Archive for the '$4' Category

New Hampshire public libraries

Posted in $4 on February 15th, 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 206 libraries profiled (plus 24 omitted) are slightly better funded than average, with few libraries in the bottom four brackets and more than average in the upper middle brackets. Circulation is slightly on the low side, mostly because only 6% of the libraries circulate 17 or more items per capita (compared to 14% overall); expenditures do track circulation consistently. Patron visits are also slightly low, again because relatively few libraries fall into the top two brackets. Program attendance is on the high side, with 32% having 0.7 per capita attendance or more and 67% having at least 0.3 (compared to 21% and 54% overall). PC use is distinctly low—only 17% have at least 1.3 uses per capita (compared to 43% overall). Indeed, 40% of the libraries are in the lowest bracket.

Libraries by legal service area

LSA Count % Outliers
<700 5 2.4% 5
700-1,149 25 12.1% 5
1,150-1,649 19 9.2% 2
1,650-2,249 24 11.7% 2
2,250-2,999 24 11.7%
3,000-3,999 10 4.9% 2
4,000-5,299 36 17.5% 5
5,300-6,799 14 6.8%
6,800-8,699 13 6.3% 1
8,700-11,099 10 4.9%
11,100-14,099 7 3.4%
14,100-18,499 6 2.9%
18,500-24,999 5 2.4%
25,000-34,499 5 2.4% 2
34,500-53,999 1 0.5%
54,000-104,999 1 0.5%
105,000-4.1 mill. 1 0.5%

Circulation per capita and spending per capita

Circulation per capita correlates very strongly (0.77) with spending per capita.

Circulation per capita plotted against spending per capita

Circulation per capita (rounded) occurrence by spending category

Nebraska public libraries

Posted in $4 on February 13th, 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.

Nebraska’s 229 profiled libraries (39 others omitted) are generally well funded, with roughly three-quarters spending $36 or more (compared to roughly 40% overall) and very few libraries below $21. Adjusted benefit ratios are all 4.6 or better; without adjustment for Nebraska’s 90.9% cost of living, they’re all over 5.

Given those facts, you’d expect strong circulation numbers—and they are: 55% circulate 10 or more items per capita (compared to 38% overall). Patron visits are also on the high side, 56% having seven or more (compared to 33% overall). The budget table shows consistent tracking of median circulation to expenditure brackets.

Program attendance is also strong, with a full 20% of the libraries having at least 1.1 attendance per capita (compared to 9% overall) and 52% having at least 0.5 (compared to 33% overall). It’s a clean sweep: PC use is also high, with 73% having 1.3 uses per capita or more (compared to 43% overall).

Libraries by legal service area

LSA Count % Outliers
<700 86 37.6% 37
700-1,149 46 20.1% 2
1,150-1,649 30 13.1%
1,650-2,249 17 7.4%
2,250-2,999 6 2.6%
3,000-3,999 7 3.1%
4,000-5,299 4 1.7%
5,300-6,799 7 3.1%
6,800-8,699 8 3.5%
8,700-11,099 3 1.3%
11,100-14,099 2 0.9%
14,100-18,499 2 0.9%
18,500-24,999 3 1.3%
25,000-34,499 4 1.7%
34,500-53,999 2 0.9%
105,000-4.1 mill. 2 0.9%

Circulation per capita 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

North Dakota public libraries

Posted in $4 on February 11th, 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.

Sixty libraries are profiled; 21 are omitted. No libraries are in the top two expenditure brackets and only 17% spend $31 or more per capita (compared to half the libraries overall). Benefit ratios are very high, with median 5.12 or above after adjusting for the 95.1% cost of living. No library is in the top bracket for circulation or patron visits. Most libraries are in the lower midrange of circulation, with only 8% circulating 13 or more items (compared to 25% overall). PC use is distinctly low, with only 12% having 1.7 uses or more per capita (compared to 43% overall).

Libraries by legal service area

LSA Count % Outliers
<700 7 11.7% 9
700-1,149 10 16.7% 8
1,150-1,649 11 18.3% 1
1,650-2,249 5 8.3%
2,250-2,999 7 11.7%
3,000-3,999 2 3.3%
4,000-5,299 2 3.3% 1
5,300-6,799 1 1.7%
6,800-8,699 2 3.3% 1
11,100-14,099 2 3.3%
14,100-18,499 2 3.3%
18,500-24,999 3 5.0%
25,000-34,499 2 3.3% 1
34,500-53,999 1 1.7%
54,000-104,999 3 5.0%

Circulation per capita and spending per capita

Circulation per capita correlates strongly (0.51) with spending per capita.

Note that this graph goes to $55, more than the highest actual spending.

Circulation per capita plotted against spending per capita

Circulation per capita (rounded) occurrence by spending category

Starting points: A note on Give Us a Dollar…

Posted in $4, Libraries on February 10th, 2013

Karen Harker posted “The data you need?” on February 9, 2013 at Being and Librarianship, discussing my post “The data you need? Musings on libraries and numbers” and adding her own thoughts.

It’s a fine post. You should read it. She mentions some of the data she believes she could use for her own collection assessment; it’s an interesting list. (Harker is also now the first purchaser of Graphing Public Library Benefits, for which I’m grateful; I’ve encouraged her to pass it along to others.)

I am taken with this response to the questions I raised in my post–specifically whether librarians “got” this stuff:

I don’t believe the truth is clear about this.  It is probably something like, some of us do care but don’t get it; some of us get it but don’t care; some care and understand it, but don’t have the time; and some of us are quite interested and can follow through.  And it’s not clear whether this last group is growing in numbers or just staying on the fringes.

That encourages me to continue–and to think harder about my possible non-textbook.

But there’s also this, shortly before the paragraph above:

Walt goes on to question his own contributions, due to lack of response from the library community.  He is, essentially, taking a sounding, asking – Is anybody there? Does anybody care?  Well, Walt, I think we do care and some of us do read your results.  I think what is contributing to this apparent anomie is not disinterest, but perhaps a kind of paralysis – what do we do with this? It is interesting that the libraries in my state have generally moderate circulation rates or that circulation is correlated to expenditures.  What can I do with that information?  While this may be taught in the core curriculum of MLS programs, it may be forgotten as the graduates enter the workforce and get sucked into drudgery of their everyday routines.

I’ve boldfaced part of that (not emphasized in the original) because that’s what I want to comment on here. To wit: There’s no question that neither my book(s) on public library data nor the series of related posts here give a library something the library can run with directly. The book(s) may provide starting points, but those need to be fleshed out with local analysis, consideration of what a library wants to do and more. The book will tell you how your library stacks up (on a range of output metrics) compared to a reasonably small group of comparable libraries. I hope (and believe) that’s useful information, but it’s only a starting point for telling your own compelling funding story (and seeing where things could be improved).

The “$4″ posts here, specifically the state-by-state commentaries, are not even starting points. They’re intended to add to the book and provide further overall information on one aspect of public library operations–but they’re not directly useful for individual libraries.

I submitted a comment on Harker’s post, noting how I might proceed with a future project if it made sense (that is, another analysis of public library metrics, not The Mythical Average Library). I would definitely do some things differently, but the results would still offer a fairly rich description of (some aspects of) American public library operations and, I hope, a set of starting points for individual libraries. But they’re only starting points. And maybe it’s unrealistic to believe that the smaller libraries I’m most interested in helping–the 77% (or so) of public libraries serving fewer than 25,000 people–are in positions to take advantage of my work, to build from those starting points.

Anyway: Thanks, Karen: A first-rate post that gives me (and others) things to think about.

North Carolina public libraries

Posted in $4 on February 8th, 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.

All 77 of North Carolina’s libraries are profiled in the book; most of them are relatively poorly funded but not in the bottom bracket, with 56% spending $12 to $20.99 (compared to 19% overall). Just as no library is in the top spending bracket, so none circulates 24 or more items per capita—and only 16% circulate eight or more (compared to 50% overall). Except for one anomalous library, spending and circulation correlate well. Where there’s low circulation, there also tend to be fairly few patron visits—as is the case here, where 27% of libraries have at least five visits per capita (compared to 54% overall). Program attendance is also low, with 21% of libraries having at least 0.4 attendance per capita (compared to 42% overall). Similarly, PC use is low: 22% report at least 1.3 uses per capita, compared to 43% overall.

Libraries by legal service area

LSA Count %
4,000-5,299 2 2.6%
8,700-11,099 2 2.6%
11,100-14,099 1 1.3%
14,100-18,499 1 1.3%
18,500-24,999 3 3.9%
25,000-34,499 3 3.9%
34,500-53,999 13 16.9%
54,000-104,999 21 27.3%
105,000-4.1 mill. 31 40.3%

Circulation per capita and spending per capita

Circulation per capita correlates very strongly (0.73) with spending per capita.

Circulation per capita plotted against spending per capita

Circulation per capita (rounded) occurrence by spending category

Montana public libraries

Posted in $4 on February 6th, 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 79 libraries profiled (one omitted) generally fall into the lower midrange of expenditures: only 26% spend at least $31 per capita but only 14% spend less than $17. Circulation also tends toward the lower midrange, with only 11% circulating at least 10 items per capita (compared to 38% overall) and only one library (1%) circulating less than two items (compared to 6% overall). Tracking of expenditures with circulation is generally solid—except that the single library circulating at least 13 and fewer than 17 items per capita isn’t funded as well as the median of those circulating 10 to 12.99 items per capita.

Patron visits tend toward the middle (with relatively few at the top and bottom), while program attendance is somewhat low (41% have at least 0.3 attendance per capita, compared to 54% overall). PC use is high: 67% have at least 1.3 uses per capita, compared to 43% overall.

Libraries by legal service area

LSA Count % Outliers
<700 5 6.3%
700-1,149 4 5.1%
1,150-1,649 6 7.6%
1,650-2,249 10 12.7%
2,250-2,999 6 7.6%
3,000-3,999 7 8.9%
4,000-5,299 10 12.7%
5,300-6,799 2 2.5% 1
6,800-8,699 4 5.1%
8,700-11,099 9 11.4%
11,100-14,099 5 6.3%
14,100-18,499 2 2.5%
18,500-24,999 2 2.5%
34,500-53,999 2 2.5%
54,000-104,999 4 5.1%
105,000-4.1 mill. 1 1.3%

Circulation per capita and spending per capita

Circulation per capita correlates strongly (0.63) with spending per capita.

Circulation per capita plotted against spending per capita

Circulation per capita (rounded) occurrence by spending category

Mississippi public libraries

Posted in $4 on February 4th, 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.

Most of Mississippi’s 50 libraries (none omitted) are poorly funded: only 10% spend at least $21 per capita, compared to 72% of the nation’s public libraries. As you might expect, use is also low: no library circulates eight or more items per capita and only 16% circulate at least four items (compared to 79% overall). Expenditures do track with circulation. Patron visits are also on the low side—16% have at least four per capita, compared to 65% overall. Only 10% of the libraries have at least 0.3 program attendance per capita (54% overall) and just over one-third (36%) have at least one PC use per capita (compared to 57% overall).

Libraries by legal service area

LSA Count %
3,000-3,999 1 2.0%
6,800-8,699 3 6.0%
8,700-11,099 3 6.0%
11,100-14,099 4 8.0%
18,500-24,999 2 4.0%
25,000-34,499 6 12.0%
34,500-53,999 11 22.0%
54,000-104,999 15 30.0%
105,000-4.1 mill. 5 10.0%

Circulation per Capita and Spending per Capita

Circulation per capita correlates strongly (0.68) with spending per capita.

Circulation per capita plotted against spending per capita

Circulation per capita (rounded) occurrence by spending category

Note that there are no libraries in the $31-$52 or $73+ spending categories.

Missouri public libraries

Posted in $4 on February 1st, 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 148 profiled libraries in Missouri (two libraries omitted) tend toward light funding, with only 26% spending $31 or more (compared to 50% overall). Circulation per capita is on the low side, with only 37% circulating eight or more items per capita (compared to 50% overall); spending does correlate with circulation throughout (although that’s not always true on the budget side). Patron visits are slightly on the low side. Program attendance is distinctly low: 53% of the libraries have less than 0.2 attendance per capita, compared to 31% overall. Meanwhile, PC use is typical.

Libraries by legal service area

LSA Count % Outliers
<700 1
700-1,149 4 2.7% 1
1,150-1,649 11 7.4%
1,650-2,249 11 7.4%
2,250-2,999 7 4.7%
3,000-3,999 8 5.4%
4,000-5,299 15 10.1%
5,300-6,799 7 4.7%
6,800-8,699 8 5.4%
8,700-11,099 13 8.8%
11,100-14,099 11 7.4%
14,100-18,499 8 5.4%
18,500-24,999 11 7.4%
25,000-34,499 10 6.8%
34,500-53,999 7 4.7%
54,000-104,999 8 5.4%
105,000-4.1 mill. 9 6.1%

Circulation per capita and spending per capita

Correlation between circulation per capita and spending per capita is extremely strong at 0.84.

Circulation per capita plotted against spending per capita

Circulation per capita (rounded) occurrence by spending category

Minnesota public libraries

Posted in $4 on January 30th, 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.

Minnesota has 133 profiled libraries (and five omitted), which tend to be well-supported: only 16.5% are in the bottom three spending brackets (compared to 28% overall) and 41% are in the top three brackets (compared to 30% overall). Benefit ratios are consistently very high: 5.66 or higher before adjusting for Minnesota’s 102.8% cost of living, 5.82 or higher after that adjustment.

These are well-used libraries. Nearly two-thirds (63%) circulate at least 10 items per capita and 80% circulate 8 or more (compared to 38% and 50% overall)—or, looking at it another way, only 13 libraries (10%) circulate fewer than six items per capita (compared to 36% overall). Patrons visit libraries frequently, although the differences aren’t quite as pronounced. The budgetary tables show some remarkable figures: half of the best-funded libraries circulate more than 30 items per capita, and the top quarter stays at or above 13 per capita all the way down to $26 expenditures. (Median circulation tracks perfectly with spending.) PC use is also on the high side.

Libraries by legal service area

LSA Count % Outliers
<700 4 3.0% 2
700-1,149 12 9.0% 2
1,150-1,649 7 5.3% 1
1,650-2,249 12 9.0%
2,250-2,999 8 6.0%
3,000-3,999 12 9.0%
4,000-5,299 9 6.8%
5,300-6,799 10 7.5%
6,800-8,699 8 6.0%
8,700-11,099 5 3.8%
11,100-14,099 6 4.5%
14,100-18,499 4 3.0%
18,500-24,999 7 5.3%
25,000-34,499 4 3.0%
34,500-53,999 5 3.8%
54,000-104,999 4 3.0%
105,000-4.1 mill. 16 12.0%

Circulation per capita and spending per capita

Circulation per capita correlates very strongly (0.74) with spending pe capita.

Circulation per capita plotted against spending per capita

Circulation per capita (rounded) occurrence by spending category

Michigan public libraries

Posted in $4 on January 28th, 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 382 libraries profiled (three libraries omitted) are distributed fairly typically in terms of expenditures, except that the highest bracket is 4.7% of libraries as compared to 9.8% overall.

Circulation is “bulgy,” with very few libraries at the top and bottom and slightly more libraries in the lower middle brackets; median expenditures consistently rise with circulation per capita. Program attendance is low, with 29% having at least 0.4 attendance per capita (compared to 42% overall).

Libraries by legal service area

LSA Count % Outliers
<700 3 0.8%
700-1,149 6 1.6%
1,150-1,649 5 1.3%
1,650-2,249 11 2.9%
2,250-2,999 16 4.2% 1
3,000-3,999 35 9.2% 1
4,000-5,299 34 8.9%
5,300-6,799 39 10.2%
6,800-8,699 31 8.1% 1
8,700-11,099 36 9.4%
11,100-14,099 32 8.4%
14,100-18,499 27 7.1%
18,500-24,999 21 5.5%
25,000-34,499 25 6.5%
34,500-53,999 21 5.5%
54,000-104,999 22 5.8%
105,000-4.1 mill. 18 4.7%

Circulation per capita and spending per capita

Circulation per capita correlates strongly (0.64) with spending per capita.

Circulation per capita plotted against spending per capita

Circulation per capita (rounded) occurrence by spending category


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