Archive for the 'Cites & Insights' Category

Cites & Insights October 2013 (13:10) available

Posted in C&I Books, Cites & Insights on September 3rd, 2013

Cites & Insights 13:10 (October 2013) is now available at http://citesandinsights.info

The issue is 48 pages long. The single-column 6×9 “online reading version” is 65 pages long.

In fact, most of the regular version also fits into a 6″ width; it’s made up of book samples that didn’t reduce neatly to the narrow column of the two-column version.

The issue consists of one big essay in six smaller portions plus an introduction:

The Front: Books, Books and (Books?)   pp. 1-48

It’s all about books–specifically, Cites & Insights Books for libraries and librarians: What may be happening with older books, two important new books, one potential new book and two new combinations of old material.

   Weeding the Virtual Bookstore   pp. 2-3

Some of the existing Cites & Insights Books may go out of print (that is, be removed from potential production) shortly. This section explains why, which books are involved and why–if you actually want one of them–you need to act soon.

  Your Library Is…: A Collection of Public Library Sayings   pp. 3-10

An inspiring and interesting tour through what America’s public libraries choose as their mottoes and slogans on their websites, based on a complete scan of all 9,000+ libraries (or at least those for which I could find websites). 1,137 unique mottoes and slogans, plus 88 mottoes and slogans shared by 205 libraries. General comments, price and availability (this one’s available as an $8.99 PDF!) are followed by the Cs: Sayings from libraries in California, Colorado and Connecticut, roughly 9.5 of the 157 text pages in the book.

  $4 to $1: Public Library Benefits and Budgets, Vol. 1, Libraries by Size   pp. 10-24

Designed as a tool to help librarians and Friends tell their library’s story to retain and improve funding, this book also provides a detailed picture of public libraries in FY2011 and how usage changed from FY2009. The section includes notes on how this study differs from Give Us a Dollar…, followed by portions of Chapter 1 and all of Chapter 4.

  $4 to $1: Public Library Benefits and Budgets, Vol. 2, Libraries by State   pp. 24-38

This book does not yet exist. The section includes notes on what it would include and the circumstances under which it will be completed (basically, sales of the two books just mentioned), followed by the draft version of what would be the first two of 49 state profiles (DC and Hawaii, with single public libraries, get much shorter profiles), those for Alabama and Alaska.

  The Compleat Give Us a Dollar… Vol. 1   pp. 38-44

This book provides the most in-depth discussion of public library benefits and budgets you’re likely to find, combining all but Chapter 20 of Give Us a Dollar and We’ll Give You Back Four with graphs and commentary to flesh out the discussion. After a brief introduction, there’s an excerpt consisting of roughly the first half of Chapter 4.

  The inCompleat Give Us a Dollar…  pp. 44-48

This massive book (433 8.5″ x 11″ pages) combines all of the text from Give Us a Dollar… with all of the graphs and commentary–except for multicolor line graphs that won’t reproduce well in a black-and-white book. (There are no such graphs in Volume 2 of The Compleat…, so this volume is a complete print replacement for that volume, but an incomplete replacement for volume 1.) In addition to commentary and pricing, there’s an excerpt consisting of the section for Alabama.

Do note that there are two ways to acquire Your Library Is…: You can buy the $8.99 PDF ebook (6×9, no DRM) or $16.99 paperback–or you can get a special deluxe PDF version by contributing at least $50 to Cites & Insights. (What makes the special deluxe version special? It adds the front and back mosaic covers from the paperback edition as first and last pages.)

Thanks again–and a status report

Posted in $4, Cites & Insights on August 27th, 2013
I just sent this to those who contributed to the $4 to $1 campaign. It’s a good summary of where things stand and my suggestions for those who would find this stuff useful, so I’m just repeating it here:
Thanks again for your contribution to $4 to $1: Public Library Benefits and Budgets (and related books).

As you no doubt know by now, the campaign failed, and your contribution has been returned.

I can think of several possible reasons for the failure (books to help libraries improve budgets aren’t as sexy as hot new devices or as intriguing as other possibilities, I don’t have a wide enough social network, I didn’t pound pound pound on it enough…whatever), but see little point in attempting to analyze the failure. It could have been worse–the final figure was just over $500, or just over 20% of the goal.

Since you have some interest in this project, here’s some suggestions for what you can do now:

1. $4 to $1: Public Library Benefits and Budgets, Volume 1, Libraries by Size is now available. It’s a 213-page 6″ x  9″ book. The link here will take you to the paperback (which is priced at $24.95, since it will–eventually–be available on Amazon, but it’s discounted 20% at Lulu, making the price $19.95). It even has an ISBN: 978-1-304-35588-1. It’s also available as a $9.99 PDF ebook or a site license edition PDF ebook for $39.99, the latter explicitly allowing multiple simultaneous usage and downloads within a library school (including distance students), single-state library consortium, state library association, college, university or other similar situation. I think the book came out very well. You can read more about it at Walt at Random, and the draft version of Chapter 3 is still available as most of the September 2013 Cites & Insights. (That link brings up the single-column PDF version; the chapter begins on Page 7.)

2. If you’re buying $4 to $1 for a library school or a library or as a consultant, and especially if you’re buying it in print, I’d also suggest The inCompleat Give Us a Dollar and We’ll Give You Back Four, a $26.99 433-page 8.5″ x 11″ paperback that provides the most complete discussion I know of regarding 2010 public library benefits and budgets ($4 to $1 uses 2011 data and changes from 2009; it uses fewer measures and simplified benchmarks). It combines tables, graphs and discussion–and it’s inCompleat only because it lacks multicolor line graphs for some measures. The Lulu book page includes a preview that should give you a good sense of what the book is like.

3. Your Library Is… : A Collection of Public Library Sayings just came out yesterday (the working title was A Library Is…). It came out much better than I expected. The link takes you to the 163-page 6 x 9″ $16.99 paperback; an $8.99 PDF ebook is also available–but I recommend the print book, given that this is the kind of book you want to read a few pages of, bookmark, then come back to every day or two. The book includes 1,137 unique mottoes and slogans as well as 88 mottoes and slogans shared by 205 public libraries. Some sayings are humorous; some are profound; some may be inspiring. By the way, you can also get a special deluxe PDF ebook (what makes it deluxe? it wraps the front and back book cover images at the front and back of the ebook) for free–by contributing at least $50 to Cites & Insights and requesting a copy when I thank you for your contribution. (Or, for that matter, you can contribute at least $100 and, on request, I’ll send you an autographed paperback copy–but that will take a few weeks!) The Lulu book pages (either link) include a preview that should give you a good sense of what the book is like.

4. What about Volume 2, Libraries by State? I believe it would be a fascinating set of comparisons, but it’s not directly useful for individual library purposes. I’ve prepared the matrix and set of measures to be included (dropping two of the measures from Libraries by Size to save space), and I plan to prepare the draft version of the first two states and introductory material, to appear in the October 2013 Cites & Insights, probably out next week. Volume 2 will appear if there are enough sales of Volume 1–at least 50 and possibly 100 before I prepare the rest of the book and publish it.

5. One last thing. The final offer for the $2,500 goal, which would have returned $2,400 to me, was that I’d make the PDF version of Volume 1 entirely free. I’ll restate that offer in terms of sales: When (or if) sales of Volume 1 total $2,400 in net revenue (which would only take about 80 site-license copies or about 300 individual copies), I’ll reset the PDF price to $0. The same goes for Your Library Is…: If it ever reaches $2,400 in net sales, I’ll make it free. (“Sales” through donations to C&I will count as $8 each toward that goal.)

That’s more than enough! This letter will also appear as a post at Walt at Random. As you’ve probably already guessed, your email addresses are blind copies, since some of you preferred anonymity.

Thanks again,
Walt Crawford

Cites & Insights 13:9 (September 2013) available–special issue

Posted in C&I Books, Cites & Insights on July 16th, 2013

Cites & Insights 13:9 (September 2013) is now available for downloading at the Cites & Insights homepage.

The early, special issue is 10 pages long. If you’re reading online or doing anything other than printing it out, you’re much better off downloading the single-column online edition, which is 24 pages long, as most of the special issue is a rough draft of a book chapter that includes graphs and tables, which had to be compressed (reducing the type size in the tables quite a bit!) to fit into the narrower columns of the print version.

The issue consists of a single essay (albeit one that includes a draft book chapter as an example):

Libraries
$4 to $1: Public Library Benefits and Budgets–Help Needed  pp. 1-10

I’ve started the followup to Give Us a Dollar and We’ll Give You Back Four (2012-13), and I’m trying to crowdfund inexpensive or free versions of the book (and presell copies) through an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign.

This issue describes the project: Two books (one with libraries by size, one with libraries by state) combining tables, graphs and commentary to offer reasonably detailed pictures of countable public library benefits for FY2011 and how they’ve changed from 2009 to 2011, and A Library Is..., a collection of public library slogans and mottoes.

In addition to describing the project, why I’m trying crowdfunding, what happens if the campaign does (or doesn’t) succeed and how this relates to existing books, I provide a rough-draft sample of what the book will include–Chapter 3, covering libraries with fewer than 1,000 potential patrons [more than one-ninth of America's public libraries and systems].

The campaign runs through mid-August. This is the September 2013 C&I: There won’t be another one for at least six weeks and probably more.

Cites & Insights 13:8 (August 2013) available

Posted in Cites & Insights on July 1st, 2013

Cites & Insights 13:8 (August 2013) is now available for downloading at http://citesandinsights.info/

The regular two-column print-oriented issue is 28 pages long; the online-oriented 6×9 single-column version is 54 pages long.

The issue includes:

Perspective: Differences  pp. 1-7

Yes, Perspectives is back–this time with an essay about perception and value.

Social Networks   pp. 7-21

A summer essay with relatively old material–mostly on Delicious, the early days of Google+, and the Great Pseudonymity Discussion.

Media: Mystery Collection Part 6   pp. 21-28

Discs 31-36 of this 60-disc 250-movie collection.

 

IndieGoGo, Timing and Reality

Posted in Cites & Insights, Libraries on June 27th, 2013

Consider this a rapid update to Timing, which appeared yesterday (but was written a couple of days before that).

Here’s what’s happened since that post that’s at least moderately relevant:

  • I signed up for an IndieGoGo account–but I screwed up an attempt at a more secure password. (It has to do with The Great & Powerful Facebook…) So I deleted the account.
  • A couple of days later (today), attempting a clean start, I find that IGG won’t let me start an account. I’ve sent email to IndieGoGo (after deleting a bunch of cookies: otherwise, IGG–IndieGoGo is a long string to type–wouldn’t even let me create a support request, always taking me to a special 404 page).
  • So: As of now, until I hear from them, I don’t know whether I can create an IGG campaign. I certainly won’t be ready to do one by this weekend.
  • Meanwhile, IMLS released the 2011 public library datasets–and, along the way, reformatted years’ worth of old datasets. Instead of offering .txt and .mdb (Access databases), they’re now offering .txt (useless for me), .xls (Excel) and .csv (Comma-separated values, directly readable in Excel and other spreadsheets). That changes what I’d say in the key chapters of Mostly Numbers–if I do that book. It’s also resulted in a curious situation; you’ll read about that in a couple of days. (Briefly: Why is an .xls file three times as large as the .xls version of a .csv file that appears to contain precisely the same data? Call that the “14 megabyte question.”)
  • That release means that I could start working on the new Give Us a Dollar… project any old time, in addition to the ongoing harvest of public library mottoes & slogans (around 3,500 libraries checked so far–5,698 to go; 713 mottoes/slogans saved; still surprisingly little duplication).[See note below]
  • Meanwhile, I’ve reviewed a printed version of the August Cites & Insights (NOT including an essay on the crowdfunding campaign), so it’s ready for final steps–revision, copyfitting–leading up to a July 1 or 2 publication. And it’s already as long as I’d like a “summer issue” to be.

So…

Here’s the plan.

  • The crowdfunding campaign–a long shot at best–is on hold until IGG gets back to me.
  • Responses to my little survey still welcome; there are only five so far.
  • Comments on the possible crowdfunding and the $4 project also welcome.
  • I’ll plan to publish the August C&I on Monday or Tuesday, August 1 or 2
  • If and when I do a crowdfunding campaign, I’ll publish a special issue of C&I devoted entirely to that topic–probably a very short issue.

Note added 1:30 p.m. PDT 6/27:

Those numbers are probably misleading in terms of the eventual number of mottoes/slogans. You could run a quick calculation and say “1,800+ mottoes: That’s a LOT.”

But, after checking the couple of thousand libraries with URLs in the 2010 IMLS database, which yielded around 500, I’ve been checking libraries by LSA (legal service area population), largest to smallest. I’m down to around 29,000…

It seems quite likely that smaller libraries will have fewer mottoes/slogans–and based on past experience, I’d guess that hundreds of small libraries won’t even have websites.

I wouldn’t venture a guess as to what the final total will be. I do know that some of the mottoes are inspiring, some are very local, and at least a few are somewhat humorous in a refreshing way.

Cites & Insights 13:7 (July 2013) now available

Posted in Cites & Insights on June 1st, 2013

Cites & Insights 13:7 (July 2013) is now available for downloading at http://citesandinsights.info

The regular PDF version (two columns, 8.5×11″, designed for print) is 26 pages.

The “online version” (also PDF, one column, 6×9″, designed and optimized for online reading) is 52 pages.

Note that this is another case where the online version will offer a better display of one article (the first one) because of graphs.

The issue includes:

Libraries
The Big Deal and the Damage Done  pp. 1-6

If you’re in an academic library, you need to be aware of this study, now available in three versions: A regular PDF (no DRM) for $9.99, a paperback for $16.50 and, especially suitable for library schools and any library wishing to make it broadly available, a campus license PDF version for $40 that explicitly allows mounting the book on a campus ebook or other server that allows multiple simultaneous access or downloading by authorized students and other users.

This article includes Chapter 1 of the book and a segment of the concluding chapter. It includes eight graphs that will be easier to read in the one-column version, although they’re all entirely readable in the two-column version.

Technology  pp. 6-10

A dozen little essays about a dozen specific technologies.

The CD-ROM Project  pp. 10-16

Moving toward the finish line: Possibly the last installment in this series, mostly a set of disappointments with two bright spots.

Media
50 Movie Comedy Kings, Part 2  pp. 16-21

More old movies and more examples of the extent to which comedy flicks are context-sensitive.

The Back

More miscellaneous snarkiness and sometimes-pointed mini-essays.

Important, useful, used, interesting: Part 2

Posted in Books and publishing, Cites & Insights on May 7th, 2013

Before getting on to the challenging items, here are a few cases where there wasn’t much question as to an item’s importance or usefulness:

  • Old movie reviews (what used to be Offtopic Perspectives): Purely for fun, and no, I don’t plan to gather them all together, add an index and publish them. Not a chance. Nor do I plan to stop doing them until the movies run out (and unless something happens I’m down to the last…hmmm…240 or so, so that could happen in 2-3 years).
  • The Back in Cites & Insights–I hope it’s interesting, I know it’s fun, it’s rarely of any importance.

Mildly tricky cases

Then there are cases where I thought something was either important or usefully interesting, but couldn’t see it being either long enough or used enough to be anything but a Cites & Insights essay. With those, I’m always interested in tracking apparent readership. For example:

  • The pieces demolishing the myth that public libraries are closing down all over the place. I thought that work was important, but it’s only useful if someone’s raising that particular nonsense. So it belonged in C&I (I think–it was too long for one of the trade journals). Readership of those issues has been solid (2,400 to 2,500 between articles and issues, through the end of last year). Was the point made? Damned if I know.
  • Academic library circulation: I thought this was interesting, and it turned out that the common knowledge was offbase. Still…not really book material (I don’t think), especially because it wouldn’t be directly useful and it’s probably more interesting than important. The odd thing here is that the March 2013 readership, so far, has been considerably lower than either of the two OA issues before it–but also considerably below the “mostly random pieces” issue after it. (As in: through the weekend, 990 downloads for 13:1, 1149 for 13:2, 914 for 13:4–but only 573 for 13:3, the one on academic library circulation). Still–573 readers isn’t bad, and the readership will continue to grow.
  • The Mythical Average Public Library: This was fun for me and interesting. Important? Useful? Dunno. So far–and it’s really early yet–it’s doing OK.

Were all of those worth doing? Were any of them important enough to deserve something more prominent than publication in an odd venue such as Cites & Insights? I don’t have ready answers.

And those are the relatively easy cases. Maybe more about tough cases–and one potential case in particular–in another installment.

Oh, meanwhile and slightly off-topic: Thanks to whoever picked up not only The Big Deal and the Damage Done but also Graphing Public Library Benefits, Give Us a Dollar and We’ll Give You Back Four (2012-13)…and Library 2.0: A Cites & Insights Reader and Open Access and Libraries. Hope you find them all worthwhile. (I’m assuming that was a single order, although I really don’t know that.) If you’re considering me for some possible work that I might be suitable for…well, the email address is waltcrawford@gmail.com

 

 

Important, useful, used, interesting: Part 1

Posted in C&I Books, Cites & Insights on May 6th, 2013

This is the first of what may be several introspective posts that others may or may not find too introspective to be worthwhile. Consider yourself warned.

Write What You Want

A colleague–one of the many LSW-FF folks who I’ve learned from, argued with and generally counted on to keep me from turning into a complete hermit–said a while back that I should just take on those projects that really interest me, ‘cuz (and I’m paraphrasing here) there was no plausible way to anticipate whether anybody else would find them worth doing or the results worth paying for.

It was good advice. I sometimes remember to take it. That and other advice convinced me to drop the Liblog and library blog series as just not being worth the effort.

The last two books in the Liblog series are still available–The Liblog Landscape 2007-2010 and But Still They Blog: The Liblog Landscape 2007-2009–and, for that matter, The Liblog Landscape 2007-2008 is still available on Amazon (the CreateSpace edition).

You could say that I ran the Liblog series into the ground. I probably wouldn’t argue the point. I’ve toyed with the idea of doing a tenth-anniversary look (my first, very partial, examination of liblogs was in 2005, so that would be next year, 2014, although I could also wait until 2016 or 2017 and use 2007 as a starting point), but it’s really unlikely that I’ll do it. Blogs are old hat (still useful, but part of the background) and it would be a lot more work than it’s worth.

That’s partly a digression (something I specialize in, especially in blog posts) but it also suggests that there’s a little more to the equation than just “write what I want.”

Important, useful, used, interesting, fun

Thus the formulation in the post title–and I’ve added a fifth element: fun.

As I’m looking back at what I’ve been doing and consider what I might do, assuming that nobody comes swooping in with an offer that makes guaranteed dollars a significant part of the equation, I think it boils down to these five elements to answer two questions:

  1. Is X worth [investigating or writing about]?
  2. If the answer to X is yes, how should the results appear?

#2 could be stated as a multiple-choice test: Should the results appear as…

  • One or more Friendfeed or LSW-Friendfeed items?
  • One or more blog posts?
  • A single or multipart essay in Cites & Insights?
  • A self-published book?
  • A commercially-published book?
  • Some combination of the above

When it comes to the third, fourth and fifth possibilities, another set of questions–much less easy to answer than the first two–come into play:

  • Will it be well-read?
  • If it’s self-published, will it draw enough sales to make it worth the trouble?
  • If the intent is for it to be commercially published, will a publisher find it salable–and will they be right?

Recasting

I may get back into the “self-published vs. commercially-published” issue in a later post–it’s complicated, as it also involves my lack of marketing expertise and the status of self-published books.

(I was reminded again of the special role of self-publishing in Christopher Harris’ column **see below** today at The Digital Shift in which he basically writes off all self-published books as worthless, especially since there are so many traditionally-published books. Yes, he’s talking about school libraries, but it’s still a pretty sneering look at anything other than Big Traditional Publishers, especially as he explicitly equates “so-called independent publishers” with self-publishing. Oh, and seems to say that “adult fiction” is automatically erotica, and that’s what “so-called independent publishers” are all about. He may be talking about K12 but he explicitly generalizes his lesson to all libraries: “I just can’t believe that self-publishing is ever going to be the next big thing for libraries. Not when there are so many other great books still waiting to be read from the expert and established publishers with whom we already work.” Thanks a lot, Christopher.)

Anyway: One way to recast the set of questions that I probably should explicitly ask myself is this. I’ll offer this, then–for the sake of (hah!) brevity–just give one example. Later, if I’m inspired, I’ll come back to some other cases and the questions that arise.

As with most of my blog posts, this one isn’t even getting the level of self-editing that C&I and my Lulu books get. It’s stream-of-blather, which is like stream of consciousness but following a really good lunch.

  • If X is fun but not very important, and not fun enough to attract paying readers, it belongs in C&I (and doesn’t deserve a lot of time).
  • If X is interesting but not something people will find directly useful, it probably belongs in C&I. (I have explicit examples of that.)
  • If X is clearly useful and really too long or Big for C&I, it probably belongs as a book–but “useful” doesn’t guarantee “used” (and purchased).
  • When something seems important but it’s not clear how directly useful my treatment can be–then the questions are really difficult.

As noted, future posts may deal with examples of several of these and other permutations. For now, I’ll look at the current case–one that I’m 100% certain is important, 90% certain is useful, much less certain will be widely purchased and read, and that is too big for C&I.

Case #1

Namely, The Big Deal and the Damage Done. [That's the $16.50 paperback. Here's a link to the $9.99 PDF ebook, having the same no-DRM policy my PDFs have always had.]

Important? Absolutely. (For more info, read the post introducing it–it really has been out only five days since I announced it!]

Interesting? I think so, or I wouldn’t have done it.

Useful? That’s up to readers; I believe that knowing the details of the situation is useful.

Used/read? We’ll see. It’s off to a plausible start–a couple of sales a day, mostly ebooks, which is fine with me (in some ways, the PDF is a superior version, since it has color in the graphs).

Would it have made sense for a traditional publisher? I honestly don’t see how, especially given timing issues. Nor would I be willing to try to convince a publisher that they could sell, say, 600-800 copies at $45 a shot.

Which then leads to a question that came up this weekend: What would it take to make the book freely available (in ebook form)–that is, downloadable for $0.00 rather than $9.99?

If I was doing sponsored research–being paid up-front–the question might not arise: I’d be delighted to see it made freely available. My best guess, trying to estimate the time I spent on the report, is that about $4,000 worth of work (at a relatively cheap consulting/contractor rate) was involved.

If some group offered me $4,000 to make the book available for free in PDF form, I’d probably take it. And, significantly (especially if there was another guaranteed sum), I’d almost certainly do the 2012 followup that may or may not be more depressing and even more important.

But that’s just the latest example–one where I’m nearly certain the publication is important and should be read by quite a few people, but can’t show how it would be directly useful to their everyday life.

Was it fun to do? Well, it was interesting…and there’s another project still very much up in the air, which, if I do it, would benefit from the experience of doing this one.

Anyway, that’s the end of the musing for today. More later. Maybe tomorrow, maybe later this week, maybe weeks or months from now…

1,258 words. A really good editor could turn this into a nice crisp 200 words, I suspect. Hooray for good editing!


**Re the Harris column, on rereading it for a third time: Yes, he’s primarily talking about K12 libraries, and yes, they have different problems, but he still throws in some unwarranted generalizations and, in his final paragraph, certainly seems to be referring to all libraries. I’ll certainly be warned against ever trying to do anything that addresses school library issues, if Harris’ attitude is typical–but I wasn’t likely to do that anyway.

Cites & Insights 13:6 (June 2013) available

Posted in Cites & Insights on May 1st, 2013

The June 2013 Cites & Insights (13:6) is now available for downloading from http://citesandinsights.info/

The issue is available as a 42-page print-oriented two-column PDF or an 81-page single-column 6×9″ online-oriented PDF.

You might think of this as a side-effect issue, as both pieces grow out of work done for the Open Access preconference I did at the Washington/Oregon Library Associations joint conference last week:

The Front: The Big Deal and the Damage Done: Available Now  (pg.1)

The Big Deal and the Damage Done ($9.99 PDF ebook, $16.50 paperback) is a study of U.S. academic library spending between 2000 and 2010 for current serials, books (and all other acquisitions), and everything else–showing the effects of Big Deals and other constantly-rising serials prices. It looks at libraries by size, by sector and by Carnegie classification. The damage done? Primarily to the humanities and other fields that depend on monographs, to the ability of libraries to maintain the record of human creativity–and to library flexibility to do anything except write checks for current serials. (20% off through May 2, 2012, using code SILEO at checkout.)

Intersections: Hot Times for Open Access (pp. 1-42)

Mid-December 2012 through March 2013 has had a lot going on with OA–enough that I abandoned my plan to ignore OA for the rest of 2013 (after devoting most of the January and February 2013 issues to the topic).

This roundup looks at current issues in defining the terms, CC BY, the Gold and the Green, problems, OA in general, specific recent developments, the White House actions, OA in the humanities and social sciences, direct actions and libraries.

Three-quarters of public libraries are above average–and below average

Posted in Cites & Insights on April 16th, 2013

Just for fun, here’s one of the stranger facts from “The Mythical Average Public Library,” otherwise known as the May 2013 Cites & Insights (links for both the two-column and one-column version are here).

There’s one derived measure for FY2010 for which both of these statements are true:

  • More than three-quarters of U.S. public libraries measure above average for the measure.
  • Just under three-quarters of U.S. public libraries (72.3%) are below average for the measure.

And it’s the same measure.

How is that possible? The first average is the national overall average for the measure. The second is the library average: The average of all library figures for this derived measure.

What’s the measure? You’ll find it on page 18 of the two-column version, page 37 of the one-column version.

I think you’ll also find the essay as a whole interesting and perhaps informative. Give it a try.

 


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