Archive for November, 2012

Explicating the Graphs: A followup post

Thursday, November 29th, 2012

The preceding post lacks one crucial element in two of the three bonus graphs: the legend, showing what those colored lines and markers mean. That’s because it’s excerpted directly from the book’s manuscript, and I omitted legends in most graphs simply to leave more room for the graphs themselves.

The first multiline graph in each chapter (and occasionally others with relatively few data points) does include the graph. So, to provide that info, here’s another portion of Chapter 10 in Graphing Public Library Benefits, with the legend in Figure 10.3 showing the colors and markers used for all multiline graphs (some of which don’t have markers).

Open Hours

One library system with $160 per capita funding, with outlets open a total of 13,468 hours, is omitted from these graphs. Open hours correlate moderately (0.35) with spending per capita.

Figure 10.2 Open hours plotted against spending per capita

Figure 10.3 Open hours (to nearest hundred) occurrence by spending category, part 1

Figure 10.4 Open hours (to nearest hundred) occurrence by spending category, part 2

Libraries Serving 5,300 to 6,799 Potential Patrons

Thursday, November 29th, 2012

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.

Box Office Gold Disc 12

Wednesday, November 28th, 2012

Angels Hard As They Come, 1971, color. Joe Viola (dir.), Scott Glenn, Charles Dierkop, James Iglehart, Gilda Texter, Gary Littlejohn, Gary Busey. 1:26.

We open with some motorcycle dudes (one driving a motorized tricycle) trying to close a drug deal, but the man’s watching. From there, we get some of them—the Angels—tooling down the road, where they meet up with members of another outlaw cycle gang, the Dragons. They’re told of an ongoing party with some hippies in a ghost town, so of course they drop everything and join it.

All’s fine until some of the Dragons gang-rape (apparently) one of the hippie girls, she winds up dead, the Angels wind up in the ghost town’s jail and things start going south. Eventually—after a whole bunch of violence and some topless dancing—most of Dragons are dead and the hippies and Angels leave. That’s about it. Gratuitous everything.

Utterly worthless. Good print, but even as an exploitation flick this one’s just pointless and vile. For fans of motorcycles and truly worthless biker flicks, maybe $0.25.

Jane Eyre, 1970 (TV movie), color. Delbert Mann (dir.), George C. Scott, Susannah York, Ian Bannen, Jack Hawkins, Jean Marsh. 1:50 [1:39]

This is one of those “why is this in a cheap 50-movie set?” movies. I mean: George C. Scott. Susannah York. Jane Eyre. Music by John Williams. And a pretty respectable British production. Not a great print, but usually near-VHS quality. I won’t comment on the plot, which I assume is fairly true to the original (depressing, although love sort-of triumphs in the end). Scott (as Rochester) leaves a few toothmarks in the scenery, but probably no more than the role calls for. York does a pretty good imitation of being plain, and a fine job in the role.

All in all, a solid piece of work. OK, it’s a TV movie (but a good one), and there appear to be a few minutes missing, but it’s still pretty solid. (I list Jean Marsh above because she’s Mrs. Rochester, in a crucial but non-speaking role.) Not great, but certainly worth $1.50.

The Seniors, 1978, color. Rod Amateau (dir.), Jeffrey Byron, Gary Imhoff, Dennis Quaid, Lou Richards, Rocky Flintermann, Priscilla Barnes, Alan Reed, Edward Andrews, Ian Wolfe, Alan Hewitt, Robert Emhardt. 1:27.

An odd little confection about four men, seniors in college who share an old house and a beautiful “nympho who loves to cook and clean” and who are terrified of graduating and going to Work. They have a dweebish friend who lusts after their nympho and who is a lab assistant to and buffer to the world for a “three-time Nobel winner” entomologist (there are so many entomology Nobel categories) who gets any grant he asks for and will sign anything the lab assistant puts in front of him. So the four prepare a $50,000 grant request for a study on sexual preferences of liberated college women (or something like that).

From there on, well, part of it seems like an excuse for half a dozen or more college women to drop their tops (but did all college women in 1978 really wear such long and dowdy clothing?), and we learn that hundreds of beautiful coeds will rush at the opportunity to have sex with strangers for $20 an hour. After the four (the original men in the “study”) realize the money may eventually run out, they decide to expand the study to involve other male participants paying $50 an hour to participate in the study…and take over a motel to serve as a research source. (The coeds get $20; the rest goes for overhead and expansion and…well, and profit. All in the name of science, to be sure.)

In other words, it’s a comedy about the joys of prostitution. (At this point, the always-willing coed participants are signing up for 6 days-a-week two-hour shifts: Sure it’s just research.) It also involves venal leaders of the community, a foundation person hot after the 72-year-old scientist (who’s breeding an indestructible mosquito to take over the world) and more uplifting material.

A trashy little item with some up-and-coming and down-and-going actors. (Quaid was 24 at the time; Barnes was 20.) Not badly done for what it is. I’ll give it $0.75.

The Deadly Companions, 1961, color. Sam Peckinpah (dir.), Maureen O’Hara, Brian Keith, Steve Cochran, Chill Wills, Strother Martin. 1:33.

Another “how did this get into a cheap megapack?” movie—a decent Western with reasonable starpower and a first-rate director. (Ah, but it was early in Peckinpah’s career.) The basic story: A guy shows up in an Arizona town, sees another guy hanging from a rafter in a “torture him to death” situation, saves him. Well…turns out the first guy—who never takes off his hat—is a former Union officer who was almost scalped by a Johnny Reb and has been looking for him. Guess who?

The rest of the plot is complex and involves an accidental killing, a bank robbery, a love story of sorts, various forms of betrayal, loads of Arizona scenery and about as much of a happy ending as makes sense for this kind of flick. All in all, well done, a pretty good print, not a great movie but not a bad flick. $1.25.

In case you’re wondering: This isn’t the last disc in the megapack. Because these are all full-length movies, the 50-movie set requires 13 discs.

Graphing Public Library Benefits

Tuesday, November 27th, 2012

Graphing Public Library Benefits: An Experimental Supplement to Give Us a Dollar and We’ll Give You Back Four (2012-13) is now available as an $11.99 PDF ebook at

Yes, that does mean that if you buy it today, November 27, 2012, and haven’t already used the DELIRITAS coupon code, you can get it for 30% less. Or, y’know, get both the supplement and the book in PDF form for less than $17.

What it is

This ebook–let’s call it GPLB for short–is a graphic supplement to Give Us a Dollar…, providing either one or two (or sometimes three) graphs that reflect the data in each of the tables in Chapters 2-19 of that book. Each benchmark table is represented by a scatterplot; each budget table is represented by a multicolor line graph that may be in one, two or three parts depending on the data.

It’s an experiment, and I’m looking for feedback. Do some of these graphs actually add value? Would other forms be more valuable?


I have at least informally applied a Creative Commons BY-NC (or, since Lulu doesn’t offer that as a direct option, BY-NC-SA) license to this book. That means you are explicitly free to pass copies of it on to others, as long as you’re not charging for it. You can announce its availability in your blog with a link to the copy you’ve saved. I won’t (can’t) sue you, and I don’t mind.

Fair warning: The PDF is more than eight megabytes. Don’t plan on attaching it to emails.

I encourage people to pass it along to others who might have opinions to offer (and I’d appreciate getting those opinions at I’m working on the honor system: If you or somebody else finds the book useful, I’d be pleased if you’d (or somebody else) would buy your (their) own copy–or, better yet, buy a copy of Give Us a Dollar… and publicize its worth to your public library colleagues.

What? No paperback version?

As it stands, GPLB is only available as a PDF. (It’s a PDF/A document, and it does include bookmarks to replicate the contents table and make that redundant. There’s no DRM.)

That’s because the multiline charts–each with ten lines–require color. Which means Lulu charges $0.20/page instead of $0.02/page for printing. Since the book is 222 pages long (8.5×11, in order to make graphs as large and useful as possible), that means production costs for a paperback version are roughly $50–so I’d need to charge $62.50/copy to get $10 back.

If two people send me email committing to buy a paperback copy, I’ll generate a cover (essentially the same as the Give Us a Dollar… cover) and make it available. Heck, if four people want paperback copies, I’d earn enough to pay for my own copy (no, I don’t have a print copy).

Realistically, though, most people should print out only the pages they want to have in print form–I’d suggest the appropriate chapter for your library, typically 10 or 11 pages long. That’s a whole lot cheaper than buying the whole book in color. (The PDF’s optimized for e-reading but pages appear to print just fine.)

Here’s a crude screen-capture version of what part of a page looks like:

Partial page from Graphing Public Libraries

Data p**n

One of the leading lights in library statistical analysis commented that you could call graphs “data p**n.” If that’s the case, this is one feelthy book: It includes 588 graphs in all (and a few thousand words of text).

No Chapter 20?

Well, there is a Chapter 20–but it doesn’t offer a complete set of graphs parallel to the tables in Chapter 20 of the main book. That’s because there are just too many of them. Chapter 20 in the main book is half the book; if I did equivalent graphs, GPLB would be something over 450 pages long and include around 1,200 graphs.

I show how those graphs would work, using an “average” state as an example: California, which actually has almost exactly one-fiftieth of the nation’s public libraries and systems (the only respect in which California or its libraries could be considered average).


There it is. It’s an experiment, looking for feedback.

It means there are actually three parts to Give Us a Dollar…:

  • The book itself, consisting mostly of tables with some introductory text.
  • This supplementary book, consisting mostly of graphs.
  • Limited commentary in two issues of Cites & Insights: Comments on Chapters 1-19 in the November 2012 issue and comments on Chapter 20 in the Fall 2012 issue.

State and group-of-state custom reports

I do believe some of these graphs would be useful in custom reports for states or groups of states, which I’d be delighted to do for a price. (One such report, for a two-state combination, will appear next spring in conjunction with a speaking engagement. More on that later.) I discuss that possibility on the final pages of the Fall 2012 Cites & Insights, although that discussion did not contemplate graphs. (They wouldn’t add much to the prices.)


Libraries serving 8,700 to 11,099 potential patrons

Monday, November 26th, 2012

More comments on the tables in Give Us a Dollar and We’ll Give You Back Four (2012-13) [$11.99 PDF, no DRM; $21.95 paperback; $31.50 hardcover]…this time on Chapter 12, covering libraries serving 8,700 to 11,099 potential patrons.

Remember: Today (November 26, 2012) and tomorrow, you can get the book–in any form–for 30% off by using code DELIRITAS (all capital letters) as a coupon code.

I tend to think of these 506 libraries (in the tables, with 17 others omitted) as being the largest small libraries or the smallest medium-sized libraries. Distribution by expenditures is typical.

Open hours

We see three library systems open 10,000 hours or more, more than two dozen open 4,000-10,000 hours—and only one open less than 20 hours a week. Four out of five are open at least 40 hours a week and nearly half are open at least 51 hours a week (that is, 2,700 hours a year). Except for an anomalous drop at the $4,000-$10,000 hour level, expenditures per capita rise in lockstep with open hours, but at generally lower rates.

Viewed from the expenditures side, the numbers are consistent as well, with half of the worst-funded libraries open less than 39 hours a week—and half of the best-funded ones open at least 59 hours a week.

Computers for patron use with internet access

Once again, the bulge is in the middle: 72% of the libraries have six to 19 computers, with only half a dozen having 40 to 99 (none 100 or more) and a dozen offering fewer than 4.

There’s nothing unusual about circulation per capita, reference transactions per capita, program attendance and patron visits per capita or PC use per capita.

Computers per thousand patrons

Relatively few of these libraries have two or more computers per thousand people: 17% in all (and only 1% offer five or more), compared to 30% (and 8%) overall. There’s a consistent relationship between computers per thousand patrons and expenditures per capita, although there are cases where the budget table isn’t quite consistent (libraries spending $12-$16.99 seem to be better equipped here than those spending $17-$25.99). Only in the top expenditures bracket do at least half the libraries offer more than 1.5 computers per thousand patrons, and for those libraries the median is 2.1.

Circulation and patron visits per hour

Eleven libraries fall into the busiest circulation category, with 110 or more circ per hour, but 19 fall into the slowest (less than 6 per hour). The bulge is in the upper middle: just under two-thirds of the libraries have 20 to 69 circ per hour, including about one out of four with 30 to 44. (Expenditures rise consistently with circ per hour.) The overall median, 29.03, means just under one circ every two minutes—but for the best-funded libraries that’s up to 59.03, just under one per minute.

Visits also cluster in the middle: 46% between 13 and 29 visits per hour (two of the nine brackets with roughly 11% each overall), and 79% between 9 and 44 visits per hour. Half of the best-funded libraries have 39 or more visits per hour; half of the worst funded have 10.5 or less.

Cites & Insights Volume 12 available in book form

Saturday, November 24th, 2012

Cites & Insights 12 (2012)The trade paperback version of Cites & Insights 12 (2012) is now available for purchase.

The 410-page 8.5×11 paperback costs $50, of which roughly half is a contribution to keep Cites & Insights going.

The volume includes all 12 issues (with photos printed in grayscale), plus a table of contents and indexes.

The wraparound cover photo is the paddlewheel of America’s greatest steam-powered riverboat, the American Queen (and the only authentic steam-powered sternwheeler actually offering multiday river cruises). It was taken during the American Queen’s inaugural season, 1995–and is the original paddlewheel (which is probably not the one on the boat, since there was a problem with the axle). It seemed appropriate since the American Queen returned to service in mid-2012 after a four-year hiatus–just as Cites & Insights returned to reasonably regular publication after a four-month hiatus. (If you had asked me in December 2011, I would have guessed that there might be half a dozen issues of C&I in 2012, or maybe three, or maybe none. But things change…and I won’t even begin to guess what 2013 holds.)

Save 30% Through November 27, 2012

If you act now–through Tuesday, November 27, 2012, you can save 30% on this and any other Cites & Insights books (or, indeed, anything at Lulu). Just put what you want in your cart; when you’re ready to check out, enter the code DELIRITAS (in all capital letters) in the coupon box. You can only use the code once, but it applies to your full order (not including tax & shipping).

That brings the book down to $35. Or better yet, add to your (or your library’s) professional literature collection by buying all seven available C&I annual volumes (2006 through 2012): You’ll effectively be getting seven for the price of five, and you’ll help a lot to support C&I. (The 30% discount does not reduce my revenue from the books: it’s a Lulu sale.)










Libraries Serving 4,000 to 5,299 Potential Patrons

Monday, November 19th, 2012

More comments on the tables in Give Us a Dollar and We’ll Give You Back Four (2012-13) [$11.99 PDF, no DRM; $21.95 paperback; $31.50 hardcover]…this time on Chapter 9, covering libraries serving 4,000 to 5,299 potential patrons.

This chapter covers more libraries than any other: 532, with another 38 omitted. Funding is slightly on the low side, with fewer libraries in the top three expense brackets and slightly more in the bottom two.

Open hours

Although there are still no library systems open more than 10,000 hours (scarcely surprising given the population range), half a dozen are open 4,000 to 10,000 hours—and three-quarters are open at least 35 hours per week, with just over half open at least 40 hours per week.

Oddly, the median expense budget for the six systems open more than 4,000 hours is on the low side at $22.95. With that huge exception, expenditures and hours track as usual—and, except for 10 libraries open fewer than 1,041 hours (that is, no more than 20 hours per week), the benefit ratios cluster very close together, from 5.33 to 5.97.

Possibly worth noting: for libraries with at least $43 expenditures per capita, three-quarters of the libraries are open more than 41 hours per week.

Computers for patron use with internet access

One very well-funded library ($207.81 per capita) has at least 40 PCs—but three-quarters have four to 12. More than half have at least seven, but the median doesn’t exceed seven until you get to $53 per capita, when it jumps to 10.

Circulation and reference transactions per capita

Nothing much out of the ordinary, although slightly fewer libraries (4% rather than 6%) circulate 24 or more items per capita and slightly more (15% rather than 13%) circulate 10-12 items. Expenditure-activity correlations are predictably consistent for circulation and not quite as consistent for reference.

Circulation and patron visits per hour

The smallest very busy library is in this group: one library with more than 110 circulations per hour (it’s a poorly funded library at that: $13.37 expenditures per capita). Some 44% of the libraries have at least 20 circulations per hour and only 10% have fewer than six. Overall, however, these libraries are still somewhat quieter than the national norm—the overall medians are 17.79 circ and 10.69 visits per hour, compared to 22.8 and 14.87 nationally.

Libraries Serving 11,100 to 14,099 Potential Patrons

Friday, November 16th, 2012

Still “rural” by some definitions but into what I’d call smaller medium-sized libraries, 499 libraries are in these tables and 14 are omitted. The expenditure picture is patchier than usual, with somewhat fewer libraries in the $31-$35.99 and $17-$20.99 brackets and somewhat more (13%) in the $5-$11.99 bracket.

Open hours

The bulge is in the middle. Almost nine out of ten are open at least 40 hours per week; only 3% are open less than 35 hours per week. The biggest single bracket: 26% are open 2,700-3,099 hours per week (roughly 52 to 60 hours), compared to 12% overall.

There’s no expenditures bracket where even one-quarter of the libraries are open less than 2,080 hours (40 hours per week), including libraries spending $5-$11.99 per capita.

Computers for patron use with internet access

Another bulge in the middle, this time a narrower one: More than half the libraries (54%) have nine to 19 PCs, with only one out of five having more and one out of four having fewer (but only seven libraries have fewer than four). The median is a dozen, and once expenditures rise above $31 per capita, so does the median (to a high of 18 for the best-funded libraries).

PC use per capita and PCs per thousand patrons

PC use is slightly on the low side (with fewer libraries in the top two brackets, more in the bottom three); PC availability is significantly below average, with only two libraries (0%) having at least five per thousand (compared to 9% overall) and roughly half having less than one (compared to 38% overall).

Circulation and patron visits per hour

Forty-five percent of the libraries had 30 to 69 circ per hour; 16% were quite busy (70 or more) and 11% were relatively quiet (13 or less), with only 6% having less than one circ every six minutes. (The expenditures per capita track perfectly with circulation per hour, although when you look at budget brackets there are exceptions.)

Visits also cluster in the high middle, with 46% having 20 to 44 visits, 16% more—and only 4% have fewer than 6 visits per hour.

Worth mentioning (again?): Since per-hour figures are across all hours in multibranch systems, they reflect levels of activity somewhat differently than circ and visits per capita.

Libraries Serving 3,000 to 3,999 Patrons

Tuesday, November 13th, 2012

More comments on the tables in Give Us a Dollar and We’ll Give You Back Four (2012-13) [$11.99 PDF, no DRM; $21.95 paperback; $31.50 hardcover]…this time on libraries serving 3,000 to 3,999 potential patrons.

Tables include 510 libraries, with 33 others omitted. Other than slightly fewer than typical libraries at the best-funded end and slightly more than usual at the worst funded end, expenditure distribution is typical.

Open hours

Nearly two-thirds of these libraries are open at least 35 hours per week and 42% are open at least 40 hours per week. The few (4%) open very short hours (99-1,040) are the worst funded (median $8.56 per capita).

Computers for patrons with internet access

The bulge here is at 6-8 computers, with 33% of the libraries in that bracket, 28% higher, 39% lower. A baker’s dozen have 20-39 computers; none has more. Median expenditures rise in lock step with rising number of PCs.

Circulation and reference transactions per capita

Very much typical of all libraries, with no significant deviations. Overall median circulation per capita is slightly higher than the national median (8.18 compared to 7.93) and overall reference transactions per capita is slightly lower (0.44 compared to 0.52).

Program attendance and patron visits per capita

Here again, what’s remarkable is how much these libraries—still serving small communities—reflect public libraries as a whole in terms of usage, with just slightly higher numbers in the two highest program-attendance brackets.

Personal computers per thousand patrons

Nearly half of the libraries have from 1.5 to 2.99 computers per thousand patrons, as compared to just under a quarter of libraries nationally. Only 14% have less than one PC per thousand patrons. The overall median is 1.85, compared to 1.3 nationally.

Circulation and patron visits per hour

Two busy libraries (70-109 circulation per hour)—but half the libraries have fewer than 14 or significantly less than one circ every four minutes. Just under half have at least nine patron visits per hour—but only one in ten has 20 or more.

While the overall median for these libraries is 13.93 circ and 9.06 visits per hour, that compares with 22.8 circ and 14.87 visits per hour for the nation’s libraries: These are still mostly relatively quiet libraries.

Cites & Insights December 2012 (12:12) available

Monday, November 12th, 2012

Cites & Insights 12:12 (December 2012) is now available for downloading at

The print-oriented PDF is 38 pages long. A single-column 6×9″ PDF designed for online reading is also available at That version is 73 pages long. Both versions include bookmarks for all sections and subsections, one reason they’re fairly large.

The issue includes the following (also available as HTML separates from the essay titles or at

     The Rapid Rout of RWA    (pp. 1-25)

A comedy in four acts over seven weeks, from AAP/PSP’s endorsement of HR3699, the Research Works Act, on January 5, 2012, to Elsevier’s withdrawal of its support for RWA (which mysteriously caused the near-instantaneous death of the bill, introduced as it had been by wholly independent Congresspeople) on February 7, 2012. It’s a story that I believe and hope will resonate with scientists and others…

And it’s not directly related to the other essay, but some might see connections:

    Walking Away: Courage and Acquisitions   (pp. 25-38)

A much more recent story and one that’s not over yet, involving a small university librarian standing up and saying “We can’t take it any longer” and, with the help of her faculty, not taking it. Oh, and of public relations people who don’t believe in relating to the public. Where the first story involves the largest for-profit publisher in science, technology and medical journals, this one involves a putatively nonprofit publisher, that is, a scholarly society that just happens to take in one heck of a lot of money from its publications. The story also involves the question of whether librarians are ever allowed to be people–and at what point implicit sexism and ageism enter into play.


This marks the end of Volume 12. The index for Volume 12 is value-added material (such as it is) and, as such, will only appear in the printed paperback edition of Cites & Insights 12 (2012)–which will be announced when it’s available.