,299

4

4.0%

5,300-6,799

6

5.9%

6,800-8,699

10

9.9%

8,700-11,099

5

5.0%

11,100-14,099

3

3.0%

14,100-18,499

2

2.0%

18,500-24,999

3

3.0%

25,000-34,499

4

4.0%

34,500-53,999

6

5.9%

54,000-104,999

5

5.0%

105,000-4.1 mill.

1

1.9%

Circulation per capita and spending per capita

Correlation between circulation per capita and spending per capita is, while still moderate, unusually low at 0.31.


Circulation per capita plotted against spending per capita


Circulation per capita (rounded) occurrence by spending category

The year in posts & readers

Posted in Stuff on January 1st, 2013

It’s the time of the year when some bloggers recount how many thousands of visitors they had in the previous year and various other astounding statistics (maybe even as an infographic!)

So, here goes:

Some people read Walt at Random last year. A very few people even commented (plus thousands of spammers, to be sure).

The actual numbers are neither especially trustworthy (how many were people and how many were spambots and spiders?) nor particularly interesting.

Happy New Year and, if it works for you, keep on blogging.

My 2012 reading report

Posted in Books and publishing on January 1st, 2013

Relevance to greater issues: None. But other folks do these and I find them mildly interesting, and in late 2010 I started keeping a spreadsheet of books read–mostly so I wouldn’t accidentally take out the same book a second time (it’s happened).

So…

Books read in 2012

Fortynine. [49]

Ahead of my low bar (3 books in each 28-day period, or 39 in all), behind my unstated goal (a book a week, or 52 in all).

Way behind 2011, when I read 64.

Actually, the real number should be books completed in 2012–and that’s only 45, since I abandoned four books.

If you’re interested, the four books I abandoned–all from the library–were:Bozo Sapiens by Kaplan & Kaplan, Imagining Atlantis by Richard Ellis, Autumn of the Moguls by Michael Wolff and English Music by Peter Ackroyd

I should have abandoned a fifth one: The Hunt for Zero Point by Nick Cook.

Books most enjoyed (not in any order)

Zoe’s Tale John Scalzi
The Android’s Dream John Scalzi
The Florabama Ladies’ Auxiliary & Sewing Circle Lois Battle
Outwitting History Aaron Lansky
Fuzzy Nation John Scalzi
Storyville Lois Battle

Runners-up

The Canterbury Tales Chaucer & Ackroyd
Gone for Good Mark Childress
Snuff Terry Pratchett
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay Michael Chabon
The Canceled Czech Lawrence Block
The Final Solution Michael Chabon
Deadly Decisions Kathy Reichs
Hominids Robert J. Sawyer
War Brides Lois Battle
Summerland Michael Chabon

Those are books I rated as “A” or “A-.” Sixteen more books rated “B+” or “B”–ones I enjoyed, but not quite as much.

That’s a pretty good year. One book rated a “B-,” six rated “C+,” four rated “C”–and one, which I might also have been better off giving up on–rated a “C-“: The Information by James Gleick.

By the way, while I’m obviously a fan of facile writing, I’m not necessarily a pushover for Scalzi: The God Engines only got a C. But that’s me.

Curiosity of genre assignment: I usually get three books at a time–one nonfiction, one “mainstream” fiction, and one genre, the last alternating between science fiction/fantasy and mystery. Kathy Reichs’ books, the basis for Bones, are shelved at Livermore Public in mainstream fiction, not mysteries.

The other curiosity here: There’s one book that, it turned out, I had read previously–a decade ago, when it was serialized in Analog. That was Hominids by Robert J Sawyer, and I recognized it about 50 pages in (yes, the copyright page notes the prior publication)–but I read it again because I decided I wanted to read the trilogy it begins–the Neanderthal Parallax–and it made sense to freshen up on the start. Currently being read: Humans, second in the trilogy.


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